Many families ponder whether their other pets should be present during their euthanasia appointment. There can be benefits and downsides to having additional pets present during the process. We’ll help you decide if your other dog should be present during euthanasia.
Should I Bring My Other Dog to Euthanasia?
You may bring your other dog to your pet’s euthanasia appointment to allow them say goodbye and help ease the transition of grieving. However, it would be best to keep pets away if you believe they will be distracting during the procedure.
Allowing your other animal to see your deceased pet is a personal choice. You should be emotionally ready as well.
Reasons Why You Should Let Your Other Dog Say Goodbye
Like humans, dogs also need a way to process their grief and see their companion one last time. There are several reasons you should allow the surviving pet see their fellow friend during this time.
Show The Value of Their Presence
While we can’t be sure, allowing the other pet to witness the process can eliminate confusion about what’s happening. Behavioral ecologist Dr. Marc Bekoff says that some dogs don’t know that another pet has died, yet they perceive that an individual or someone from their pack is missing. This implies they feel a sense of loss of companionship.
Ease to the Transition of Being Alone
Suppose you raised two dogs together for several years before one succumbed to sickness or old age. Rather than keeping the news to yourself, it’s like sharing a crucial situation with your other dog, who you know equally love the aging one.
If they have shared a close bond for many years, you may consider allowing your other pet be present. This can ease the transition of not having a playmate around anymore.
Let Them Express Their Grief
Anthropologist Barbara J. King says that dogs may have behavioral changes following the death of a fellow canine. This supports Charles Darwin’s argument that many emotions must be similar across species due to the evolutionary connection between humans and animals.
However, researchers suspect that animals show grief in certain conditions. First, when two dogs spend time together as mates. Second, when the surviving dog’s routine is disrupted due to losing the other pet.
Allowing your other pet to witness another dog’s passing helps lessen these potential effects such as:
- Increased anxiety
- Sleep problems
- Decreased appetite
- Decrease in activity
- Destructive behavior
Have Someone Support You
Euthanasia can be a stressful situation for you and your pets. A study shows that when an owner has elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol, their dogs can also show signs of stress.
Reasons Not to Bring Your Other Dog to the Euthanasia Appointment
It’s advisable to bring your surviving dog to your other pet’s euthanasia at home. However, there are instances where it would be better for them not to be present during another dog’s euthanasia.
- Pet is disruptive: Some pets, especially younger ones, may still need to be trained to be still and respectful. If a puppy sees a room of people, it may see an opportunity to find a playmate instead.
- Pet is overly interested in the new person: For in-house euthanasia, your other dog will see new people in the house. If it sees someone it likes, it may try to get the person’s attention, preventing the staff from doing their job correctly.
- Pet is overprotective: Some pets may mistake the staff for hurting their friend. They may shield away the dying dog’s body or bite.
- Pet has a vulnerable health state: Perhaps your other dog is sick or susceptible to illness. It’s best to keep it away from the dog who passed away.
In such cases, you may leave the other dog in another room or a neighbors house until the procedure is over. After that, allow them to have some time to smell and be close to the deceased dog.
Ways to Support Your Other Dog During Euthanasia
Let your dog grieve and have some time alone. Some dogs may even try to run away from the procedure as they feel the tension in the room. If your pet is yearning for your attention afterward, make sure to spend time with it.
Some dogs may wander and find the scent of their old canine friend. Don’t immediately discard the deceased dog’s possessions, as these can also serve as memorial items. Keep a blanket or toy your other pet can cuddle with or smell its friend’s scent.
Consider getting another dog eventually. If this is not an option, schedule play dates with other dogs. Most importantly, be there for your other dog so it knows it has your love and support.
How Do You Help Dogs Deal With the Death of Another Canine?
The best way to help dogs cope with the death of another pet is to set up a routine to help them adjust. Feed your surviving pet at the usual time, take him on daily walks, or go to the places you usually visit. This tells your dog that life continues, whatever happens.
Bringing your dog to another dog’s euthanasia appointment depends on several factors such as their temperament, how close they were to the deceased pet and their personality as it relates to strangers in the house. Although it may be difficult, it does provide closure to the other dog and may allow them to grieve, just as you would.