Death is a subject many of us find hard to talk about. Its ominous tone brings about anxiety and sadness. When it comes to our pets, we want to believe they’ll always be around to hug, to comfort us, and to play with. Unfortunately, like with all living beings, this is just not the case. Preparing yourself for the death of your dog can be a difficult challenge, but may help you and your family cope in the long run. By implementing these 5 steps, you may be better prepared for the death of your dog when it occurs.
1. Spend quality time with your dog
If you know your dog is getting older, is sick, or his death may soon be nearing, you should set aside a good amount of time to spend with him. It’s important to take advantage of the remaining time you have together and let your dog know just how much you love him. If your dog is still able to get around, you could take him to his favorite place on a walk, feed him his favorite meal, or just lay together on the couch and hang out.
2. Make arrangements
Although it can be difficult, you’ll need to think about what to do with your dog’s body after he passes. Making arrangements beforehand saves you from decision making while you are grieving. There are several options available including cremation, burial, veterinary disposal. Generally, your vet can give you more information about each of these. Certain options will require health department approvals, special caskets, or proper burial urns. Take your time and speak with your family to decide which way is best to honor your beloved dog after he has passed.
3. Prepare yourself emotionally
Truthfully, you will never feel fully prepared to accept the death of a loved one, and this includes your dog. You can prepare yourself to feel grief, but you may not understand the extend of the roll your dog has played in your life until he passes away and you’re left to live without him. Learning about the stages of grief may help you to be aware of what you will experience and to get you ready to help those around you. Understanding that anger and denial are normal can be a relief.
4. Talk to Your Kids
Talking to your children about death is important because they too will be affected by your dog’s death. It’s best to talk to them in advance and gently explain that your dog is getting older or becoming ill, and will soon be resting for eternity. Depending on the age of your children, give them as many details you can and be prepared to answer questions. Let them know that after your dog passes, he will no longer feel pain, this may be comforting. Additionally, telling your children what’s happening will allow them time to say goodbye to your dog.
5. Take photos and other keepsakes
If you know your dog will be passing on soon, it’s a good idea to take extra photos and other keepsakes like a paw print, to frame and have around your house. The photos you take before their death may not be the best, but you will want to have them later on. On days after the loss of your dog, you will be able to look at these photos and keepsakes and know that it was his time to go, and that his suffering has finally ceased.
Preparing for the death of your dog can be sad, but it provides you with an even greater reason to enjoy each day you have with him. All living creatures pass on and it’s in your best interest to acknowledge this fact and plan for it. There are other ways you can keep your dog healthy and comfortable in his later years like treating ailments they may encounter such as arthritis, revising their diet, and engaging them in gentle exercise. To get more information on this subject, download our free eBook Helping Your Dog Age Gracefully by clicking the image below.