We understand how distressing losing a beloved pet can be, whether it is sudden, or a decision must be made to say goodbye. We are here to help you every step of the way.
One of the most difficult decisions a pet owner may have to make is whether, or when, to have their pet put to sleep. However, when a pet’s quality of life has become so badly affected as to raise the question of whether euthanasia should be performed, it can also be one of the kindest decisions that an owner can make on their pet’s behalf.
Most often the decision to opt for euthanasia is made when pain or disability has deprived the animal of the quality of life it deserves, and where the problem either cannot be treated or where a decision has been made not to give treatment. In cases such as those of chronic disease or when a pet is very old, the decision is often not only a medical one but also depends very much on the individual animal. In such circumstances an owner may well know better than we do when the time has come for their pet to be put to sleep.
We are always willing to perform euthanasia at home and can usually arrange a visit at a time to suit you and your family. Please discuss this with any of our team. Do bear in mind that we might not be able to come out at very short notice.
It is perfectly natural to feel upset and emotional when a pet passes. After all, he/she has probably been part of the family for a number of years, and it can be devastating to lose such a close friend. You should not be afraid to show your feelings in the surgery, everyone will know what you are going through and will be sympathetic. Be prepared for the fact that different members of the family will react very individually to the loss of a family pet. If children are involved, it is important to consider that this may be their first experience of death. Being honest with them, telling them the truth about what happened, and how grown-ups feel about it will help children very much. Good times with the pet should also be remembered.
There are several options to consider after a pet has been put to sleep. It is possible to take the pet home after for burial, if this is not an option then your pet can stay with us and we can arrange cremation at a pet crematorium. Usually pets are cremated together but it is also possible for us to arrange an individual cremation. If you decide that you would like to have your pet’s ashes returned to keep or scatter there are a lovely range of caskets, urns and other tributes available. Some owners prefer to make their own arrangements with a pet crematorium or cemetery.
We hope this helps you with the many questions and dilemmas you will have but remember you can phone us to discuss any aspect or arrange a consultation with one of our specially trained team members to help you put your mind at rest that your beloved pet will be well looked after and cared for in their final moments.
It is always a sad and difficult experience when a pet comes to the end of their life. Making the decision to put a pet to sleep is tough. They have been a big part of your life and it is natural to experience grief at the thought of letting them go.
Everybody will process this grief differently and we are here to listen with compassion and without judgement if you need somebody to talk to.
Our experienced team can discuss your options and guide you through this process in a sensitive and humane manner.
What is euthanasia?
Putting your pet to sleep, or euthanasia, is a very difficult decision, and we understand how challenging it can be. However, in certain circumstances, it is the kindest option available to prevent your pet from suffering.
Some illnesses and injuries are beyond our abilities to cure or manage adequately, and if your pet is unable to get better or maintain a good quality of life we may recommend euthanasia.
We always have you and your pet at the centre of end-of-life discussions, and our vets and nurses are happy to talk and listen as you come to terms with this decision.
Once the decision to euthanise your pet has been taken, you will be asked to sign a form giving your consent for the procedure and informing us what arrangements you would like for your pet’s body afterwards.
The procedure itself does not take long. Once your pet is made comfortable on a bed or in their basket an overdose of anaesthetic drug is injected, usually into the vein in their front leg. The injection is painless and works very quickly, usually within seconds. Pets are unconscious and when they pass away they have no awareness. Within a few moments, their breathing and heart rate slow down and then stop altogether.
Occasionally, normal reflex actions such as passing urine or faeces, muscle tremors or gasping may occur. These are a natural part of the process, and your pet will be completely unaware and will not feel any pain or discomfort.
You may choose to be with your pet during and after the procedure or you may not wish to be present. The choice is yours and we try to make adjustments to ensure you and your pet are as comfortable as possible.
We can also sometimes arrange home visits for euthanasia. Ask a member of the team for more information.
PCS – our memorial service
Once your pet has passed away, our team will give you time to say goodbye in private.
We work with Pet Cremation Services (PCS) to provide a compassionate cremation service and a fitting memorial for your pet.
For their full range of caskets, memorials, keepsakes, and jewellery please visit their website or speak to a member of our team in the practice.
We will always do our best to cater for any alternative arrangements.
Further help: Compassion Understood
After a difficult or traumatic event, it can be useful to process or speak about your feelings.
Compassion Understood is a service which provides support for pet owners before, during and after a bereavement, to help you to reach the best decision and to cope with your pet’s passing.
This service works with veterinary professionals and specialist pet loss experts to help make a difficult time more bearable.
To find out more about Compassion Understood and how they can help you, visit their website or speak to a member of our team in practice.