Saying goodbye to a furry friend …

By Danielle van Wyk

Can you imagine a day without your beloved Nibbles? To most of us, pets are not mere fluffy toys, but an extension of the family. So, when you are told that you may have to put your pet down, it can be devastating - both emotionally and financially.

According to vetenarian, Dr Erika Venter it has been scientifically proven that the loss of a furry companion can be just as painful as when a loved one dies. 

“Our pets are family, and we as veterinarians treat each animal as an individual member of the diverse families they come from,” adds Venter.

Decisions about end-of-life care is an extremely sensitive subject and should be discussed with empathy. Preparing your family can also be difficult, especially when it comes to explaining the process to your children.

What is the process of putting your pet down?

This isn’t a one-size-fits-all procedure. Instead, it will be defined by you, your pet, the care needed, and your vet.

Whether your vet comes to your home or you take your pet to the clinic, what is important is that you stay with your dog during this process, says Tracy McQuarrie, founder of Dogtown SA and Barking Mad. 

“They don’t understand what is happening and they need the person they love the most to be with them.”

McQuarrie says that vets typically euthanise pets with an injection, which is quick and painless. Many vets also administer a sedative before the euthanasia drug.

The euthanasia medication most commonly used is a seizure medication called pentobarbital. It is either given as a shot or an IV in the leg. It renders the pet unconscious, and the heart and brain functions shut down in under three minutes.

What does it cost?

“No monetary value can be placed on how someone assists their loving pet in dying and how they choose to remember them. Therefore, all veterinarians offer humane sedation and euthanasia as a basic service to all suffering animals,” Venter highlights.

Again, it is case dependent so costs may differ.

According to McQuarrie some people often opt to have their pet’s ashes returned to them as a keepsake. This too affects the costing. 

“In short, when it comes to putting a loving pet and partner to rest, this should be discussed with your veterinarian,” adds Venter.

Pet cover

While it is not easy planning for your pet’s eventual demise, your best friend deserves the best care. It is therefore important that you plan for the worst. One such way is by taking out pet insurance.

MediPet offers a few insurance options from R165 – R370 pm, while at Oneplan Pet you will pay around R134 pm.

It could be worthwhile asking your current insurer whether any in-house cover options are available.

It is never easy losing a loved one, whether human or furry, but preparing yourself financially can ensure that there is one less thing to worry about during that period. 


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