Capturing end-of-life wishes

Preparing ahead for your pet’s passing might seem an odd thing to do. But for many, it helps to give comfort that you’ve covered all the bases for your pet, yourself and any family that are involved. It will help to ensure that your pet receives the kind of care in death that was important to you when they were alive. Gathering together anyone that you feel has a part in your pet’s life and whose wishes you’d like to take into consideration can also to start to formulate a network of support you can call upon later if you need to. 

There are step-by-step guides available to work through (available from Compassion Understood via your vet) that will help to cover each aspect surrounding your pet’s passing. In short, these can be broken down into:

Making your pet’s final arrangements

  • If your pet falls seriously ill, would you wish for euthanasia or would you want to explore palliative or animal hospice care?
  • If you and your veterinarian decide that euthanasia is the best and most loving option for your pet, should this take place at your veterinary practice or at home?
  • Who should be there when your pet is euthanased?

After-life care

  • Would you want your pet to be buried after passing away, or to be cremated? 
  • If buried, would you want this to be at home or in a pet cemetery?
  • If cremated would you wish to have your pet’s ashes returned to you?

Capturing your thoughts about end-of-life care, even when your pet is well and healthy will help to take the stress away later on. Of course, you can revisit your plan at any point and change it, even right at the end, but it helps you to think through every aspect in advance so you can research anything you need to, and ensures you don’t forget anything at the last moment.

Other things you may wish to consider

  • Would you wish to have a remembrance ceremony for your pet and what would this look like?
  • Would you want to spend time at the crematorium with your pet before they are cremated? (It’s unlikely that you would be allowed to see your pet’s cremation directly, but many crematoria offer private time with your pet in a remembrance room to say your goodbye.) 
  • Are there any personal items that you would want to bury with your pet, or would you want to take a lock of hair or take a paw print to remember your pet by?
  • Would you wish to create a memorial in remembrance of your pet, for example, a memory box, a plaque, plant a small tree or pot?

When the time comes, having given some thought to what you would want can be of great help at the emotional time of saying good-bye to your pet.