Euthanasia (Putting your pet to sleep)
Sadly pets do not live as long as humans and inevitably the time comes when we have to say goodbye, very few pets pass away peacefully in their sleep and euthanasia, often called 'putting to sleep', is the decision that many owners eventually have to make. Taking responsibility for a pain-free peaceful death is an act of kindness that an owner can choose for their pet.
How do I know when the time is right?
This is a question often asked by owners. You are the person who knows your pet best and in the majority of cases you will know when the time has come. It is a difficult and emotional time and it is best to be prepared if possible, we are always available to talk through each individual case, the options available and to guide you in making decisions.
Pets can not tell us how they feel but some things which may indicate a decrease in quality of life:
- lack of desire to play, have physical contact, enjoy walks
- loss of toileting behaviours and cleanliness
- withdrawn and quiet in demeanour
- loss of appetite (but some serious medical conditions can cause an increase in appetite and thirst)
You may choose to stay with your pet while it is put to sleep but you may not feel comfortable doing so, it is very much a personal choice.
Your pet will be given an injection of an overdose of anaesthetic into the vein of the front leg with anxious animals perhaps having a dose of sedative first.
The anaesthetic will cause your pet to fall into a deep sleep very quickly and they will be unaware of what is happening. The heart will then stop beating and your pet will peacefully pass away.
There may be some twitching of muscles, even a gasp and it is very common for your pet to empty its bladder but these are simply reflex actions after your pet has passed away.
Some owners choose to take their pet home after euthanasia but the majority leave them with us to be taken to the pet crematorium from where your pet's ashes can be returned to you after an individual cremation or the ashes can be interned in the garden of remembrance after a communal cremation with other pets.
If opting for an individual cremation you can choose to have your pet's ashes returned in a scatter box, urn or casket.
We can also provide you with an imprint of your pets paw print as a lasting momento.
Dealing with the loss of a pet.
It is important to allow yourself to greave for your much loved pet, after all most will have been a big part of life for many years. Share your feelings with friends and family. If you feel that you need added support it is available through the Pet Bereavement Service run by the Blue Cross.