The Euthanasia Decision: How it Affects Other Pets

If you have decided that euthanasia is the kindest choice for your pet, you may wonder whether it is appropriate to include your other pets in the process. Some owners have reported fewer disruptions in their surviving animal’s behavior when the surviving pet was allowed to see and smell the deceased pet after euthanasia.

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If you are considering having your other pet present during the euthanasia event, an important consideration is that your emotions may startle your surviving pet, making the experience more stressful. On the other hand, some owners feel comforted by the presence of their surviving pet.

Keep in mind that you cannot predict how your surviving pet will react to the presence of your deceased pet. It is common for the surviving pet to sniff the deceased pet. Other behaviors that seem disrespectful may occur, such as stepping on, urinating on, or barking at the deceased pet. These are all normal behaviors for animals, especially if they sense your stress at this difficult time. It is important to prepare yourself for these possibilities so that you can see them as normal pet grieving, rather than an insult to your deceased pet. Changes in the social structure and hierarchy of the pets still in the home can be disrupted by a loss, and they may struggle to determine their new place or allegiances.