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In the few minutes after death you may see reflex muscle movement, or involuntary gasps. These are not signs of life, in fact, they are reflexes denoting that death has occurred.

Animal euthanasia - Wikipedia

The eyes usually stay open and the bladder sometimes empties. The vast majority of euthanasias proceed smoothly and quickly with little distress to the animal. Even if there are difficulties, it is still a quick procedure that can save your dog many days or weeks of suffering and a painful end.

This is entirely your choice. It may be a comfort to you to see that euthanasia is usually a quick and gentle process, but try not to feel guilty if you feel unable to watch — if you are very upset then this may upset your dog. Vets and nurses choose their profession because they want to help animals. If you wish, ask to see your dog afterwards. At the end you will probably be offered the opportunity to be alone with your pet for a few minutes. Most people opt for cremation arranged by the vet.

Usually, this is communal cremation with other dogs but you can arrange for individual ashes to be returned, although this may be expensive. There are pet cemeteries for which vets usually have details, or you can take the body home for burial. If you are undecided, then vets can usually store the body while you consider.


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Do not be embarrassed to ask if you wish to keep a lock of hair, or perform a ceremony such as saying a prayer — vets are quite used to such requests and will be sympathetic. It is entirely natural to feel upset when your dog dies.


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  7. Do not be embarrassed about showing your emotions — veterinary staff expect you to be upset. It takes time to get over the loss of a loved one and, although reactions differ, very often a mixture of feelings — sadness, loneliness and anger — can follow. Some people find themselves questioning whether they did the right thing.

    It is normal to feel some doubt, though this will ease in time. Be prepared for the house to feel empty on your return. Try to treasure your memories and talk to family, and friends. If you have questions about your dog's condition, then talk to your vet. Sometimes family, friends and work colleagues who themselves have not experienced a special relationship with an animal, may be unsympathetic or make unhelpful remarks.

    For children it can be especially upsetting, as it may be their first experience of death. Children need support even if they are not outwardly upset.

    Talk to them honestly about what is happening and, as far as possible, involve them in decision-making. Rituals such as funerals, making a memorial or assembling a scrapbook with memories of the dog may help. Be prepared for questions about death and its finality. For young people who have other difficulties in their lives, the loss of a pet can be devastating, and it may be sensible to seek professional advice. Other dogs may notice the loss and respond to it. They may be unsettled and lose their appetite for one or two days.

    It may help if they see the body of the deceased dog. Giving them extra attention may provide some comfort. Sooner or later you may start to think about getting another dog. No two dogs are the same and, although another may have characteristics in common with your previous dog, he or she will have a different personality. Everyone is different, and when you feel that you want another dog, you will probably find that the new dog is a worthy successor. The knowledge you have gained from caring for your dog could be put to good use caring for one of the many dogs currently in shelters for want of an experienced owner.

    The Pet Bereavement Support Service is a telephone helpline and email service that offers such support to bereaved pet owners, through a national network of trained volunteer befrienders. Telephone: seven days a week 8. Training and games, Behaviour. Essentials, Getting a dog. We provide free pet advice as every pet deserves to be well looked after. We treated around 35, sick injured and homeless pets last year. We're so glad we've been able to help these pets who are unable to help themselves, but there are thousands of sick and lonely pets still in need, so we need to ask for a small favour.

    All of our work is funded entirely through donations.

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