Whether due to old age, an illness, or a serious accident, deciding to have your dog put to sleep via euthanasia can be tough on the whole family. Here are a few things you can do to make the process a little easier on everyone involved:
Maintain Open Communication
One of the most important things you can do as a family unit to prepare and deal with the loss of your beloved dog is to keep communication open with one another. Your children should fully understand the situation and know what to expect when it comes time to take your dog in to the veterinarian to be put to sleep.
Trying to hide information or water down the situation can make the kids resentful and shut down once your dog is no longer around. Hold a family meeting and explain the euthanasia process and why your dog has to be put to sleep. Take the time to answer everyone's questions during the meeting, and make sure they all know that you're available to talk, answer questions, or just give out hugs at any time. The opportunity to talk about your own personal feelings with family members should help you better cope with your loss too.
Plan a Memorial Service
To help everyone in the household feel comfortable about the loss of your furry family member, consider planning a memorial service for them shortly after they're put to sleep. Invite friends and other family members who don't live with you to share in celebrating the memory of your very missed dog. Ask the kids to prepare short statements they'd like to share with the guests. Their presentations can serve as the eulogy.
Ask each guest to bring a potluck dish to share and create a music playlist to commemorate the occasion. Perhaps the Lady and the Tramp soundtrack is the right option for you? Feature photos of your dog throughout the space where your memorial service will be held, and you'll be ready for a day of memorializing to your lost dog.
Spend Time at the Animal Shelter
After your dog passes away, chances are that everyone in the family will feel a little lonely and lost without their furry loved one hanging around. Until your family is ready to adopt another dog into the household, you can all spend some time with animals at the local shelter by volunteering there once or twice a month.
You'll have the opportunity to enjoy the love that animals have to offer and take some of the sting out of missing your own dog without having to commit to taking a new pet in too soon just to fill some of the void that everyone in the household will probably experience upon your dog's passing.
Contact a vet, like Reabe Kevin C, for more help.