At Werrington Vets, we know that your pet is part of your family and losing a pet is a terrible blow.
Although nobody wants to think about the possibility of losing their pet, we all know that unfortunately this comes as part of being a pet owner. As a pet owner, we are constantly making decisions about what our pet needs to keep them happy and healthy and along with planning for your pets vaccinations or neutering we should also be thinking/planning about what we would like for them when the time comes to let out beloved pets pass away with dignity.
Here at Werrington Vets we encourage our clients to discuss euthanasia with us at any stage of their pets life, we provide our clients with the means to record what their wishes are so when the time comes you don’t have to think about all the practical things (where you would like to have your pet put to sleep, what you plan on doing with your pet once they have passed and any special requests you may have i.e. having some fur clipped for you to keep, having a paw print done etc.). These things are hard to remember when you’re going through the pain of losing your pet so forward thinking takes all the worry away and allows you to concentrate on your pet and giving them all the love and cuddles they deserve.
What is euthanasia?
Many of us hope that when our pets become older or unwell, they will gently pass away in their sleep. That can be a lovely and natural way, but unfortunately if they are in pain, fear or distress in their final hours, euthanasia may be the kindest option. “Euthanasia” means “good death”, and it involves giving an overdose of anaesthetic at a controlled time, to end a pet’s pain and suffering. It is also known as “putting an animal to sleep” or “putting an animal down”.
How do I know when it is time to say goodbye?
You know your pet best, so while we can guide and advise you about the best time to say goodbye, you see your pet every day, and can judge their quality of life. The time to say goodbye is when your pet is no longer enjoying their life and we know they are not going to get better. Please, speak to one of our registered nurses as they will be able to assess your pet’s quality of life through a small number of questions.
What should I do when I know that this time is coming?
We understand that it might be very hard for you to talk to us about it but please let us know. Our vets and nurses will be to explain the process to you especially if it is the first time that you have to euthanize one of your pets.
What happens when my pet is euthanized?
If you decide to put your pet to sleep, we may ask you to bring your pet to us at the end of one of our consultation periods; this ensures you are not caught up in the middle of a busy and noisy consultation period.
We have created a room dedicated to your pet’s last journey. A quiet and calm room situated away from the reception area and waiting rooms which has separate access to outside. We totally understand that some owners wish to be with their pet when they are put to sleep, whilst others find this emotionally too difficult. Either way, we will treat you and your pet with the utmost care and respect. Your vet will explain what they will do and what you should expect. They will also ask you whether you wish to hold your pet if you have decided to be present. Your pet may be sedated before being injected with the anaesthetic. The amount of anaesthetic given means your pet will quickly fall asleep and then pass away painlessly. When a pet is put to sleep there is often an automatic reflex by the body, this is where the pet seems to “take a breath” after the pet has passed away. This can be a little disconcerting if you are not aware that it may happen and why.
What happens to my pet after euthanasia?
You have the choices of either taking your pet home to bury, arranging a cremation with a pet crematorium yourself, or you can leave your pet with us to make all the cremation arrangements on your behalf – most owners decide the latter. If you decide on cremation, your pet’s body will be placed into cold storage until the crematorium collect’s them. You can either choose a communal cremation (where you don’t get any of your pet’s ashes back) or an individual cremation, where your pet’s ashes will be returned to you. For more information about the crematorium, please look here (https://www.pcsonline.org.uk).
We hope that the information on this page will help to reduce the distress of this time, by preparing you and answering many common questions. If you are struggling with grief at the loss of a pet, there are several organizations which can help with grief counselling such as the Blue Cross Pet Bereavement Support.