When the time comes to say goodbye to our family pets, having a bucket list in mind is something that a number of people choose to do to make valuable lasting memories. A bucket list is just as individual and unique as our pets themselves. There is no one way to approach the making and completion of the list. The following are a few suggestions to approaching the list.

Note: When starting the bucket list, you will want to think about what truly matters to your pet and what they can do comfortably with their current health issues.


Some dogs are chow hounds through and through. Ice cream, whipped cream, peanut butter, or even steak would be a welcome treat. If car rides are also a treat for such dogs, then a drive thru trip may be a perfect idea. If they do not like car rides, then a home cooked treat or take out may be best.

Pictures and Portraits

Taking pictures of a pet’s final days may give you some measure of comforting when grieving your loss in the months ahead. If you are not certain you want pictures, you can ask a trusted friend to help set up a file for the photos you take. Some families choose to have posed, professional portraits, while others do candid photos. You may be most comfortable with the type of photos you are most used to taking with your pet.

Go for a Walk or Visit their Favorite Spot

Another area of your pet’s life which they may want to do one more time is sitting in their favorite sunny spot, walking around their favorite park (even if in a stroller or wagon), or going to a pet friendly food store they frequented.

Take them to the Groomer

With age it is common for pets to enjoy grooming less, even if they once enjoyed the scheduled primping. If that is the case for your pet, it is okay to keep grooming to that which is necessary for hygiene purposes only. If; however, your pet enjoys a good grooming, this may be much appreciated. Even still in their last days.

Throw a Party

Throwing a party for your pet, at either the time of a planned euthanasia or in the days before euthanasia, is common for some families. This is definitely an individual decision. Loved ones of the pet can say goodbye and offer their love and condolences during this time. However, it can be overwhelming if the pet or family members prefer their solitude at such times. Whatever you decide for yourself is what will be best for your pet.

The decision to euthanize may be hastened by the worsening physical condition of a pet. Our best laid plans to complete a bucket list must sometimes be set aside as a result. If that is the case for your pet rest assured that you, as their family, are always top of any list they ever have when it comes to what is most important to them.

For more information on our end-of-life care services, click here.

Written by:

Dr. Kerry Muhovich


Hampton Roads Veterinary Hospice

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