Taking care of our beloved pets comes with life changing positive moments, however, it also comes with potentially difficult choices towards the end of their lives.
Saying final goodbyes to our pets is one of the hardest things to do. At ICR Vets we are here to support you at the most difficult time, with staff trained in bereavement and vets and nurses to help in the decision making process.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about euthanasia.
Some answers which may help...
How do I know if it’s the right decision?
Assessing quality of life in pets is very tricky. Our pets cannot tell us how they feel and they often don’t show overt signs of discomfort. We recommend you have a consultation with your vet to determine the best way forward for your pet.
It is entirely natural to feel upset when your pet passes away. After all, your pet is a beloved family member. Do not be embarrassed about showing your emotions – veterinary staff expect you to be upset. It takes time to get over the loss of a loved one and, although reactions differ, very often a mixture of feelings – sadness, loneliness and anger – can follow.
Try not to feel guilty or blame yourself – the decision for euthanasia is taken with your pet’s interests at heart to avoid suffering. Some people find themselves questioning whether they did the right thing. It is normal to feel some doubt, though this will ease in time. We will always support you in doing the right thing for your pet.
How Is Euthanasia Performed?
The way we perform euthanasia depends very much on each individual patient. For dogs who are not stressed by procedures, a small patch of fur on the front leg will be clipped to enable an intravenous cannula to be placed. A nurse may assist the vet to do this. The vet will then inject an overdose of an anaesthetic, and your pet will fall asleep in a matter of seconds. They may twitch or take gasps once the injection is given – this is a reaction to the drug and they are not aware when this happens. The may also empty their bladder and/or bowels on passing.
For worried dogs, and many cats, it can be nicer for them to have a sedative injection prior to the placement of the intravenous cannula. This will be injected into a muscle in the rear end by the vet, who will then allow your pet 10-20 minutes to become drowsy before placing the cannula.
If you choose not to, or are unable to, be present for euthanasia, rest assured they will be loved and cuddled by our fantastic nurses throughout. Please do not feel guilty if you feel unable to stay.
For smaller animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs, we will usually allow them to fall asleep with some gas anaesthetic. This is so that they cannot feel the needle when injecting the final anaesthetic dose, as they are so tiny. Because of the gaseous anaesthetic it is sadly not safe for owners to be present for this procedure.
Is It Best In the Veterinary Practice or at my House?
This is entirely your choice. Some pets are more comfortable in their own homes, however the memory of them passing at home may be hard to have. Euthanasia at home may also be difficult if there are children or other pets in the house. If done at the clinic we have a compassionate team who will ensure privacy for you and your pet.
What Happens To My Pet Afterwards?
You are welcome to take your pet home to be buried but most owners choose to have their pet cremated. The standard cremation is a communal cremation where you do not get your pet's ashes back. If you wish to have your pet's ashes returned then this is something that we can arrange. There are several options you need to consider for ashes return but we can go through these with you at the time, or beforehand if you prefer.