Guilt After Euthanasia

How to Find Peace of Mind

The decision to put down an animal companion is one of the hardest many people will have to make. There are many different situations a pet owner can face that make assisting your pet with a peaceful death the best choice for you both. But that doesn’t mean you won’t have feelings of remorse or guilt.

You may ask yourself if you did everything possible, if you made the decision too soon, if you should have gotten a second opinion. In fact, questioning your decision is normal, and something many people face after putting their pet to sleep.

Get the Best Advice

When you’ve sought out the professional opinion of an expert, i.e. experienced veterinarian, you are more likely to have peace of mind if it’s time to put your pet to sleep. They will be able to examine your animal and tell you your options and advise you on the best way to proceed. If you want a second opinion, you’re free to do that, to ensure you’re making the best and most well-informed decision possible.

Sometimes, the decision whether or not to euthanize isn’t medically or age related. Other factors may play a role, such as not being able to afford treatment or a substantial life change. These circumstances can make a pet owner feel even more guilty for feeling like they have to put their pet down. But it’s important to take care of yourself, too.

And euthanasia doesn’t have to be the solution for many of these situations. Many vets may offer financing options to help ease the financial burden. There are also online resources that will help with medical expenses, and there are organizations that can help you find a new home for your animal.

A Best Last Day

When you know the time to say goodbye is coming, it allows you to plan what Best Friends calls a ‘Best Last Day.’ It’s a day full of snuggles and treats with your pet, and doing all their favorite things. A Best Last Day can help ease the transition from life to loss, and put your mind at ease knowing you were able to spend meaningful time with your pet and provide them with love and joy. We’ve compiled a list of ideas to help you create some beautiful final memories with your best friend.

Allow Yourself to Grieve

Pets are not “just pets.” Pets are deeply loved members of the family who provide companionship, emotional support and who love you back. Losing a pet is no different than losing a person you love. Their death creates a void in your life that was once filled with joy and comfort. To mourn the loss of a pet is normal.

Grief is also more than just feelings of sadness. Emotions can include anger, shock, denial, numbness and guilt. It can also include relief, like when a beloved pet has suffered. Grief can also intensify emotions, making you feel them more intensely than you normally would. We encourage those grieving the loss of their companion to reach out to speak to a therapist or grief counselor, or to find support through family or friends who understand what you’re going through.

Be Gentle on Yourself

People put down their companions because they love them and want the best for them: because they’re sick or suffering, have become a danger to themselves or others, or they want to ease the process of death for senior animals. They choose euthanasia out of compassion. Have compassion for yourself, too.

There is no multiple choice test that will definitively tell us when it’s the perfect time to help our pet pass. We must rely on the professional opinions of veterinarians, as well as our own knowledge and insights of our own animals. We do the very best we can. And that’s the best we can do.

By giving your pet the best life possible, and helping them pass as peacefully as they can, you are being the best companion you could ever be. It’s natural to feel conflicted when it’s time to say goodbye to someone you love. When that day comes, we will be here to help you honor them in a way that brings you comforts and peace of mind.