Clockhouse Veterinary Hospital, Stroud 01453 752555
Clockhouse Vet Clinic, Nailsworth 01453 834930
Clockhouse Vets's home page
Clockhouse Veterinary Hospital, Stroud 01453 752555
Clockhouse Vet Clinic, Nailsworth 01453 834930

Time to Say Goodbye

We're here to help

Time to Say Goodbye

We're here to help

As a pet owner, probably the most difficult decision you will have to make is regarding ‘euthanasia.’ 

This word translates to ‘gentle death’. It is when death is induced humanely by an injection.

All the staff at Clockhouse Veterinary Hospital will support you in the decision making process and encourage you to explore all the options available, but ultimately it should be what you want.

You can be assured that ALL the staff at the practice and crematorium will treat your pet with care and dignity.

We hope that this section will help you prepare for dealing with euthanasia and be helpful in the long run.

When is it time?

Your pet’s welfare and quality of life are the foremost factors. You also need to consider what is best for you and your family.

Some questions that can be used to judge this are;

  • Is your pet eating?
  • Is your pet comfortable?
  • Does your pet still enjoy it's favourite activities?
  • What is your pet’s good day/bad day ratio?
  • Can your pet respond to you in the usual ways?
  • Is your pet terminally ill?
  • Is your pet critically injured?
  • Is the financial or emotional cost of treatment beyond your means?
  • Is your pet vicious/dangerous/unmanageable?
  • What is your Veterinary Surgeons opinion?

Should I be present?

As with everything in this decision making process, it is your preference. If you come into the surgery we have a ‘quiet room’ away from the waiting area where you can spend time with your pet both before and after euthanasia.

You can stay during the procedure. We can take your pet from you and you can see them afterwards, or not, we will do as you wish.

We encourage our clients that are bringing their pets to the surgery to arrange for someone to accompany them/drive them.

If you would like your pet to be euthanised at home during surgery hours we can arrange for a Veterinary Surgeon and Veterinary Nurse to visit, but we need time to arrange this so it isn’t always possible. Again, whether you want to stay or not is your decision.

We encourage clients that choose a home visit to have a friend or family member with them.

Should children be present?

We discourage children under the age of 9 to be present during the euthanasia. We encourage you to discuss the euthanasia with all members of the family. We discourage the words ‘putting to sleep’ to be used with children. We have literature available to help children that have lost a pet, please make us aware if you require this.

How do I say goodbye?

The act of saying goodbye is an important step in managing the natural and healthy feeling of grief, sorrow and sense of loss.

Once the decision of euthanasia has been made, you and your family members may want to say goodbye to your pet. A last evening with your pet at home or a last visit to your pet at the surgery may be appropriate. Family members who want to be alone with their pet should be allowed to do so, farewells are never easy.

Making the appointment and coming to the surgery

When you telephone the surgery to make the appointment, please tell our receptionists that it is for euthanasia. We will then be able to make sure that you have a longer appointment, outside of busy hours.

If you would like to spend time with your pet in the ‘quiet room’ before your appointment, please arrive early and let us know.

We encourage prepayment from you, at the time the consent form is signed, to prevent paying after in the reception area. This allows you to leave when you are ready.

How is it performed?

Euthanasia is performed by the Veterinary Surgeon administering a drug intravenously into the vein. We will place a catheter into your pets leg before the procedure is performed.

You will be able to hold your pet whilst the solution is administered if you wish. With some poorly and/or older animals it may take a short time to enter their veins as they are very delicate.

Sometimes it is necessary to administer a sedative to relax your pet before the solution is given.

Usually immediately to twelve seconds after the solution has been injected the pet may take deeper breaths, grow weaker, and lapse into a state of irreversible unconsciousness, and then pass on from there. The pet may take a few more deep breaths and stretch out.

The Veterinary Surgeon will listen to the pet’s chest for a heart beat and administer more solution if necessary.

The Veterinary Surgeon will let you know when the pet’s heart rate has stopped and has passed away. You may still see small tremors and what look like gasps as the body runs out of energy.

Sometimes the pet will pass urine and faeces, this happens due to the muscles relaxing. The pet’s eyes will stay open after death.

What happens after Euthanasia?

If your pet was insured you should inform the company.

  • We can put your pet into their bed, or wrap in their blanket for you. 
  • We can keep your pet’s body at the surgery in the morgue if you need a short time to decide what you would like to happen.
  • Communal cremation: You can choose to have a communal cremation where your pet will be cremated with other pets, whose owners have also chosen this option. This will mean that individual ashes cannot be returned. A portion of the ashes will be scattered onto the landscaped gardens of remembrance at the crematorium.

Individual cremation

  • On your request your pet can be cremated individually. This means that your pet will be cremated entirely by itself and all of the ashes will be returned. You can choose to have the ashes returned to you in either a biodegradable scatter tube for you to bury or scatter, or returned to you in your choice of casket for you to keep.

Pet Gifting Programme

  • The Veterinary Education Pet Gifting Programme is one way of ensuring that the loss of your pet helps sick animals in the future.
  • Improve International, one of the UK’s leading veterinary training companies, uses pets after they have been put to sleep to help qualified professionals perfect the latest techniques. By gifting your pets body to the programme, you can make a lasting contribution to the training of veterinary surgeons.
  • Once the teaching procedures have been completed, we will arrange for your pet to be individually cremated and their ashes returned to you, free of charge, as a thank you for your gift to the programme.
  • Alternatively, your pet can be communally cremated along with others and we will make a donation to charity. You can visit their website

Clockhouse Veterinary Hospital works with CPC, Tewkesbury. CPC was established in 1979 and provides a range of pet cremation services for bereaved pet owners with sensitivity and respect you can visit their website

Grief and grieving

Grief is the emotional response to loss.

After your pet has died it is normal to feel grief and sorrow. For some people grief can start when a terminal diagnosis has been given, this is called anticipatory grief.

There are many stages of grief but not everyone experiences them all or in the same order, grieving is a natural response to loss. It is important to take time with the process, not to feel guilty, and to remember the happy memories will remain with you.

Some emotions and feeling associated with loss are:

  • Denial
  • Self blame
  • Guilt
  • Anger
  • Sadness
  • Crying
  • Depression
  • Becoming more emotionally dependant
  • Insomnia
  • Tiredness
  • Agitation
  • Searching
  • Shock
  • Feeling alone
  • Acceptance

For some people spending some time with their pet after euthanasia can help. Some people may want to discuss their feelings with their doctor. It is advisable for teachers to be advised if children are experiencing the loss of a pet. Animals within the household can also experience grief for their lost companion animal. We welcome other pets visiting after your pet has passed to help them understand where their companion has gone.

We appreciate how people feel when faced with, and upon, losing their pet and encourage anyone to call the surgery or to make a free emotional support appointment to discuss any aspect. Discussions can be carried out over the telephone or face-to-face, as you wish.

The following organisations can provide further help and support:

The Ralph Site

The Blue Cross

The Blue Cross also offer a bereavement support line if you would like to talk to someone. The number is 0800 0966606. The sites above also offer special books that have been written to help your children understand the loss of their pets.