Like all vets, I hated doing this (euthanasia), painless though it was, but to me there has always been a comfort in the knowledge that the last thing these helpless animals knew was the sound of a friendly voice, and the touch of a gentle hand..” — James Herriot, All Things Wise and Wonderful

 The right time to say goodbye

According to Doctors Finch and Smith,, knowing when euthanasia should be considered depends on your pet’s health. It is often helpful to look at the quality of life your pet is experiencing. Does your pet still enjoy eating and other simple pleasures? Is your pet able to respond to you in a normal way? Is your pet experiencing more pain than pleasure?

You will be able to make a much better decision, and be more comfortable in your decision if you get as much information as possible regarding your pet’s condition. If your pet is sick, ask about the treatment options, possible outcomes, and chances of recovery. In most instances, you will not need to make the decision immediately, so take time to think about what you should do. Discuss the decision with all of the other family members, including any children. Decide what you want your pet’s death to be like.

Prepare yourself for your pet’s euthanasia

Doctors Finch and Smith says that euthanasia is a peaceful and virtually pain-free process, but it is best to understand what will occur and how your pet’s body may react. Knowing these things may help you make your decision regarding euthanasia, and make the process less traumatic for you.

It is helpful to prepare yourself for the euthanasia process, if possible, by becoming informed and making choices regarding the logistics ahead of time. It is important to have a friend or family member you can talk to and spend time with both prior to and after the euthanasia. The decision to be present during the euthanasia is a personal one, and you need to do what is best for you.


The Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement recognises the loss of a pet can leave you feeling heartbroken, and overwelmed by grief and sorrow.  The Centre runs a Companion Animal Loss Support Group, a non-judgmental and respectful place which gives those grieving the loss of a pet, the opportunity to share their grief stories.  It tells those mourning that the “grief you are feeling is real and should not be written off as less important than any other kind of grief”.  More.