Time to say goodbye




A sad fact of pet ownership is that, when you take a pet into your life, eventually you are going to have to say goodbye.

The decision may also have to be yours as to when, whether this is due to old age infirmity or to disease.



A difficult and sad time

If you are facing this decision, this is not an easy time for you. The decision as to whether you should euthanase the pet, and especially when it should be euthanased, is one of the most difficult decisions that you are likely to face. You need to be prepared, too, for the depth of feelings evoked through this loss.The grieving that you will experience with the loss of your pet is not much different from that which you would experience with the loss of a fellow human being.

I know that many pet owners who face the euthanasia of their pets are embarrassed about the strength of their emotions at the time. They apologise to the attending veterinarian for weeping, crying or grieving and some try very hard to hide their feelings
from their veterinarian.

Please don’t feel embarrassed. Almost every pet owner facing this difficult decision is, at the very least, tearful – and that goes for men too. Your veterinarian will have helped many owners like you through this difficult time and, as veterinarians, we know how much that pet means to you. Don’t be surprised, too, if we ‘hardened vets’ shed a tear or two with you. It usually affects us just as much as it affects you.

How is a pet euthanased?

The euthanasia procedure is simple and is generally stress-free for your pet. The most usual method is by the injection of a very concentrated general anaesthetic specifically designed for euthanasia.

Once injected into the vein, the onset of death is very rapid – a matter of a few seconds. If you are with your pet at this time, be prepared for the fact that it is quick as many owners are taken by surprise. After the injection, your pet will be limp
and unresponsive, occasionally, but thankfully not often, muscle contractions occur, including movement of the jaw. While this does not look pleasant, the pet is feeling nothing at this time and has ‘passed on’.

After the event

After this is over, you have the choice of asking the veterinarian to care for your pet’s body or taking your pet home yourself. Be aware that council regulations may not permit you to bury your pet in your garden. Pet cemeteries and private pet
crematorium services exist and the latter will return the ashes to you if you wish.

Above all, remember everyone at Vet Cross is here to help you at this difficult time.