What happens when our pets come to the end of their lives is something none of us like to think about but sadly it is inevitable and it is best to be prepared in advance for how you will deal with it. It is possible that your pet will die peacefully at home but usually a decision has to made about when the time is right for euthanasia. The vet will be able to guide you to make the right decision. Below are the most common questions we are asked but please call us anytime if you wish to know more.
What is Euthanasia?
Euthanasia is the term used for humanely ending the life of an animal, usually by injection of an overdose of strong anaesthetic drugs. This is also sometimes called "putting to sleep". The process is pain-free and generally very peaceful. The injection is usually given into a vein in the front leg with the assistance of an experienced nurse and takes just a few seconds but occasionally the injection has to be given somewhere else, especially in very small animals, and may take a little longer. Very occasionally, if an animal is very stressed or difficult to handle, a sedative injection will be given first.
Should I have my pet put to sleep at home?
Pet owner's often request that their pet is euthanased at home and there are occasions when this may be more practical, such as with a large dog that is going to buried in the garden. It may seem that putting your pet to sleep at home will be better but in reality it is technically more difficult and can be more stressful as there is usually no-where suitable to perform the procedure and experienced assistance is not always available. We will however consider requests for euthanasia at home and will be happy to do this if it is possible.
What happens after my pet has been put to sleep?
This can be a very difficult time and maybe the last thing you've thought about so again it is best to have decided what you want to do in advance, if at all possible. It is perfectly acceptable to bury your pet at home and many people prefer this option. However, the majority of pet owners request cremation. There are then a couple of choices. In order to keep cost down you can opt for your pet to be cremated with other animals. A token of the ashes of pets that have been cremated this way is kept in a memorial at the crematorium that you can visit.
Alternatively you may opt for an individual cremation with the return of your pet's ashes. This costs more and charges also depend on the style of casket you choose. Whichever method of cremation you prefer you can be assured that your pet's body is handled sensitively and with dignity throughout the whole process and we will make all the arrangements for you. We use Cambridge Pet Crematorium (CPC) for all of the cremations that we arrange. If you wish, for a small extra charge, you can attend the cremation and CPC will even arrange a short commemorative service. You can follow the hyper-links or come into the surgery for a leaflet about CPC. There are also a few pet graveyards and although we do not deal directly with these we will usually be able to give you guidance but you will need to make your own arrangements.
When it's all over
Having a loved pet put to sleep is never easy and we all have our ways of dealing with grief. Sometimes we don't know how we'll be until the time comes. At St Martin's Veterinary Clinic we will allow you as much time as you need to spend with your pet after he or she has been put to sleep and have a quiet room you can go to to gather your thoughts until you feel ready to leave. We have a memorial album where many pet owners like to put a picture of their pet with a few words of remembrance. We are always happy to talk with you before and afterwards to help you come to terms with your loss.
St Martins Veterinary Clinic
126 Station Road
Tel.: 01895 444400
Fax: 01895 431520
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