When is the right time to say goodbye to your pet?
The decision about euthanasia of your pet should begin with a chat with your veterinary surgeon. Preferably a vet who has known you and your pet for some time. Sometimes, being removed from the situation can make things clearer. Also, it can be difficult for even the most watchful pet owners to interpret and understand their own pet’s behaviour during an illness. The main things to consider are:
1.Are they eating enough? Or are they eating at least a total of one meal every day? Do they still get excited about meal times?
2.Are they still interested in cuddles, games or walks with you? Have they become unresponsive? For example, only wanting to sleep all day and night.
3.Are they too weak or uncomfortable to be able to manage to walk outside to empty their bladder or get to the litter tray? Is walking a real struggle?
Home Euthanasia Service
What if my pet hates coming to the vets? Is it possible to put my pet to sleep at home?
We would always be happy to do a house visit for euthanasia if requested, and it is safe for us to do so. However, you would have to organise a suitable time for the vet and nurse to visit. Please call during normal working hours to organise this with our reception staff. We usually do home visits about 12pm on weekdays. On rare occasions, emergencies may occur suddenly, which would result in an unexpected delay. We know how important home visits are, and will make every effort to come at the time scheduled with the receptionist.
If you have a cat, then make sure every window, cat flap and door are securely closed, so they cannot run away when they hear the doorbell ring. Also, be prepared for them to dart under the bed, or behind the wardrobe as soon as unfamiliar visitors arrive. If possible, try to keep your cat in a room which they are accustomed to, with all the exits closed, and no hiding places.
What do I do if I am not coping?
Firstly, when you lose a beloved pet, it is not unusual to experience all the same feelings of loss associated with losing a loved human companion. Sometimes, the feelings of attachment are even deeper for a pet, especially a pet that has been with you a lot, or one that you have been caring for.
Secondly, there are bereavement councilling services that are available through your local GP. Also, please read the boxed text on the left, and the “Useful Websites” section below, which contain the details of many helpful organisations.
Agencies who give support and information
Animal Samaritans Pet Bereavement Service: 020 8303 1859, www.animalsamaritans.org.uk
Association of Private Pet Cemeteries and Crematoria: 01252 844478, www.appcc.org.uk
EASE Preparing for Pet Loss Support Programme: www.ease-animals.org.uk - Offers on-line support for anticipated pet loss.
Pet Bereavement Support Service: 0800 096 6606, www.bluecross.org.uk - Open every day 8.30am-8.30pm. Will put you in touch with your nearest telephone befriender.
SupportLine: firstname.lastname@example.org - Emotional support to children, young adults and adults on any issue. Also keep details of counsellors and support groups throughout the UK
A few questions about euthanasia...
QHow do I organise euthanasia for my pet?
The best thing to do is call us during normal working hours and ask for an appointment with one of the vets. Tell the receptionist that you are worried that your pet is nearing the end, and that you want to discuss this with the vet.
QI do not want to sit in the waiting room before the euthanasia, is there an alternative?
Try to book an appointment at a quiet time of the day (early afternoon, avoiding Friday evenings if possible). Also, try to book the first appointment of the consulting session. The receptionist you talk to should be able to help you with this. Alternatively, ask for a home visit. See left of page.
QCan I stay with my pet when the euthanasia occurs?
We are happy for you to stay with your pet during the euthanasia, and for as long as you need to afterwards as well. If you prefer to not be present, then we will make sure your pet is comforted and treated gently throughout.
QDoes the injection cause pain?
The injection is not a stingy one. The needle is only a tiny prick sensation, and the actual injection does not sting. It may cause a mild tingly or cool sensation, but it does not hurt. We need to clip some hair away from the frontleg to introduce this injection into the vein. For animals that are anxious at the vets, a sedative can be given. Sedatives usually take about 15-30 minutes to work fully. For animals that are jumpy with needles, a topical anaethetic can also be applied to the skin, though this takes 30 minutes to numb the skin. The injection is an anaesthetic. So, the sensation will feel exactly as a person feels when they have an anaesthetic. In essence, the anaesthetic injection makes the pet fall asleep, and then fall deeply asleep, and because we give a very high dose of anasethetic, the pet eventually passes away peacefully.
QWhat happens to the body of my pet afterwards?
You have several options. We often use “Silvermere Pet Cemetery and Crematorium” to transport the deceased pets to their cremation facilities. They are based in rural Cobham, Surrey, and they are pet lovers themselves. Communal cremation can be requested, though some people prefer individual cremation, for which there is an extra charge. If you wish, you can have your pet’s ashes returned to you in a small wooden casket with name plaque or a very basic plastic scatter container; the costs are the same. If you plan to keep the ashes, then there is also the option to have a casket with paw prints on the top, or a sleeping cat urn. You can get more information from Silvermere or ask one of our staff.