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Planning for the end of your dog’s life – the difficult questions

Unfortunately, one part of living with a pet is planning for the loss of the pet.

My dog Ace and two cats are considered “seniors” now by most standards. Their ages are 10, 11 and 13.

I hope they have many happy years ahead, but I decided to start a conversation with my husband about our general beliefs and plans for our pets as they age.

We have both lost pets before, but never together.

It’s impossible to know what the other person expects or believes when it comes to losing a pet, unless we talk about it. I believe it’s good to do this well in advance before emotions are taking too much of a toll. We’ve been through an emergency vet incident with Ace once already, and emotions definitely got in the way.

So, I wanted to list out some of our questions to give each of you ideas on what to think about with your own families. Please add additional ideas in the comments.

[quote_center]We have both lost pets before, but never together.[/quote_center]

Questions for couples and families to ask when thinking about the end of a pet’s life

senior golden retriever

1. How much money are we willing to realistically spend on a dog or cat’s veterinary costs? How much debt are we willing to take on?

2. What kinds of diseases/injuries would we be willing to treat? (cancer, torn ACL, diabetes, emergency surgery, etc.)

3. If a serious illness or injury comes up with a pet, what are some important questions to remember to ask ourselves? How would we answer those questions right now, when emotions are not getting in the way?

4. How do we determine when euthanasia is the right choice for a pet? If we decide to euthanize, do we want to be present? Do we want the vet to come to our home if that is an option?

5. What will we do with the pet’s body? What are the costs involved with these options?

6. What do we want to do to honor/remember each pet?

7. What can we be doing now to plan and prepare for all of this?

8. What can we be doing now to increase their chances of longer, healthier lives? (raw diets, annual exams, blood tests, exercise, dental cleanings, etc.)

9. How do we expect to grieve? How can we support each other during the grieving process? (For example, I know I will need at least one full day to just embrace and accept the sadness before I can move on.)

10. How will we include our children in the process? (This one doesn’t apply to us.) Also, how will the other pets handle the loss?

*My heart goes out to everyone currently dealing with the potential loss of a pet.

Are there any other questions that you think should be added to the list?

The photo is of my last dog, Brittni, who passed away at the too-young age of 7. Love you, Girl.

Re-homing a pet doesn't make someone a bad pet owner
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