Q:

How do you deal with the emotional toll of putting a pet to sleep?

A:

Quick Answer

After the compassionate euthanasia of a pet, deal with the emotional toll by reaching out to friends and loved ones who understand the grief of losing a pet for support. Relive pleasant memories, and talk through any feelings of guilt or regret. Spend more time with other pets in the home who may be experiencing their own feelings of loss.

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Full Answer

Prior to euthanizing a pet, speak to a veterinarian about the options that exist for prolonging a pet's life. Guilt is common after euthanasia for some people, but fully evaluating the options and becoming informed about the process beforehand helps to ease the guilty feelings. Recognize that humane euthanasia is a compassionate choice for animals who have no reasonable chance of enjoying a high quality of life.

Talk about the feelings of loss with others who have experienced it. Friends or family are good resources, but if more help is needed, the American Veterinary Medical Association lists pet loss support hotlines on AVMA.org.

If there are no other pets in the home, donate unused food and toys to a shelter in the pet's memory. Volunteer at a shelter to ease the loneliness of being without a pet. When the time is right, consider adopting another pet.

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