Dog being hugged

Preparing to Say Goodbye to Your Pet

What to consider before your pet's passing 


You and your pet have shared so much together, but now the time has come to say goodbye. For most people this experience is very difficult and emotional. However, good preparation will help you to let your pet go peacefully and with dignity. Prepare yourself and your family to say goodbye and make all the practical arrangements while you are still able. Do what you can to create a peaceful atmosphere for your pet and yourself.

Here are some recommendations that we have put together for you, which have proved helpful to other people in this situation.

Things to consider

  • Your vet may offer the option to put your pet to sleep at your home, in familiar surroundings. If this is your preferred option, talk to your vet about what time of day they should come (it may be distressing if you have to wait hours for an evening visit).
  • Talk to your family and friends. Find out who can or wants to be present. Think about which people have played a big role in your pet’s life. Also, think about who will be able to support you emotionally and practically if you feel overwhelmed.
  • Above all, when the time comes, do all you can to create a peaceful environment. Turn off your phone and doorbell. Put a “Do not disturb” sign on your door. If possible, shut out any outside noises.
  • If you want to bury your pet in your garden, consider digging the grave before your pet is put to sleep. Please check what the legal requirements are regarding the burial of pets.
  • If you would like your pet cremated speak to your vet or contact a pet cremation service in good time. Similarly, if you would like them to be buried in a pet cemetery, make the arrangements in advance.
  • If you choose to have your pet put to sleep at the veterinary clinic, you will also have the option of leaving the body there. The staff will then make all the arrangements.

What you can do for your pet

  • Make the most of the time you have left together. Give your pet as many happy moments as you can. If possible, help them enjoy their favourite activity with you. Play with them, take them to the places they like to visit, go for a walk together. Also be mindful that your pet may prefer to rest or sleep depending on how ill they are and what treatment they are receiving.
  • If that isn’t possible, spend some peaceful quality time with your pet at home. Give them all the things they enjoy most – their favourite toys, their favourite food. You know what will make your pet feel most at ease in the time that remains.
  • If you become tearful, ask a family member, friend or other trusted person to take care of your pet so you can leave the room and have a cry. That way you can avoid distressing your pet.
  • Have your pet put to sleep in a place where they feel most comfortable. This will probably be at your home. What’s their favourite spot? If it’s in the garden, consider saying goodbye to them there.
  • Don’t leave your pet alone when they are put to sleep. Although being present while it happens may be very difficult for you, it is the best way you can show your love for your pet.
  • Discuss with your vet options for sedating your pet just before they are put to sleep this may help your pet during the euthanasia procedure.
Woman holding a puppy

What Does It Mean to Be a Responsible Pet Owner?

Discover our guides and learn more


Share now!