The decision to have your treasured pet put to sleep may be one of the most difficult choices you have to make. At some point it may become obvious to you that your pet’s life is drawing to a close. We would all prefer for our pets to pass away naturally in their sleep. However, often we have to intervene to make this life ending decision on their behalf to end pain and suffering.
When is the right time?
This is the hardest question for most pet owners to answer. Essentially euthanasia (or “putting to sleep”) becomes necessary when an animal is too sick, badly injured or too old to enjoy a good quality of life. There are several situations when euthanasia is the kindest thing to do for your pet. All our staff are happy to discuss any situation with you.
Remember, many seemingly impossible conditions may be treatable, so talk to your vet before making a final decision. The timing of euthanasia is a decision you must make yourself, but discuss it with your vet and the rest of your family. It is rare that you will have to make a rushed or immediate decision.
Where will it be done?
Generally we will put pets to sleep at the practice. We will book you a longer appointment so there is plenty of time. If you would like your pet put to sleep at home, we are happy to arrange a house visit.
Should I stay with my pet?
This is a very personal choice, many people do stay so they can reassure their pet at the end. Also it may provide comfort to you knowing that your pet passed away peacefully. If you are worried you will get upset, please don’t be – it is a perfectly understandable and natural reaction and we wouldn’t want it to prevent you being with your pet at the end. You do not have to stay and shouldn’t feel any pressure to stay, if it is not what you want. We will still reassure your pet and ensure the euthanasia is as gentle and peaceful as possible.
What will happen?
Your vet will shave a small patch of fur from your pet’s leg and insert a needle into a vein. Your vet may choose to place an intravenous catheter. This will be done in another room with the assistance of a nurse. In some cases a nurse will assist the vet in the consulting room with the pet.
An anaesthetic drug is then injected which will make your pet drowsy then unconscious, soon afterwards their breathing and heartbeat will stop. Occasionally your pet may give an involuntary twitch or gasp after euthanasia, this is normal and nothing to worry about. The whole procedure from the start of the injection is a quick and painless procedure. If your pet is fearful or aggressive then a sedative injection may be given first.
We can arrange for your pet to be cremated. Routinely your pet will be cremated with other pets or we can organise an individual cremation so you can receive your pet’s ashes afterwards. We use a pet crematorium to provide this service. You can rest assured that your pet will be treated with dignity and compassion after death.
If you wish you can visit the website of the crematorium that would care for your pet: www.pcsonline.org.uk
It is natural to feel grief after losing a beloved pet. The bond between us and our animal friends is strong and a period of mourning is quite normal. You may feel anger, guilt and even relief after the death of a pet. Don’t be ashamed of these emotions. Talk it through with your family or close friends. Involve your children and let them talk. Many children will even cope better than adults. It often helps if you can include children in the decision making process prior to euthanasia as this may help them come to terms with the loss later.
If you feel you are not coping with the loss of your pet, please seek professional help.
Our team are trained to answer any questions or support you through the loss of your pet