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  • Writer's pictureChanti Cleland

What should you do when you know your beloved animal is terminally ill.

When you know your dog, cat, horse or any beloved animal is terminally ill, there is no denying you will have a traumatic time. I know that sounds harsh, but you love your animal, your animal is your best friend - it's going to be hard.

You may decide to let your best friend go very quickly or you may be able to spend more time with your dog without a totally diminished quality of life. At the end of the day only you can make those decisions with the guidance and advice of your vet. There is no right or wrong in this situation - only what is best for your beloved animal.

So what advice can I give you if you find out your animal is terminally ill?

The first thing is ensure that you have all the information you need about your animal’s illness. Don't be afraid to ask questions no matter how awkward or daft they may appear. This is your best friend so you want as much information as possible. If there is any chance your vet could be wrong, you may want and need a second opinion - if you can - don't be afraid to get one.

At no stage of your animal’s final illness should any of this become about you or another member of the family. The quality of your animal’s life is paramount. It is about doing what is best for them - don't be afraid to do that - it's one of the hardest decisions to make but your animal's welfare is of paramount importance.

Pain can be managed to a certain extent, and Vets have told me that that animals process the feelings of pain differently to humans, but if you have any suspicions that your friend is hurting or feeling pain or severe discomfort, let them go. I can’t emphasize that enough.

I also believe that you will know when the time is right - I know that I did with my beloved horses Nell and Harvey, and most recently my dog Derry - it is hard I am not going to deny that but there are ways of coping with the pain of loss.

I am a Pet Loss Counsellor if you are struggling with the loss of, or possible loss of your beloved animal and need some support and guidance - please feel to contact me. You can email me on or click on the free initial chat button below.

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