ABSTRACT: Dealing with clients’ distress, especially during euthanasia, is a significant stressor for many veterinary nurses. However, few have had formal training in how pet loss affects clients, and how best to communicate with grieving clients. Moreover, many veterinary practices do not take a comprehensive approach to client care during animals’ end-of-life phase. This article provides an overview of grief for pets and critiques some popular assumptions. A second article will outline practical ways to support clients.


Caroline Hewson MVB PhD MRCVS

From 2000 to 2006, Caroline Hewson was Research Chair in Animal Welfare at the Atlantic Veterinary College, Canada. Returning to practise in the UK in 2013, she created ‘The Loss of Your Pet’ client-care packs and staff training, to help practices support bereaved clients without needing more time or personnel Caroline also provides training in client care at pets’ end-of-life.

Keywords: Clinical, Pets, Assumptions

To cite this article: Veterinary Nursing Journal • VOL 29 (09) • September 2014 • pp302-305

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