Time To Say Goodbye

Talk things over with Time to Say Goodbye

Pets do not live as long as humans. Thinking about euthanasia (literally, a 'gentle and easy death') is something that no pet owner likes to dwell on, but sadly it is a decision that many pet owners eventually have to make.

Always discuss pain or old age problems with us at the surgery and do not be afraid to visit us sooner rather than later. Many signs of 'old age' can be relieved and pain and suffering  minimised.

Pets do not necessarily show pain by crying, and asessment can be difficult as animals tend to adapt their behaviour to cope. Your pet could be in pain if there has been a change in behaviour, a loss of appetite or a reluctance to play or move around. It may also be a sign of pain if the animal cannot get comfortable, seems tense or withdrawn or has lost enthusiasm for life. Always discuss these symptoms with us as these signs can also be caused by problems other than pain.

Arriving at a decision

the vet, family and friends.

Things to consider are:

  • can your pet still eat, drink, sleep and move around reasonably comfortably?
  • does he or she respond to your presence?
  • does feeding time attract interest?

Persistent and incurable inability to eat, vomiting, signs of pain, distress or discomfort, or difficulty breathing are all indications that euthanasia should be considered.

What happens?

Euthanasia is performed by an injection of an overdose of a strong barbiturate into a vein, usually in the animal's foreleg. The vet may be assisted in this by a nurse who will gently hold the pet. This injection causes loss of consciousness, the heart and breathing stop and death occurs.

After death some reflexes may occur such as sudden gasps, muscle trembling and loss of bladder and bowel control. It is important to be aware that this may happen as although your pet has passed away by this stage, it can be distressing to see.

It is up to you and your family to decide whether you wish to stay with your pet as euthanasia is carried out. It is an entirely personal decision and some people prefer to spend some time to say goodbye afterwards instead.

Most pets are euthanased at the surgery and once a decision has been made you may wish to make an appointment for the beginning, or end, of surgery hours so that you do not have to wait in a crowded waiting room. The vets and nurses at this practice are very experienced so please do not be embarrassed to show your feelings.

The final resting place

It is up to you to whether you would like to have your pet buried or cremated after death.

The surgery can arrange cremation which is done at Leyland Pet Crematorium. If you wish you can arrange to have your pet cremated individually with their ashes being returned to you for either scattering or burying, or in a wooden casket for you to keep.

There is also a Memorial Garden and Garden of Remembrance. A leaflet is available on request from our surgery, or visit www.petcrematorium.co.uk.

Moving on

Be prepared for the house to feel empty on your return. Other pets may notice the loss and respond to it. They may be unsettled and lose their appetite for one or two days.

A new pet may help to fill the gap left behind, but remember that no two animals are the same and he or she will have a different personality  rather than be a substitute for the much loved individual. Allow enough time before replacing him. Everyone is different and when you feel ready for another pet then you will find the relationship rewarding and the new pet a worthy successor.

See also our 'Coping with the Loss' and 'Comforting Words' pages.

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