When Should We Euthanase?

It's your responsibility to make a decision about when to euthanase. This might be one of the most difficult decisions that you ever have to make. For some animals, it may be obvious that they are suffering. However, when it is your own pet, and their health has declined very slowly over a long period of time, it can be difficult to remember what a 'good quality of life' is for them. Aside from obvious signs such as pain, lethargy or refusing to eat or drink, there are more subtle signs to look for. This Quality of Life Scale can help you work out how your pet is feeling.

Make a list of three things your pet likes to do...

If you are still unsure about whether it's time or not, it can be helpful to make a list of three things that your pet likes to do. These can be as simple as going for walks along the beach, playing with you, or sneaking treats from you under the table. If your pet stops one of them you are getting close. If they stop two, you need to do something. Either seek palliative veterinary care to improve their quality of life or talk with your family about euthanasia. I'm here to help you with this decision so please contact me if you need to.

I understand how hard this decision is for you. I believe that providing a peaceful and comfortable death for your loved one is a selfless act. Euthanasia is a beautiful way to honour your pet's life, and they will be thankful that you didn't let them suffer.

The Appointment

After initial greetings, we will discuss the procedure and go over the necessary paperwork. When you and your pet are ready, I will give your pet a sedation. This will be a small needle given under the skin. You can give your pet lots of love and cuddles while they fall asleep within about 15 minutes. Once asleep, I will place a catheter into one of the leg veins. When you are ready, I will proceed with the euthanasia. Your pet will pass away quickly and peacefully. Afterwards, I will fulfill any requests you have made for keepsakes eg. a clay paw print, a lock of hair/whisker etc. I will then help you with any arrangements that you have made for the aftercare of the body.

Prior to the sedation, I use a combination of essential oils, reiki and homeopathy to calm your pet and prepare them for the euthanasia.

Be Prepared

To ensure the appointment can run as smooth as possible for everyone, prepare answers to these questions in advance.

1. When: Choose a day and time that suits you and your family. Make sure you allow yourself some time afterwards to grieve. Organise some time off work if you need to.

2. Who: Who do you want to be there? Close family/friends, other pets, your children?

3. Where: Where would you like to say goodbye? Indoors or outside in the garden?

4. What: Do you have any special requests or prayers/poems that you would like to arrange to be read on the day? Would you like any trinkets eg. lock of hair, eyelashes, whiskers, a clay paw print?

5. Aftercare: What are your wishes for the body? Cremation or home-burial?

6. Grief: Have you thought about how you will be affected? Have you got enough support from family/friends? Will you require counselling? Please see Grief Support for more information.