Saying Goodbye to Your Pet

Preparing to say goodbye to your pet

This is a very difficult time in a pet owners life and a decision which takes a significant amount of consideration. It is very important that one feels at ease with their decision to have a pet euthanised and are able to express themselves fully with the veterinarian about any concerns that they my have. Veterinarians are very aware of the strong bond that owners form with their pets and their aim is to always make the process as peaceful and comfortable for both the pet and owner as possible.

When is the right time?

This is understandably a very difficult decision as our pets are unable to communicate with us and tell us exactly how they are feeling, which often leads to feelings of guilt and stress. However, it is the responsibility of the pet owner to understand when the quality of life of their pet is deteriorating. Certain signs may include loss of appetite and reduced water intake, lethargy and inability to exercise. Many animals also become quiet and withdrawn. Abnormal toileting habits may also develop. Injury and illness can also be reasons for considering euthanasia. It is very important to speak with your vet so that all of the options can be considered and the correct decision can be made prevent further pain or unnecessary suffering.

Staying with your pet

This is a very personal choice and one which can be discussed with the vet.

What to expect

The first decision that many people have to make it ready to have their pet euthanised at home or at the veterinary practice. Again this is a personal and individual decision and one that should be made with following discussions with both the family and vet.

You will be asked to sign a consent form which given permission for euthanasia. The majority of euthanasia’s are carried out with both a veterinarian and the assistance of a nurse.

The vet will clip a small patch of hair on your pets front leg and gently administer an injection into the vein. A vein may sometimes be difficult to access, especially in geriatric and ill patients, in these cases the vet may decide to sedate your pet first and then administer an injection elsewhere in the body. Some animals who may be anxious or aggressive in nature may also require sedation. At all times your pets comfort will be of utmost importance. Following the administration of the injection your pet will lose consciousness quickly and their breathing and heart will stop.

The vet will check that your pet’s heart has stopped beating. It is normal for a pet’s eyes to remain open and there may be a small amount of muscle twitching afterwards. In cats and dogs it is not unusual for them to take an involuntary breath shortly after the time of death.

Small cage pets

Small pets such as hamsters, guinea pigs and rats often require an anaesthetic gas first so that they are asleep before they are injected.

Home burial or cremation

Some owners will decide to bury at home and other decide to have their pet cremated. Your pet will always be treated with care and respect at all times if you opt for cremation. Pets can be cremated communally or individually. If a pet is cremated individually you can have the ashes returned in either a casket to keep or in a scatter tube. A pets ashes cannot be returned if they are cremated communally.

Euthanasia is very significant time in any household and affects people in many different ways. It is very important that people have someone to speak with to discuss how they are feeling so that they can grief properly. The Blue Cross have a Pet Bereavement Service which can be contacted by phone 01993867216 or by email:

If you have any further questions about euthanasia after reading this information please do not hesitate to contact the clinic to speak with vet or a nurse.