Saying goodbye suddenly

When we have pets we know that one day we will have to say good-bye but we have an expectation of when this will be. In some circumstances this good-bye comes earlier than we had planned. There can be many reasons for this:

  • Sudden illness resulting in a euthanasia decision
  • Behavioural problems such as aggression where your pet has injured someone and you have to have them euthanased
  • An accident resulting in the need to euthanase
  • Euthanasia during anaesthesia for an exploratory operation. For example, sometimes when investigating an illness, your vet may have a look in your pet’s tummy if the signs point towards a possible problem there. If they find something untreatable or inoperable, they may recommend euthanasia while your pet is under the anaesthetic to prevent your pet from suffering further. Note that in this instance, your pet would never be euthanased without your permission. In many cases, your vet will have prepared you in advance for the possibility of finding something serious, before they operate on your pet. 

Whatever the reason, the resulting feelings of shock and often anger at their untimely passing can be very distressing. You can read more on the emotions relating to grief here.

This sudden loss can make it difficult for you to make a decision on what to do with regards to After-Life Body Care.

Sadly, 20% of pets die before their 8th birthday (and 2% of those are under 1 year of age). It can be helpful whatever the age of your pet to capture your thoughts and wishes on what you want to happen at the end of life, so, in the unlikely event that you have to say goodbye to your pet suddenly, you have an idea of what you would like to do.

If you are reading this after the sudden loss of your pet, we suggest you read our Pet Loss Support section.