During our research, conducted with over 500 pet owners on pet loss, we consistently received the same feedback: the need for more information. However, it was also clear that pet owners often did not feel comfortable asking for this information, which made it difficult for the veterinary teams to realise that they wanted this help.
Our veterinary professional research also revealed that veterinary teams believed that talking more openly to everyone about pet loss support or what to expect when the time comes for their pet to be euthanised, would be too upsetting for clients. Consequently, they would generally only talk to those who specifically requested information. The combination of the clients’ reluctance to ask together with the vet teams’ concern that they would upset people, has unintentionally resulted in an information gap, and clients feeling upset by the lack of knowledge surrounding their pet’s passing.
When we asked pet owners about the information they would like to receive prior to saying goodbye to their pet, or what they think could have been done differently at the euthanasia appointment, we received the following comments:
- "Grief support would have been helpful".
- "An explanation of procedures".
- "I was given information, but I really would have liked to have had more - maybe a referral to someone to talk to about grief"?
- "Do research before the animal is ill. Sometimes it can happen overnight, and you need a plan".
- "There was no support group or therapy information offered. “I found therapy through my work employee benefits”.
- "More information and details about the procedure and the aftermath".
- "Just support information regarding dealing with the grief would be helpful".
When do Pet Parents Expect Conversations & Support Information about end of life?
- 24% on diagnosis of a serious illness
- 21% when the pet is healthy so that they can prepare for when the time comes
- 18% when the vet thinks the time could be near
- 17% when the pet is getting older
- 12% not until it is necessary
**Compassion Understood Pet Owner Research 2015
Which pet parents need the most support?
- The ones who live on their own?
- The elderly?
- The young?
The truth is we don’t always know. Our judgement can be flawed. We make assumptions – just as we do regularly in life based on our previous experiences – and we make assumptions about who is going to find it more of a struggle after the loss of their pet and who isn’t.
There’s a tendency for vet teams to attempt to categorize the owners who will need more support and then offer that extra support to them through maybe giving them a bereavement leaflet or information from the crematorium
But when judgements are made in this way, people who need support more than others miss out . Some people have a very controlled response to grief.
They won’t say very much, and they will appear to be resilient and in control.
But this can hide their true feelings. They aren't the people who want to open up in the clinic and share how they are feeling. So how do vet teams recognize this. How will they know to give them information or not?
This is why vet teams need to offer this information to EVERYONE, regardless of how they might appear to them and pet parents must reach out if they have concerns or feel the need for more information. Ask for the opportunity to talk; reach out to the vet team for leaflets, web sites with advice and support, ask your vet team to provide you with information that you can take home and digest in the privacy of your own home home. And maybe discuss with your family or friends
For help and support in the United Kingdom visit compassionunderstood.com
For help and support in the USA visit compassionunderstood.us.com.
We aim to:
- Guide you in planning for this difficult time
- Help you make the right decisions
- Provide clear and accessible information
- Cope with the passing of your beloved pet
We hope Compassion Understood gives you reassurance as you approach the time to say goodbye.
* click on the images for client feedback
Live in United Kingdom?
Find veterinary practices near you who have undergone special training in end-of-life care for pets and their owners. By clicking the following link and entering your Post code https://www.compassionunderstood.com/accreditedvets
Live in USA?
Find veterinary practices near you who have undergone special training in end-of-life care for pets and their owners. By clicking the following link and entering your ZIP code https://www.compassionunderstood.us.com/accreditedvets