Death may be a fact of life, but loss is still very painful to those of us left behind. Pets have a funny way of brightening our moods no matter how difficult the day has been. When a pet gets older or sick from an illness, the anticipation of loss is not something we welcome with open arms. However, emotional preparation and planning may make the process of grief more endurable for you and your family, especially if you have young children. In this guide, we take a closer look at anticipating pet loss and how to prepare for when that time comes that your pet crosses the Rainbow Bridge.

Anticipating Pet Loss

Animals aren’t able to communicate when they’re in pain or suffering, which makes it more difficult to anticipate when our pets may be drawing closer to the final months or weeks of their lives. Nonetheless, cats and dogs do give certain clues to let us know that the end is near. Old pets may exhibit a lack of coordination, extreme fatigue, a complete loss of appetite, or symptoms from a terminal illness. Before making a hasty decision, you should talk to your veterinarian. It’s important to discuss the quality of life with your pet’s care provider and evaluate the options available to you.

Making a Difficult Decision

Whether euthanizing or making your pet comfortable at home, it’s important to include your family in this big decision. Ensure that your children understand the reason behind this decision, but younger children might not be ready to talk about death or understand why pets pass on so soon. You must also remember to keep your emotions under control as you talk through this decision with your family. Although they might not know what’s going on, pets are influenced by our emotions and can become confused, scared, or stressed. Make the last few weeks of your pet’s life peaceful.

How to Prepare Your Family

When there are no treatment options that can make your pet more comfortable, it may finally be time. Euthanasia is not an easy decision to make but it does not have to be fraught with sorrow. If this is your child’s first experience with death, try to make it a pleasant experience. There are many books on the subject of losing a pet that might help your children prepare in advance. As a family, you should also decide whether you’re prepared to be present for your pet as he or she makes the peaceful transition into the next journey of life. You should also decide whether you’re going to bury or cremate your pet when the time comes. You can also create a meaningful memorial or tribute to your pet.

By preparing in advance, you can face the grieving process with a mind full of memories and gratitude for the time you had with your cherished companion.