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2017-08-29 20:49:23

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The end of a pet’s life is unfortunately inevitable. At Priory, as most of us pet owners ourselves, we fully understand how distressing this time can be. Whether it is anticipated or sudden, the loss and grief that surrounds the time to say goodbye can become overwhelming.

An empty windowsill, a collar and lead hanging in the hallway, the hairy blanket no longer slept on, are all sad reminders around the home of our loss.

We have found over the years that some preparation for this part, when possible, can ease the distress slightly. Both knowing what to expect from the process and also what options are available during and afterwards, can avoid rushing difficult decisions.

Making the decision for Euthanasia, or ‘Putting to sleep’

This part of the process can sometimes be the hardest. Many people ask ‘When will I know that the time is right?’

There is no easy answer to this question as it often depends on the situation, and yet we find most of the time people get it just right. Sometimes the progression of an illness or injury makes the decision more straightforward. If not though, some people set limits for treatment, some use markers of their much-loved pets personality and others will realise one day that their pet is no longer themselves and happy and comfortable. The most important key to the ‘right time’ is your pet’s quality of life. It can be reassuring to know that your vet will be on hand to guide you when you need it. We often try to think of euthanasia as the last act of kindness you can do for your pet, to ease any pain and suffering. Your last duty as their owner and friend to ease pain and suffering and to allow a dignified end to life.


Most of the time euthanasia is carried out at the surgery. However sometimes people prefer to organise for the vet and a nurse to visit your home, so that you and your pet can be in familiar surroundings whilst the procedure is carried out. This may be suitable if there is a large group of people wishing to be present, or indeed if you have other animals in the household that you wish to give a chance to say goodbye. This is particularly important with sibling pets that have grown up together and will also grieve the loss of their friend.

It is possible to schedule a home visit when appropriate, and this can be discussed with your vet or any member of our team.

The Process

When you and your pet are ready, the process will usually begin with shaving a small amount of hair from your pet’s leg, and placing a small catheter into the vein. This allows the injection to be carried out smoothly and quickly.

An injection is then given via the catheter, which is a large dose of potent anaesthetic. The effects will be as for any animal drifting off to sleep under an anaesthetic, however this will slow and eventually stop the heart.

Usually this whole process will be calm and peaceful and that is most certainly our aim. However, we understand that sometimes a pet may get distressed, or show signs of aggression, and at this point we may choose to give an initial sedative injection to reduce this before continuing with the process.

During the procedure, we always encourage you to stay with your pet if possible, to reassure them and talk to them in a familiar voice. It is of course ok though if you feel unable to do this. It is your decision and this is always respected.

During or just after the process, your pet may evacuate their bladder or bowels, and may also appear take a couple of ‘sighs’ or breaths. These are the body’s reflexes and the muscles within the body relaxing.

The vet will confirm with you that your pet’s heart has stopped.

What happens afterwards?

Whether at home or at the surgery, there are options to choose from in relation to how your pet is then handled.

Some people choose home burial. You may wish to seek advice on the best way to carry this out.

Communal cremation
Most commonly clients opt for cremation. This may be carried out as group cremation, where the cremains are scattered in the garden of remembrance at the pet cemetery. Your pets body is left in our care after euthanasia and we arrange transportation of your pet to the Pet crematorium for you.

Individual cremation
This cremation option is when your pet is cremated individually and the ashes of only your pet are returned to you in your chosen vessel. Ashes are delivered back to the surgery and you will be notified when they are ready for collection. Alternatively, you may collect them from the crematorium.

For vessel options please click here.

If you choose cremation for your pet you are most welcome to transport them directly to the Pet crematorium if you prefer. We use Surrey Pet Crematorium in Godstone. Their website below can provide further details and options.


There is a garden of remembrance and cemetery that is open all year round for people to visit. Somewhere quiet to sit, or to place a memorial to your pet.

A short service can also be performed at the crematorium for family to attend. More details can be found on their website or by contacting them directly.

There are many other small things that people like to do, but of course everybody is individual. Some may like to take a small clipping of their pet’s fur, or a paw print. Some like to send a toy or a section of a favourite blanket with their pet.


Euthanasia and cremation costs vary depending on your chosen options. A home visit for example carries an extra charge, and individual cremation will usually be more costly than communal cremation. We are more than happy to discuss the fees associated with these options prior to the procedure.

If you are struggling with the loss of your pet, support and advice can be found at The Ralph Site below


For professional veterinary consultation, call us today on 01737 242 190


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