Preparing for the Loss of a Pet – Practical Suggestions to Consider

Previously we looked at the emotional aspect of preparing for the loss of a pet. If you have not read this blog I would suggest doing so first, as I personally believe that once you have come to terms emotionally with saying goodbye, the practical side may be slightly easier to handle.

Preparing for the loss of a pet is never under any circumstances easy to do. One of the things that I often encountered when I was running my pet crematorium business was that people, once accepting that it was time, or nearing time to say goodbye, often became polarized on how to practically take the next step. My hope is that this blog will help guide you on some of the practical issues that can be dealt with beforehand.

Visit Your Vet

If you already have a vet, now would be the time to talk with them. As mentioned in my previous blog, they will be able to help you decided if

Preparing to say goodbye to your pet

euthanasia is the right choice for your pet.

If you do not have a vet, as happened to me recently as we had just moved to another country, I would advice that you ask around for recommendations and then make an appointment to visit the vet of your choice. I walked into a new vet for the first time to have my darling Felix euthanized, and it was hard. Unfortunately they did not get his name right, so the box I brought him home in had the wrong name on, so upsetting at the time, but a genuine mistake. I could have avoided this by taking my own advice.

Questions you should be asking include:-

How do they deal with euthanasia? Some vets may offer a variety of options.

Are you able to be in the room with your pet during the euthanasia? How many people can be in the room with you?

What will the procedure cost? If necessary is there a payment plan?

If you are taking your pet home with you, how will this be dealt with by the vet?

Does vet offer any alternatives if you are not able to take your pet home and what will this cost?

While your vet can give you an opinion on whether they feel euthanasia is the right step for you, the final decision has to come from you. You will be required to sign a consent form. At your visit you may want to ask to see this form to give you a chance to read through it beforehand.

Discuss with the vet when is their quietest time at the clinic, as this may be the best time to book your appointment. Considering how you will be feeling it will be easier to exit through a quiet waiting room, and not one packed with waiting clients.

Looking at Your Finances

The cost of having a pet euthanized can vary, so knowing what you can expect to pay ahead of time is crucial if finances are tight. Most vets will try to keep the costs to a minimum. Payment plans are sometimes an option, as mentioned above discuss this with your vet.

Once your pet has been euthanized there are a number of options to consider about how to deal with their body. These can vary considerably in price, so should be discussed beforehand if you think this may be for you.

Dealing with your pets body

Knowing how you are going to deal with your pets body before the time is a practical step well worth researching.

If you chose to bury your pet in your backyard, you should check with the local authority to see if this is permitted.

You need to be aware that a hole for a pet needs to be deep to avoid it being dug up by dogs or other animals.

Your vet may offer to dispose of the body for you, ask them what they will do with your pet and the extra cost involved.

Another option is using a per crematorium. They will have a variety of plans available. I will do a future blog on choosing a crematorium and what to expect.

Making Memories

If you would like to have a paw print, or lock of fur from your pet, this needs to be decided beforehand. Most crematoriums will offer this service, as well as a number of other memorials.

Paw prints


If your vet is taking care of your pets body for you, and you require a paw print or lock of fur, discuss this with them beforehand.

If you are not bringing your pets body home and you want them to be cremated with a toy or blanket you will again need to chat with your vet about this and be sure to bring the item to the euthanasia appointment with you.

Returning Home

So hard to do, but these steps may help cope during this emotional time.

If you have driven to the vet, consider having someone drive you home. I cried my eyes out all the way home and had to pull off the road a few times to get my emotions under control.

You may want to ask a family member or friend to pack up your pets belongings and put them out of sight until you are capable of dealing with them. Alternatively you may ask that they dispose of them altogether for you. Do give some thought to any items you may want to retain for keepsakes, such as a collar, favourite toy or blanket and make sure this is known, and that these items are stored for you in a safe place until you are ready to deal with them.

If you are planning on burying your pet at home having the site ready, and knowing what you are going to bury them in will make this so much easier to do.

I have dealt with a number of families who have had a wake for their pet, from a small family affair to a larger gathering. If this is something you may wish to do, research your options and make the necessary arrangements beforehand. If you are using a pet crematorium they may be happy to hold your pets ashes for you if you need time to make suitable arrangements.

Moving On

Making a decision to have your pet euthanized is a blessing and a curse. Having done this recently I have realized that I was lucky to have the chance to prepare and to say goodbye, with my family and friends, to our Felix.

Having a chance to prepare for his euthanasia, and deal with the practical side as well as the emotional and financial aspects all made it easier to cope with.

It is my sincere hope that if you are going through the awful preparation involved in saying goodbye to a pet, that you have found some useful information in this blog.

Comments and feedback are always welcome.

To say goodbye for now I will leave you with this lovely quote:-

When the pet you love becomes a memory, that memory becomes a treasure.



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