Pet Euthanasia

Deciding to put a pet down is a heart-breaking time for any owner.

Find out what pet euthanasia means and what to expect.

Putting my pet to sleep

Making the emotional decision to put a pet down is something that no owner wants to face. It can be one of the toughest moments in any owner’s life, and it’s completely normal to have conflicting feelings about what to do.

Pet euthanasia is often the most humane option for pets who are extremely ill or severely injured. It’s important to remember that, while it will be incredibly difficult, it’s often the kindest choice for your pet.

Your caring vet team will always be there to help you make the decision and support you every step of the way.

What happens when a pet is euthanised?

The process of pet euthanasia is quick and painless and usually done in practice. You can choose whether you’d like to be present during the procedure, but this decision is completely up to you. Many owners feel unable to watch, while others take comfort in knowing that it was a calm, gentle moment.

The process usually involves an injection that causes your pet to fall unconscious within a few seconds, as if entering a deep sleep, experiencing no pain or suffering. Their breathing will slow down and come to a stop. Typically, a peaceful death occurs within 30 seconds.

You’ll then have the opportunity to spend time alone with your pet afterwards if you want to; feel free to stay as short or as long as you like. The team will be able to support you through any aftercare decisions.

Will I get a chance to say goodbye?

Saying goodbye is often an important part of the process and can help give you emotional closure. Every effort will be made to enable you to do this.

In most cases, you’ll have the opportunity to spend their last day together or, if your pet is already hospitalised, you can ask to visit them to say your goodbyes. If your pet is under anaesthetic, it may be kinder to agree to euthanasia without waking them.

Grieving for your pet

Losing a pet is incredibly difficult for any owner and their family. It’s important to remember that everyone handles the emotions differently, and there’s no right or wrong way to grieve. The grieving process can’t be forced or hurried, so be patient and allow yourself to let go naturally.

There’s plenty of help available for recently bereaved pet owners. Whether it's an online support group, dedicated helplines or a caring member of your vet team, don’t be afraid to speak to someone to help ease the situation.

Take a look at our Coping with the loss of your pet advice for suggestions that may help you during this emotional time.

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