Skip to Content

Veterinarians explain why you should be with your pet during their final moments

A pet is more than a domesticated animal that keeps us company, for most people, a pet is synonymous with family.

Hence, when a beloved pet is struck with an incurable disease or reached the age where they are already physically suffering, their owner’s heart grieves tremendously.

The hearts of veterinarians are breaking because pet are owners are forced to put their pets to ‘sleep’ rather than prolong their agony. This also allows their pets to leave with dignity.

However, though pet owners choose to euthanize their dog to end their suffering, it does not make this decision any less difficult to accept.

It is no secret that some pet owners are not by the side of their cherished pets when they are about to die. They just can’t handle the situation of having to see their beloved ‘family member’ permanently go away.

Although understandable, veterinarians strongly believe, it is during moments like this that our pets need us the most.

“Do not make them transition from life to death in a room full of strangers, in a place they don’t like. The thing people need to know that most of you don’t is that they search for you when you leave them behind.” 

The thoughtful veterinarians working at the Hillcrest Veterinary Hospital, expressing their strong sentiments to persuade pet owners to stay with their pets until the very end.

Here’s the photo of the content of their meaningful post which is circulating online, clearly explaining how owners, who leave their pets when they are about to be put down, are breaking their hearts.

The viral post on Facebook.


When people read this post, many left heartbreaking comments:

Jennifer agreed one-hundred percent with the post!

Randy chose to stay by his animal companion’s side to the last second to honor the 20-years of joy he gave him.

Dr. Evan Shaw, another veterinarian agrees with the viral post. The dutiful veterinarian had his fair share of pets that were euthanized with and without their owners. Dr. Evan and many veterinarians like him say that pets handle their situation better when their owners are right beside them.

“I have a lot of return clients and I have found that people who aren’t there at the end of their pet’s life find it to be one of their biggest regrets at a later point. I totally understand how hard it would be, but death is ultimately a part of life and needs to be experienced to help the grieving process.” Dr. Shaw said, sharing his two cents about the issue.

Jessi Dietrich who spoke with other veterinarians shared what she learned about pets that are about to be put down.

“He said when he has to put an animal down 90 percent of owners don’t actually want to be in the room when he injects them, so the animal’s last moments are usually them frantically looking around for their owners and to be honest, that broke me.”

Put yourself in the shoes of your precious pets. Don’t you want to be surrounded with the people you love on your final breath? Your beloved beasts feel the same way too.

To further educate pet owners about the process of euthanasia, the American Veterinary Association are sharing information about this controversial process. Words of encouragement and support are posted on their website, which reads:

“Grief for a pet, or pets of particular species, may not be fully respected by some members of your community. Even well-meaning family and friends may not realize how important your pet was to you or the intensity of your grief. Comments they make may seem cruel and uncaring, although they were not meant to be taken that way.

Be honest with yourself and others about how you feel. If you feel despair, talk to someone who is receptive and nonjudgmental when listening to your feelings about the loss of your pet.

Seeking out social support can help you work through your grief. If immediate family and friends are not able to provide this support, seek out an emotionally safe and accepting environment such as a pet loss support group. Talk about your sorrow, but also about the fun times you and your pet spent together the activities you enjoyed and the memories that are meaningful to you.”

The American Veterinary Association does not only share educational information about euthanasia, they are also offering grievance support to the mourning and grieving pet owners.

Although this is not something we wish to happen to every pet owners, still, vets would like to remind everyone that our responsibility to our pets does not end the moment we decided to let them go.

Indeed, no one would like to see the pet they have taken care of die in front of their eyes, but let’s think of it as a way of sending our beloved to the next life.

As Dr. Seuss once said, “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” It sure is painful to lose our beloved, but looking back at the life shared together will surely paint a blissful smile on your face.

Facebook | Hillcrest Veterinary Hospital & 24hr Emergency Service

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Sharon Ceragioli

Sunday 17th of September 2023

I recently watched my beloved Saint Bernard take his last breath unexpectedly. We had just been to his routine vet visit & got an all clear. He was a big boy at 197 pounds at only 6 years old. He was my life! I spent every waking moment that I wasn’t at work, with Bogie! On the way home from the Vets office, he began to breathe differently. I reassured him that we were almost home & to take it easy. When we pulled up in front of the house, he was laying down facing the back hatch back on my Jeep. I opened it quickly, encouraging him to stand up so we could get in the cool house. He wasn’t panting normally anymore, his chin was down & tongue hanging out a bit. I freaked out but never for a minute thought he would die. I just knew I had fo get him up & out of my Jeep so I could make him comfortable. I called my sister & she raced to my side, we called the vet & explained what was happening. He was shocked. Told us what to do to cool his body temp down & get him in the house as soon as possible. My sister was cooking him down w/buckets of cool water & when she went to get the 3rd bucket, she heard me scream, he’s not breathing! She immediately thought surely I was mistaken, I begged her to help me give him chest compressions & she held me & said, Shar, he’s gone! It was my worst nightmare & this week has been pure hell for me! I don’t want to be in my home.. everything reminds me of him! Everything!! His little sister (kitty) is mourning & so lost without him! I wouldn’t wish this on anybody! 🥲

Tuesday 1st of November 2022

Yes, completely agree! no question how painful & hard it is, but I wouldn't have it any other way, my husband & I both were with our dogs when that time came.......

L. C.

Saturday 22nd of October 2022

I couldn’t agree more! I was there with every one of mine. Holding them as they breathed their last. Stroking their fur and telling them how much I loved them. And I would do it all over again!

C. Miracle

Thursday 18th of February 2021

One of the hardest things about being a pet parent is when you have to choose the day they leave your life. No one wants it. But you will eventually have no choice. I didn’t want my pet to go or suffer and couldn’t afford the cancer treatments. And had to choose his day to go. It was so hard that day and I lost a piece of my heart. I cried so much. I mourned the very second I decided it and felt so guilty. I understand why some people can’t stay. Who knew you can love a pet so deeply? I hugged him and he comforted me even the last second of his life. I grieved like he was my own child. I did stay with my fur baby till his last breath and wouldn’t change that and would and will do it again, when I’m able to adopt another fur child.. And oh yes, it was so difficult and I didn’t think I could but I did stay. He was a good fur baby and he and all fur babies deserve being loved by his human parent up to the last second of their lives. I know from experience they really do look for you and are happy when you’re with them. And all seriousness, they will literally love you till their last breath. When you have a good connection with your pet. You will and should comfort them as they comforted you through the good days and bad days.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.