It is a very good idea to consider how and where you would like to say goodbye and how you would like to memorialise your pet before the final day, particularly with respect to cremation options. That way you don’t have to make any decisions on the day and you will be able to be fully in the moment with your best friend.
How will I know when it is time?
This is a very common question and one which can be very difficult to answer. When we have a pet we love and know very well, it can be hard to decide when their time has come, especially as animals are very good at hiding their pain and illness and, especially dogs, will try their best to please us and be happy for us, even when they are severely debilitated.
For pets with chronic (long term) illnesses, we recommend ‘Quality of Life’ scoring charts as a way of keeping an objective track of their condition. It can be so difficult when we love them so much to make clear decisions and these can be very helpful.
I’ve decided, what will happen?
Euthanasias can be performed either in the clinic or we can come out and visit you at home. There is an extra charge for home visits and these do have to be arranged around our vet’s commitments in the practice but we will do our very best to accommodate you.
The act of putting a pet to sleep is very peaceful and painless. If you would like to stay with them, you are very welcome. If you would prefer to say your goodbyes and leave, that is also completely fine. We understand this is a very upsetting and personal time and will support you in whatever decision you make. Rest assured, our staff will stay with your pet and cuddle them gently as they slip away.
The medication is an overdose of anaesthetic, so the feeling for your pet is exactly the same as going to sleep, they will know no different. In dogs and cats it is usually given via a vein in one of the legs. Sometimes our vets will place a catheter first, otherwise it is a simple needle prick. Apart from a small scratch, they will feel no pain at all.
Your pet is usually held by one of our nurses so we are able to access the veins but you can talk to them, cuddle them and hold their heads. They will know you are there with them. Occasionally in elderly cats we will inject into their kidney through the abdomen, this is also painless and means they don’t have to be restrained.
The medication works within a few seconds. Your pet will take a few big deep breaths and then slip away.
Will it hurt? Can you help?
For rabbits we will often inject via a vein in the ear, a very simple and painless process as it is in dogs and cats. For smaller pets like hamsters, guinea pigs and mice, we will usually anaesthatise them first with anaesthetic gas and then inject the medication. Unfortunately because of health and safety you can’t be with them at this stage but we will bring them back to you as soon as it is done, if you would like to be with them for their final moments.
What happens after they are gone?
It is possible for you to take your pet’s body home to bury if you wish. However, this is often only practical for smaller animals. You will need to check the council regulations for safe burial and normally the advice includes placing them at least three feet deep and not near any water courses.
The animals that we look after are cremated and they are cared for by Pet Cremation Services in Doncaster. We can arrange an individual cremation is you desire. In individual cremation your pet’s ashes are returned to you and there are various options for you to consider about how you would like their ashes returned.
If you opt for an individual cremation, you have a choice of how you would like their ashes returning. They can either be in a scatter tube or pouch, so you can scatter or bury them somewhere they loved, or in a sealed casket to keep forever. We can take you through the choices or have a look on the Pet Cremation Services website.
There are many other ways in which you can memorialise your pet. You can have their paw prints turned into jewellery, you can embed them into rings or even turn them into diamonds! And do not forget the simple things; pictures on the walls and the memories in your heart, these will never fade.
However, if you chose a standard cremation their ashes are scattered in a garden of remembrance at the crematorium.
It is also possible for you to arrange your own cremation if you wish, Pet Cremation Services have a Farewell Room where you can attend your pet’s cremation, or you can contact the company of your choice. It is best to have made these kinds of arrangements before the final day, but we are happy to look after your pet if you have not managed it. However, please be aware they may need to eb put into cold storage whilst arrangements are made.
What ever your decision we at croft understand that this is a destressing time and will be here to support you and your pet throughout this process.