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Losing your pet


The hardest part of owning a pet

Owning a pet is one of the most wonderful experiences and one you will cherish forever. Those beautiful memories will last a lifetime … bringing your new pet home, that first kitten cry, those first few walks out on the lead, learning to sit, those endless cuddles, that purr, the excitement when you get home from work.

Sadly though, there comes the time when we have to say our goodbyes – pet loss is close to all our hearts so we know how important it is to have someone supporting you during this sad and difficult time. We are here to do things in the most dignified and caring way that we can for you and your pet.

When it’s time

There may well be many factors playing a part in the decision and talking these through with your family, friends and us here at Vetsmiths will help. Our vets, Chris, Lorna and Martha will be able to help you assess your pet’s quality of life – are they in pain, have they stopped eating, or are they showing any changes in behaviour like reluctance to getting up or not playing anymore?

Sometimes, putting a pet to sleep (also called euthanasia) is the best course of action to avoid unnecessary pain and suffering for longer than is necessary.  We can help you decide when the time is right and what’s best for you and your pet.

If you feel the time has come to say goodbye, or if you would like our guidance and support, please book an appointment and we will do our best to help during this difficult time. Talking about your grief helps to initiate the healing process and reduce the pain and guilt often felt after the loss of a pet – we’re always here to help with that with a cup of tea and a hug if that’s what’s needed.


What to expect

We will ask you to sign a consent form giving us permission to put your pet to sleep.

Owners are sometimes surprised at how peaceful euthanasia can be.  This involves one of our vets injecting an overdose of anaesthetic into the vein of your pet’s front leg. In most cases, we will have previously inserted a catheter into the vein or sedated your pet if they are particularly nervous or uncomfortable.

After the anaesthetic has been injected, your pet’s heart will stop beating and they will gently slip away.


Should I stay with my pet?

This is entirely up to you.  It’s a very personal decision and only you will know how you feel about being there until the end. 

Some people find that staying with their pet helps them to come to terms with the loss, whereas for others it’s too distressing.  Please don’t ever feel guilty if you decide not to be there, this can be a very upsetting time for all concerned and we fully support whatever decision you make.


Cremation or burial

We will always talk to you about the options open to you prior to putting your pet to sleep.

You can choose to have your pet cremated at a specialist pet crematorium.  We partner with Pet Cremation Services and have personally visited their site in Dorset.  We know the care that is taken to ensure your pet is treated respectfully and in a dignified manner at all times.

This can either be alongside other pets, or individually.  If your pet is cremated on his/her own, the ashes will be carefully collected and returned to you in a casket, scatter box or urn (chosen by yourself before-hand). We will take care of the process on your behalf to make it as painless as possible.

You can, if you wish, take your pet home to be buried, but it’s advisable to think about the practicalities.  We are happy to discuss this through with you.


Coping with the loss

We all deal with grief in different ways.  When grieving for a much-loved pet, you or other members of your family may experience a range of emotions from shock, denial, disbelief and sometimes guilt.  These are all perfectly normal reactions to have.

Please remember, we are always here to lend our professional and personal support.

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. Their number is 0800 0966606

These sites also offer special books that have been written to help your children understand the loss of their pet.

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We’ve made it easy for you to book appointments on-line with us. Head to the link below to book your appointment with us today and we’ll look forward to seeing you soon.

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