It is heartbreaking when a beloved pet has to be put to sleep.
This is a tough subject, but one that vets deal with every day, so don’t be afraid to ask your vet any questions at all – they will be more than happy to take time to answer any questions you have. If your pet is going to be euthanised, it can be comforting to know what to expect.
This page explains what typically happens at a euthanasia appointment, although the following procedures may differ slightly.
Before the appointment:
Euthanasia can be carried out in the practice or as a home visit. If you would prefer to have a home visit, please let us know a few days in advance.
If you are coming to the practice, you may find it more suitable to book an appointment at a quieter time of day.
Before you arrive, think about afterwards. Some people choose to take the body home, others prefer cremation, but this is a personal choice which should be considered ahead of the procedure.
When you take your pet to the vet, try to make them as comfortable as possible – it can help to bring their bed or favourite toy.
The next steps talk about what happens during and after the appointment, although it may be a difficult experience for you, these steps ideally need to be planned beforehand.
When you get here:
We will show you straight through to the consultation room so you don’t have to wait in reception – we will ensure the room is as comfortable as possible for your pet. A candle will be lit in reception with a note saying ‘If this candle is lit, someone is saying goodbye to their beloved pet. We ask that you speak softly during this difficult time.’
You will be able to spend as much time as you need with your pet – you won’t be rushed or disturbed. As soon as you’re ready, an intravenous catheter will be placed into your pet’s front leg. We can do this out of sight or in the same room – just let us know your preference.
We will then warn you that we are about to give an anaesthetic injection – feel free to hold your pet and comfort them during this time. It is important to note that the anaesthetic can take around 20 to 40 seconds to work.
During the procedure, one thing to be aware of is that your pet’s eyes don’t close and they may gasp, but at this point, you can be assured that they have passed away. Your pet won’t feel a thing – it is quick and completely painless.
The nurse will come in to remove the catheter and they can either leave or stay when this is done – let us know which you are most comfortable with. Again, take as much time as you need with your pet – you won’t be rushed or disturbed and the rooms are completely private.
After the procedure:
We will post a sympathy card out to you with a token memory and ‘forget me not’ seeds which you can plant in memory of your pet. Feel free to ask for anything you need – people often ask for their pet’s name tag or a snippet of hair to take home with them.
If you decide on a cremation, we will call you as soon as your pet’s ashes are ready. There’s no need to rush this – you will be able to collect them whenever you feel prepared.
Depending on whether you choose to take your pet home or have them cremated, there are different options for you:
- Scatter box: This biodegradable scatter tube is simple yet ideal to scatter your pet’s ashes in their favourite place.
- Casket: This is an elegantly handcrafted beech casket with a brass nameplate.
- Keepsake box: You can place a photo on the lid of this wooden casket to remember your pet. The ashes are held in elegant handmade paper inside the casket.
- Urn: This beautiful brass urn can be chosen in various finishes and comes complete with a velvet presentation box.
Whatever your decision, it’s best to plan in advance. Please ask your vet for prices.
Things you should keep in mind:
Don’t be afraid to have a conversation with your vet beforehand to discuss your main concerns – remember we can tailor the procedure so that it is completely bespoke for you.
Keep in mind that you don’t need to be in the room while the procedure is being carried out – if you would rather stay in the waiting room then make this clear to your vet.
Remember, it is a completely personal experience so feel free to make it your own.
For more useful advice and tips, take a look at our ‘Advice’ section. www.whitecrossvets.co.uk/advice