Saying Goodbye

Our friendly and experienced veterinary surgeons are always happy to see you and your pets. All our consultations are 15 minutes or longer which gives the veterinary surgeon time to get to the route of any problems and create a plan for ongoing care and treatment.

We have four purpose-built consulting rooms each kitted out with everything the vet needs for examination. Why not take a look at our online tour to have a look around.

Saying Goodbye

Saying goodbye to an ill or elderly pet is a heart breaking time for anyone. The human- pet bond is very special and it is completely understandable to feel extremely upset when it comes to discussing and arranging euthanasia. As pet owners ourselves we know how difficult it can be and will do everything in our power to make things as simple as possible.

Euthanasia quite literally means a ‘good/ easy-death’. As vets we have the privilege of being able to prevent the unnecessary suffering of animals under our care by means of euthanasia. Clearly making the decision to have your animal put to sleep is a difficult one and can often involve feelings of guilt. This is completely natural, however, you should always keep in mind that euthanasia is a kinder option than extending suffering which cannot be alleviated.

When is the right time?

When making the decision we would encourage you to consider your pet’s quality of life- are they still enjoying their favourite things? Are there more good days than bad? Animals live firmly in the present moment and aren’t able to find comfort in old memories or the hope that things might get better in the same way as humans. Another question to ask yourself is; are you putting off euthanasia because your pet still has a good quality of life or because you don’t want to deal with the emotional upset? If you have concerns about your pet’s quality of life make an appointment with one of our vets who will be happy to examine your animal and to help you come to a decision.

If you know it is the right time to say goodbye to your pet, there are some things it can be helpful for you to consider before you make the appointment;

  • Is there a particular vet or nurse that you would like to carry out the euthanasia or be there with you?
  • Do you know yet what you will want to do with your pet’s body? (see After life care /pet cremation).
  • Will your children accompany you to the appointment?
  • Is a friend or relative available to come with you?
  • Would you prefer to wait in the car until called in?
  • How and when will you settle your vet bill for the euthanasia? If you would prefer we are happy to arrange for you to settle the bill beforehand so there is less to worry about on the day.

When you call let the reception team know that the appointment is for a put to sleep (another name for euthanasia). Our euthanasia appointments are at least 30 minutes long and where at all possible we will try and arrange a time when the waiting room is quieter. We are also able to do home visits however these will need to be coordinated with the practice. Please let us know if this is something you would like.

On the day

Once you arrive let reception know you are here but feel free to wait in the car if you prefer, the vet will come to get you when it is time. If we haven’t seen your pet before the vet will want to examine them before carrying out the euthanasia to make sure than euthanasia is appropriate. If we have seen your animal recently this may not be necessary.  We will then ask you to sign a consent form which will also ask you what you wish to do with your pet’s body after euthanasia, see below for details.

For cats and dogs the vet will then take your animal out the back to place an intravenous catheter. This is minimally uncomfortable and well tolerated by most animals. If your pet is very distressed it may be necessary to provide a light sedation before placing the catheter to help them relax. Once the catheter has been placed the vet along with a nurse will bring your pet back to the consult room. It is up to you if you would like to be with your animal when it is put to sleep but if you feel you are able it can be helpful to reassure your pet as well as providing closure for you. When you are ready the vet will give the injection which is simply an overdose of anaesthetic. Your pet will begin to feel sleepy and drift off to sleep before their heart stops beating. It is entirely normal for your pet to take a very deep breath, move, urinate or defecate as they pass away. This is just the body shutting down, your pet is no longer aware of these movements although they can seem alarming.

After life care/ Pet Cremation

When your pet dies or is put to sleep you will have three options for what you wish to happen to their body:

  • Take home for burial– If you have space in the garden to bury your pet we recommend than the grave is at least 1.25m deep (taking care to avoid cables and water courses). Also ensure that your pet is wrapped or buried in something that will bio-degrade. Special caskets are available or else a blanket or towel will suffice. If you would prefer your pet to be buried rather than cremated but don’t have room in your garden you may want to look into burial at a pet cemetery.
  • Leave your pet with us for a communal cremation– Your pet will be cremated alongside other pets with the utmost respect, you will not get back the ashes of your pet.
  • Leave your pet with us for private cremation– Your pet will be individually cremated and the ashes returned to you in a casket of your choosing.

Coping with grief

Coming to terms with the loss of a pet takes time and we understand how difficult it can be. The website Compassion Understood  has very good support and guidance on dealing with the loss of a pet but also about preparing for goodbye. We would strongly recommend having a look at their site if you are thinking of/ have had an animal put to sleep. If you would like to talk to someone the Blue Cross also have a pet bereavement helpline or call on 0800 096 6606. As pet owners ourselves we understand how you may be feeling and are very happy to help where we can.