You & Your Pet

Departure Bay Veterinary Hospital Helps You Put Your Pet First

A new pet can be a joyful addition to your household, for both you and your four-footed member of the family. For a happy and low-stress transition for all, make a thoughtful decision about the age and type of pet that best suits you, your lifestyle and the other humans and pets waiting at home. We at Departure Bay Veterinary Hospital also recommend you thoroughly prepare for your new dog or cat so you can begin enjoying each other’s company from day one.

Finding & Choosing Your Perfect Pet

  • Start your search with total agreement with your family members about the type of pet you all want to live with and care for. This includes children and adults.
  • Do you have younger, active children or are you a dedicated, daily jogger? Are you single, work a lot and live in an apartment? Look through the breed descriptions from the American Kennel Club (AKC) about size, age, activity level, temperament and physical needs to plan for your perfect match. Or maybe a sweet mutt or an indoor cat could be your ideal companion.
  • Do you already have a dog or cat? Consider their age, temperament and adaptability as well as their feelings. Is your older dog or cat willing to share your attention and be happy to have a new companion?
  • Where to look? With so many animals – including rabbits, ferrets and birds – surrendered to animal shelters or fostered by rescue groups, consider being visiting your local Humane Society or BCSPCA®. Explore the animal rescue groups in the Nanaimo area and beyond. The Departure Bay Veterinary Hospital staff is happy to help.
  • Be prepared. Your cat should find a bed or a box with a soft towel to sleep in waiting for her. Are you adopting a puppy? An appropriately sized crate for security and training should get you both off to a good start. Of course, your new friend needs food, a water bowl, toys and plenty of time to become acquainted with you and an unfamiliar environment.
  • Whether from a rescue group, shelter or reputable breeder, dogs or cats can be excessively stressed in a new environment if you are in the midst of a busy holiday season. A new pet is an adopted a family member, not a surprise gift.
  • Finally, ensure your new companion animal starts off with a wellness check if adopted from as a stray or an introductory visit if adopted from a shelter. Many shelter pets are spayed/neutered, vaccinated and even chipped. Yet, the entire staff of Departure Bay Veterinary Hospital would love to meet your new pet and help you with any health, dietary or behavioral questions you have.

Departure Bay Veterinary Hospital Helps You Say Goodbye

Most people struggle with the thought of losing their beloved pet, and having to say goodbye can be one of the most difficult things you will have to face. Some pets will pass in their sleep, while others may require the painful decision to put them down. Whatever the case may be, dealing with the loss is exceedingly difficult.

Choosing Euthanasia

Many pet owners fear choosing euthanasia for their pet because they see it as giving up on them or lacking the ability to provide for them. In reality, deciding to euthanize a suffering pet is one of the most humane choices you can make. Oftentimes, we selfishly try to keep our pets with us as long as possible, causing our pet pain and misery. If your pet would benefit from an eternal sleep, the veterinarian can walk you through the procedure and answer any questions you might have. At Departure Bay Veterinary Hospital we even allow you be 
present with your pet during the final injection.

Dealing with the Loss

After we lose a beloved pet, it is always difficult adjusting to life without them. Most pet owners suffer one or multiple stages of grief in various sequences:

  • Denial – wondering how you will survive without your pet. Often ask yourself “why” questions, such as “why me?” or “why now?”
  • Anger – usually anger is directed at people around you and is your only way to outwardly express your feelings.
  • Bargaining – asking yourself “what if” questions about alternative decisions you could have made or things you could have done differently.
  • Depression – a feeling of emptiness without your pet or feeling that life isn’t as happy as it used to be.
  • Acceptance – the acknowledgement that your new reality exists, though not stating it is acceptable. Finally understanding that your pet is gone.

Moving Forward

Pet owners cope in various ways, and there are numerous services that help make the loss of a pet easier. There are pet crematories that can help preserve your pet, pet loss hotlines, and even support groups. Finding an outlet that allows you to manage your loss is very important.

Getting a New Pet

In their process of healing, some pet owners decide to get a new pet, thinking it may help heal their grief. In reality, a new pet should not be introduced until a pet owner is ready to move on. Allow yourself to go through the stages of grief before considering a new animal. Pet owners who do not let themselves heal before getting a new pet are more likely to place the pet in a shelter at a later date. The following guidelines are intended to help you choose your new pet:

  • Avoid comparing your new pet to the pet you lost. They will never be the same and you are only adding grief and stress for your new pet.
  • Consider purchasing a new pet before you lose your elderly pet; this may cause your older pet to hang on longer and prevents you from having to get acquainted with a new pet while still mourning the loss of another.
  • Do not give your new pet the same name or a nickname of your pet that has passed.
  • Do not purchase a pet as a replacement for your pet that has passed away.
  • Look for a pet that is different from your last pet, either in breed, species, or personality.
  • Take time to think about what kind of pet you want and what sort of pet fits in with your lifestyle.

If you are having trouble grieving the loss of your pet or have questions about pet euthanasia, feel free to contact our office at your convenience.

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