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Should my pet be euthanased (put down)?

This will always be a very difficult decision, and can only be made by you, the owner. In order to make an informed decision, please discuss your pet’s condition with us beforehand.

A brief list of basic needs for pets is shown below. This should not be used as criteria to base your decision on – a pet may not have more than one of the below and euthanasia may still not be suitable.

  • To be free of uncontrollable pain, distress or discomfort
  • To be able to walk and balance
  • To be able to enjoy food and drink without pain or vomiting
  • To hold their head up when at rest
  • To breathe freely and without difficulty
  • To have the ability to see and hear

You may also find reading this article helpful.

What happens when a pet is euthanased?

Watching your pet be put down can be a very traumatic process, but is generally painless for the animal. We can explain the procedure beforehand as it may help you to deal with the death of your pet.

The procedure

We prepare a strong anaesthetic which is usually injected into the foreleg. The pet quickly slips into a deep sleep which prevents any nerve transmission, preventing thought, sensation and pain.

The pet will stop breathing after one or two minutes, and the heart will stop beating shortly afterwards. A few things may happen; your pet may give a gasp or two, the muscles may twitch or the bowel or bladder may be evacuated. All of this is reflex and doesn’t mean that your pet is alive or conscious.

We can assure you that there is no more humane or painless way to end the life of an animal.


We will give you some time with your pet if you need it. We will also discuss the disposal of your pet’s body – please consider what you would like to happen and don’t be afraid or embarrassed to talk about the options.

We take great care with the remains of your pet and you may be reassured that individuals are never experimented on, sold or passed on to laboratories.

Other information

More information can be found in this external article. Note that this may not describe the exact procedure we follow but may be useful.

Coping with Bereavement

We all suffer pain when we lose a loved companion. There is no wrong or right way to feel when your pet dies, all you can do is what feels right for you. It is normal to feel a mix of emotions, including shock, disbelief, numbness, anger, pain, sadness, guilt and grief. You may meet with people who will not understand the extent to which you are affected by the loss of your pet. You may find that it helps to speak to someone who has experienced the loss of a beloved pet. The Pet Bereavement Support Service, the Ralph Site and Animal Samaritans offer support and understanding.

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