Losing your pet
Saying goodbye is the most difficult part of owning a pet. It’s something that many of us have been through, perhaps more than once.
On this page we’ve set out as much information as possible for when that time comes. If there’s something we haven’t covered, or you’d like to chat about it over the phone, please do call us on 01525 373329.
Some pets pass away at home quietly and peacefully by themselves. For many though some help may be needed for them to pass away with dignity and minimal suffering. Euthanasia or ‘putting to sleep’ can be the last good deed we can do for our pets and whilst is always a tough decision, when it is done with love and on the advice of your vet , it will always be the right one.
What is ‘euthanasia’?
Euthanasia or ‘putting to sleep’ is the process of giving a pet an overdose of anaesthetic for humane reasons. Pets are anaesthetised rapidly and are completely unconscious before their heart and breathing eventually stop.
Does it hurt?
It is painless and usually quiet and dignified.
How quickly will my pet go?
Pets fall asleep very quickly, usually within a few seconds and are unconscious after that. Their heart and breathing stop very soon after – your Vet will check to reassure you that this has happened. Like humans, pet’s eyes do stay open after death and in the first few minutes there can be an occasional reflex movement – this is perfectly normal.
My pet is very anxious and I’m worried they’ll be scared
Sometimes we give a pet some sedation to gently calm them down and make them very sleepy beforehand. This is usually by giving an injection into the scruff and then waiting. It can take anywhere from a few minutes to half an hour to work. If you’d like to discuss this please mention it to your Vet or nurse.
Can I have my pet euthanased at home?
Yes, usually this is something we can arrange. It helps to have as much notice as possible so that we can organise the two members of staff who will come out. Visits are usually planned for the middle of the day Monday to Friday. In an emergency you may need to bring your pet to us or the emergency service to be euthanased.
What happens to my pet afterwards?
After your pet has gone there are a number of options.
- Home burial. We suggest your burial site is a at least 3 feet deep.
- Individual Cremation. We can arrange for your pet to be cremated by themselves and their ashes returned to you in a scatterbox, urn or other memorial. For a full list of memorial options have a look here at the Pet Cremation Services Website.
It takes a few weeks for the ashes to come back and there is an extra charge for Individual Cremation depending on the type of memorial.
- Communal Cremation – your pet is cremated with other pets and their ashes are not returned to you.
I’ve had my pet euthanased but I’m not sure what to do with him/her yet?
Sometimes it’s just too difficult to make that decision on the day. That’s fine, you can let us know a day or so later if it’s easier.
Is there anything I can bring or do to help?
We suggest bringing your pet’s favourite food treats , chocolate biscuits or anything that will make their visit easier. We have treats here too as well as soft blankets to sit on.
I’m really struggling – I miss my pet so much
Pets are part of our family. It’s normal to be really upset by the loss of your pet, and it can help to talk to friends and relations about how you are feeling. There are also organisations that can help.:
The Pet Bereavement Support Service 0800 096 6606
At Ark House we’ve all lost pets and all had our beloved pets euthanased so we understand. You can talk to us about planning for your pet’s goodbye by calling 01525 373329.