Saying Goodbye To Your Pet

1st May 2023

Sometimes pets can suffer from untreatable pain or illness, and owners need to think about euthanasia (having a pet “put to sleep”). This is a very difficult decision to make but taking responsibility for a peaceful, pain-free death is often the kindest choice an owner can make at the end of their pet’s life.

How will I know when it is time?

Every case is different and it is important to take your time and talk to everyone who loves your pet. Common reasons for euthanasia include pain that cannot be controlled, poor mobility, breathing problems and conditions causing a lack of appetite or sickness. Never be afraid to ask your vet for advice – in many cases, treatment is available to alleviate these symptoms. If there are no treatment options, at least you can be reassured that you have tried everything to help your pet.

What happens during euthanasia?

Euthanasia is usually carried out by injecting an overdose of anaesthetic into a vein in your pet’s front leg. As the injection is given, the patient will experience a gradually increasing feeling of drowsiness and will then slip into a deep sleep. The vet continues to administer the injection after the pet has fallen asleep, and this stops the pet’s heart and breathing.

Where can euthanasia be carried out?

Euthanasia can be carried out at the veterinary surgery or at your home. Always tell the receptionist if you think that you might be bringing your pet for euthanasia. This means that you can be booked in at a quiet time of day.

What happens afterwards?

Some people take their pets home to bury them. Others choose to have their pets cremated, and may wish to have an individual cremation so that their pet’s ashes can be returned.

Veterinary staff know just how upsetting it is to lose a beloved pet. Look after yourself and arrange for time off work and to be with family or friends after saying goodbye. The Blue Cross operate a telephone support service for bereaved pet owners which is available on 0800 0966606.

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