When it's time to say goodbye
Our beloved pets are part of our family and it is difficult to imagine life without them. We like to think that they will always be with us but sometimes we have to make a very difficult decision and discuss putting our pet to sleep (euthanasia) with our vet.
Euthanasia, when carried out at the right time, can be viewed as being one of the last acts of kindness we can do for our pets, but for many owners the procedure is an unknown and therefore frightening prospect. The following is a guide to assist you through the process of euthanasia and the aftercare options available. If you need to speak to someone, please see our contact information at the top of this page.
When is it the right time?
This is a common question to which there is no easy or correct answer; it will be a decision made by careful consultation between yourself and your vet. Our vets will help you to assess your pet’s “quality of life” and talk you through whatever options are available to you.
Where will the euthanasia take place?
The euthanasia can be carried out here at the surgery or, if you prefer, in your own home. If you wish to visit the surgery with your pet we will endeavour to arrange for you to come at a quiet time and arrange for you to have privacy before and after the euthanasia. If you request a home visit we will try to arrange a mutually convenient time. Please contact your nearest branch to discuss your home visit requirements (ideally before 10am). We will always try to accommodate your wishes. However, it is not always possible to achieve this aim in every situation (e.g. weekends).
Will I be able to stay with my pet?
Many owners wish to stay with their pet, however, some people are more comfortable saying their final goodbyes and leaving before their pet passes away. You may discuss these options with your vet at the time and choose the option you feel most comfortable with. If you do not stay, you can see your pet and spend some time with him or her afterwards if you wish.
What will happen on the day?
The veterinary surgeon will firstly fully explain the procedure to you. Sometimes a sedative is given before your pet is put-to-sleep. A nurse will then hold your pet in order for the vet to administer the injection. Within a few seconds of injecting the medicine, breathing will cease, followed by the heart stopping. The vet will monitor this closely and inform you when this has happened and the nurse will gently lay your pet down to sleep. Our aim is to make the whole procedure as quiet and gentle as practically possible for both your pet and you.
What happens afterwards?
There are three choices, which are common to all local vets, after your pet has passed away:
- You may take your pet home with you for a burial.
- Routine cremation: In this case your pet would be cremated at Pet Cremation Services with other pets and you can choose to have a certificate of cremation sent to you. The ashes are scattered close to the crematorium.
- Individual Cremation: Your pet will be individually cremated at Pet Cremation Services and the ashes will be returned to you. These can be contained in a casket or a tasteful disposable box for subsequent scattering, or you can choose for Pet Cremation Services to scatter the ashes for you in woodland close to the crematorium.
How can I expect to feel afterwards?
Everyone is different and we all react differently in this situation. Most of us find the loss of our pets difficult to deal with. The depth of feelings can take us by surprise and can almost overwhelm us. Some of us feel guilty – that it is somehow wrong to feel this way over an animal. Be assured that the way you feel is perfectly natural, that it is normal to grieve for a loved one – human or animal.
Is there anyone I can talk to?
You may find that it is difficult to talk to friends and family about your loss. Not everyone can understand how you feel and you may feel isolated and lonely. If you want to talk to someone please do not hesitate to contact the surgery where we can put you in contact with a trained Pet Bereavement Counsellor. You could also consider contacting the Blue Cross which, in addition to providing a very useful web site, also have a help line on 0800 096 6606 for free confidential support.