'Broken-Hearted' Vet Begs Pet Owners To Stay With Them When They Die

Would you hold your pet in their last moments? Or would you leave the room?

A Facebook post from a "tired, broken-hearted" vet urging pet owners to stay with their furry loved ones when they're dying has stuck a chord and gone viral.

"I want you all to know something. You have been the centre of their world for their entire lives. They may just be a part of yours but all they know is you as their family. It is a crappy decision / day / time / event every time, there is no argument against that, and it is devastating for us as humans to lose them," the anonymous person wrote.

"But please, I beg of you, do not leave them. Do not make them transition from life to death in a room of strangers in a place they don't like.

"The thing you people need to know that most of you don't is that they search for you when you leave them behind.

"They search every face in the room for their loved person. They don't understand why you left them when they are sick, scared, old or dying from cancer and they need your comfort."

It was shared anonymously from the Hillcrest Veterinary Hospital in South Africa, but judging by the response -- four thousand comments and 84 thousand shares at the time of writing.

While most Australians choose to stay with their pets right up until the end, about one in ten people find the process too distressing, said vet and Australian Veterinary Association process Dr Paula Parker.

"We do have some anxious animals who are highly bonded with their owners, and they become more stressed in that case," she told ten daily.

Sadly, putting down a beloved pet is a daily occurrence for many vets.

"It's a really stressful experience for owners and pets," she said.

"We try to make it easier by having a quiet place where people can spend some last time with their animals."

Losing a pet is widely considered to be a kind of grief, similar to losing a friend or family member. Photo: Getty.

Vets will also take the time to talk owners through the stages of putting an animal down, to lessen the anxiety around it. The drug is essentially an overdose of anesthetic, which stops the heart and shuts down the brain. It's like going to sleep.

Some animals will take one last deep breath, and the muscles will twitch, but contrary to what Hollywood might have us believe, the eyes won't close on their own.

For some people, they become too distressed by the experience, and worry that their stress will cause their animal further anxiety, but about 90 percent of people in Australia choose to stay with their furry babies till the end.

A peaceful death free from pain is "the last gift you can give them."