What is Euthanasia?
For most clients, Euthanasia is not an option that they have considered. It may have a negative stigma attached to it, or a client may feel that making a decision to end a pet’s life is unnatural. It is common for clients to experience guilt while deciding whether or not euthanasia is the right option for their beloved pet. But euthanasia is not inhumane; on the contrary, euthanasia literally translates to “good death”. The role of veterinarians and pet hospice providers is to provide support and guidance.
How to Approach Euthanasia
Helping clients during the difficult time of caring for a terminally ill pet requires emotional intelligence. The human-animal bond is very strong, which usually means clients are suffering right alongside their pets. Clients will benefit from your non-judgemental support and guidance as they make this hard decision. A big part of playing the supportive role is giving clients the “permission” they seek; let them know that the decision to euthanize is compassionate, that “it’s okay”.
Another strategy is to repeat back to the client what you hear them say they are struggling with. Sometimes clients don’t clearly realize how bad the situation has gotten until they hear it repeated aloud by someone else. Ultimately, when the client comes to the conclusion that they want to choose euthanasia, support them by validating their decision.
Euthanasia traditionally takes place in the clinic. The clinic environment can feel sterile, so suggest that the client bring their pet’s items from home to make it more comfortable- a bed, favorite stuffed animal, or blanket, for example. Suggest to the client that, if possible, it always helps to have a long time housemate, friend, or family member present. During the procedure, check in frequently while waiting for the sedative. Your presence will help to decrease your clients fear and anxiety. Try to avoid physical restraint as much as possible. Explain each step and answer questions as you go, and exude a calm, and caring energy.
In-Home Pet Euthanasia
The most loving and peaceful euthanasia passing can happen in your client’s home. This service is offered by a pet home hospice and euthanasia provider. Client’s may find this setting is preferable to a clinic for several reasons:
- Pets feel more relaxed and less anxious in their own home
- Easier to have more friends and family present
- Housemates can have closure
- More relaxed for the owner
- Can express grief more freely
Make sure your clients are aware that in-home euthanasia is an option for them. Just like you would refer their pet to any other special services, your client depends on you to refer them to this important service.
The goal of pet hospice is to make sure that the pet is as pain-free and comfortable as possible. This goal is best achieved when veterinary clinics and pet hospice providers work as a team to provide a high-quality care and services for clients.
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