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Euthanasia is one of the hardest things that you may have to do for your pet through its life for you. But it is the kindest thing that you can do for a pet that is suffering, or that no longer has the quality of life that you know that they are used to and the quality of life they deserve. It is a nice thing that we can do for our pets to stop them from having to live through the humiliation and the pain that can come at the end of a pet's life. When you consider putting your pet to sleep, it is a good idea to have a chat to your local vet, or your vet nurse, about what to expect. So what may happen? What is expected of you? Do you have to stay with them? Do you have to pay in advance? Do you have to make a decision about your pet after the process? All of these things are better to have a think about what you might want to do before the day comes. When an animal is brought in to us to be put sleep, we would normally discuss with the owner about whether they want to stay in the room. There is certainly not essential for them to stay in the room if they would rather not be with their pets, then that is absolutely fine.

With some pets, if they are stressed or anxious about being at the vet's, we would normally give them sedation. And what this does is just makes your pet go to sleep, makes them very calm and makes the process of the euthanasia a lot less stressful for you and for your pet. When it comes to the euthanasia, normally a patch of fur will be clipped up from one of your pet's legs, maybe a front leg, it may be a back leg. For example, if your pet has really bad arthritis in a front leg, it might be that actually, the back leg is better to use for your pet to save them any further pain. We will then give them an injection which will be an overdose of an anaesthetic and what this does is go straight to the heart, stops the heart and they will go to sleep. After euthanasia, there are options as to what you may want to do with your pet's body. You are allowed to take your pet home and bury it if it is your own property and your own land, that is okay to do that. The alternatives would be, to leave your pet with your vet or to take them to a local crematorium. If you leave your pet with the vet's, the vet will organize for your pet to go to the local crematorium. And here, you can either have what is called a communal or an individual cremation. The individual cremation is where the ashes of your pet would be returned to you to keep at home.

A communal cremation would be where the ashes of your pet would be scattered over a garden or a place of peace around where the crematorium is. When it comes to payments for euthanasia, again, this is something to discuss with your vet practice. By all means, if you want to pay in advance so that you do not have to wait around after your pet has been put to sleep, most veterinary practices will accommodate that. Equally, if it is too stressful or too awkward for your pet to come into the vet's to be put to sleep, most practices will provide a service where a vet will come out to your house to euthanise your pet.

As a vet, sadly, I have put many animals to sleep. And as a pet owner, I have had to put my own animals to sleep as well. I think having the first-hand experience of putting to sleep your own pet is, it is not a good thing, but it helps to understand when you are putting other pets to sleep. Euthanasia, for me, is always a difficult consultation, you always know that it is coming. But what I would say is, that I always feel quite relieved when I see an animal come in who is evidently in pain or is suffering, maybe has not eaten. And especially, if I know that animal from treating it for several years before, it has to be put to sleep and I know the character of that pet, that animal. And when they come in, they are just not themselves, I know that it is the right thing to do. And I think owners will obviously know that it is the right thing to do for them as well because you know your pet better than anybody else does. And if you feel that the time has come where their quality of life just is not right for them, then it is the right thing to do. Although it is very, very hard and very, very sad, I would say in a majority of cases, myself and the owners, after a few days at least, will always think back and realize that actually, it was the kindest thing to do for their pet.