There are several options available for your pet and your Veterinary team can discuss these with you and give you an idea of costs involved.
- Communal Cremation where you leave your pet with us to be cremated with other pets. In this type of cremation no ashes will be returned to you. For the majority of our clients this is the most appropriate form of closure for them.
- Individual Cremation involves a private individual cremation for your pet at our nominated crematorium company, Pet Cremation Services (PCS). Your pet's ashes will then be returned to you in either a sealed casket of your choice or a scatter box for you and your family to scatter their ashes in a location of your choice. Our team can give you more information at the practice on PCS or please visit their website.
- 'Taking them home' – you can also take your pet home for burial but please bear in mind this may not always be practical. We can provide coffins for home burial. Please ask any of our team
- Some surgeries also have a local pet cemetery company that will arrange everything from collecting your pet from the vet, preparing a grave and performing the burial. Our practice team will be able to give you further information.
When will I need to decide?
We would encourage you and your family to discuss these options before your pet is put to sleep and let your vet know, we will keep a note of your wishes with pet’s notes. However, in some cases the euthanasia may have occurred after an accident and you will need more time to make this decision, it is possible for us to keep your pet for a short time afterwards to give you and your family time to reflect before making a decision.
Coping with the loss
Everyone deals with grief in different ways. When grieving for a much loved pet you or other members of your family may experience a range of emotions from shock, denial, disbelief and very often guilt. Should you wish to talk to anyone at your veterinary surgery we can offer support and advice.
If after reading these pages there are still facts you would like to know we will be more than happy to help with these. Please contact us at the surgery.
The following organisations can provide further help and support:
The Ralph Site
The Blue Cross also offer a bereavement support line if you would like to talk to someone. The number is 0800 0966606.
The sites above also offer special books that have been written to help your children understand the loss of their pets.
Our pets are members of the family, each with their unique personality and place in our lives. Losing them is never easy and in many cases unexpected, leaving us feeling sad and alone. Unfortunately we often have to make the difficult decision on their behalf and this leads to conflict with the love and trust we share with them. Feeling a sense of guilt or betrayal is normal, especially if they do not appear to be in obvious distress or discomfort at the time. Many medical conditions lead to discomfort that can be subtle and difficult to detect, as your pet has good days and bad days, unable to communicate clearly about the problem. Euthanasia is a final act of kindness, a chance to prevent suffering at the end.
Knowing when the time has come is not always straightforward, but always comes down to quality of life. We recommend you come in and talk through the options with us. There may be treatment you were unaware of or we may be able to manage any discomfort for a time. Whatever the decision we are here to help.
The procedure (euthanasia) itself is painless and quick, feeling no more than a small scratch from a needle and seconds later as the injection takes effect, a deep sleep from which they do not wake. This can be done at the surgery or at home.
If you need some support during this difficult time, there are people who can listen and help us through the grieving process.
Pet memorials can be a helpful and comforting way of remembering and commemorating the life of your pet. A memorial to your pet will serve as a lasting testament to the unique bond you shared. We encourage you to create an online pet memorial page for your sadly missed pet, where you can write and share happy memories alongside a picture of them. It allows us to look back and remember in the years to come. You can email a photo and memorial to us and we will add it to our memorial page or you can create one here.