Should my other pet be there?

Considering the impact of euthanasia on other animals in the home 

Losing a beloved pet is one of the most heart-wrenching experiences a pet owner can go through. When the time comes to say goodbye to a furry family member, many pet owners wonder if their other pets should be present during the process of home euthanasia. This is a valid concern, as we want to ensure that all our pets receive the love and support they need during this difficult time. In this article, I’ll give my thoughts to help you decide if your other pets should be involved with a put-to-sleep at home.

The Importance of Considering Companion Pets

As a house visiting veterinarian who focuses on home euthanasia, I have witnessed first-hand the impact that the presence of companion pets can have on the grieving process. Just like humans, pets grieve in their own unique ways. Some may want to be present during the euthanasia, while others may find comfort in being nearby but not directly involved. Our pets all have different and distinct personalities so it is crucial to consider the individual needs and preferences of each pet when making this decision.

Understanding the Bond Between Companion Pets

Pets form deep bonds with one another, often becoming inseparable companions. They share their lives, their joys, and their sorrows. When one pet is nearing the end of their life, the other pets in the household are often acutely aware of their companion's declining health. They may exhibit subtle changes in behavior or become more protective and attentive towards their ailing friend. In many situations, it is beneficial to allow companion pets to be present during the home euthanasia process. This can provide them with the opportunity to say their goodbyes and understand that their companion has peacefully passed on. Just as humans seek closure, companion pets also benefit from this closure. Allowing them to be present can help them comprehend the loss and begin their own grieving process.

Positive Experiences of Companion Pets Being Present

Numerous pet owners have shared their experiences of how allowing companion pets to be present during home euthanasia has had a positive impact on the entire family. Many have explained that giving their pet a chance to say goodbye to it’s household friend has helped not only the pet but also the owners who might have felt guilt if this opportunity for closure wasn’t allowed. However, all pets are different and there may be a good reason why you don’t want your other pet to be present during euthanasia.

Reasons to Consider Not Having Companion Pets Present

While the presence of companion pets is often beneficial, there are instances where it may be best not to have them present. It is essential to respect the preferences and needs of each pet. If a companion pet does not wish to be present, it is crucial not to force them into the situation. Additionally, younger pets, such as puppies or kittens, may not fully understand the process and could become disruptive or confused. In such cases, it is advisable to keep the other pet in a separate room until the euthanasia process is over, allowing them time to process the situation at their own pace.

Supporting Companion Pets After Euthanasia

The grieving process continues even after the euthanasia has taken place. Companion pets may exhibit signs of grief, just as humans do. They may search for their deceased companion or display changes in behavior. It is vital to provide them with the support and understanding they need during this time. Be observant of any signs of distress or unusual behavior, as this may indicate that they are struggling with the loss. Offering extra love, attention, and reassurance can make a significant difference in helping them navigate through their grief. On some occasions, if the pets didn’t get along, the surviving pet may also become more relaxed and less territorial around the home.

The Role of Pet Owners in the Grieving Process

As pet owners, we play a vital role in supporting our companion pets during the grieving process. It is important to create a safe and comforting environment for them to express their emotions. Allow them to grieve in their own way, whether it be through increased affection, seeking solitude, or exhibiting changes in behavior. Just as we need time to heal, our pets also require patience and understanding as they adjust to life without their companion.

Making a Decision That is Right for Your Pets

Ultimately, the decision of whether to have companion pets present during home euthanasia is deeply personal. It is essential to consider the unique dynamics of your pet's relationships and their individual needs. By observing their behavior, understanding their bond, and providing them with the support they need, you can make an informed decision that best honours the memory of your departed pet while ensuring the well-being of your other furry family members.


The question of whether to allow companion pets to be present during home euthanasia is a complex one. While there are no definitive answers, it is crucial to consider the individual needs and preferences of each pet. Companion pets experience grief just as humans do, and their presence during the process can help provide closure and understanding. However, it is equally important to respect their boundaries and allow them to grieve in their own way. By offering love, support, and understanding, we can help our furry friends navigate through the difficult journey of loss and healing.

If you are unsure, it is perfectly acceptable to raise this with your vet and discuss your own, unique circumstances before arriving at a decision that you are comfortable with.