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The Euthanasia Process

Euthanasia means ‘a good death’ and that is exactly what we strive for at Pawsitive Vet Care.

Euthanasia at home allows your pet to go on their final journey in a place where they feel safe and comfortable, with their family besides them.  It allows any other pets time to come to terms with the loss as well.

Dog and human sitting staring into distance

Preparation for Euthanasia

Cat paw on hand

Being prepared for what is going to happen in advance allows you to focus on your pet in their final moment and not be distracted by having to make lots of decisions.

It is worth thinking in advance about what you wish to happen to your pet’s body, whether you would like any hair clippings or pawprints taken from them and whether there are any particular things you wish to do for your pet before they make their final journey (e.g. a special meal, a walk, etc.).

Preparation also involves thinking about when is the right time to say goodbye.  Our quality of life questionnaire can help you with this decision, and a face-to-face or video consultation allows us to talk things through with you, go through the consent form and take payment in advance.

The Euthanasia Process

The vast majority of animals will benefit from sedation.  This is given as a small injection into the back of the neck, no more painful than a normal booster vaccination.  Cats will also get an anti-nausea medication as they can sometimes feel a bit sick, particularly if they have recently eaten.

The sedative takes between 5-15 minutes to have full effect and during this time we will stand back to allow them to feel as comfortable as possible and allow you to be close to your pet as they fall asleep.

Dog paw in hand

The final euthanasia injection is given once your pet is relaxed and sleepy.  They are still able to hear your voice at this point.

The final injection is usually given via a cannula in one of the veins in dogs and rabbits, or into one of the kidneys in cats.  Your pet will not normally feel this injection and will drift off to their final sleep.  Depending on their circulation, this can take a few seconds to a few minutes.

What can I expect as my pet passes?

As your pet passes away, they make take some deep breaths or gasps before they stop breathing completely.  These gasp breaths can sometimes continue after the heart has stopped.

There may also be some muscle twitches as the muscle cells react to being starved of oxygen.

Dog sleeping in basket
Cat sleeping

It is also quite common for there to be some leakage of urine and faeces as all the muscles relax, so I will have placed a pad under your pet’s back end to contain this.

Animals do not normally close their eyes after they have passed away.

What happens afterwards?

After your pet has passed away, we will confirm this by listening for a heart beat with a stethoscope, and checking for a corneal reflex by touching their eye.

We can then take any samples of hair that you would like, and make a paw-print for you to keep.

For all but very large dogs, we will place them into a special box which can be used for burial or for transportation to the crematorium.

Paw print

What are the options for my pet's body?

Angel dog statue

Home Burial

You can bury your pet at home as long as you own the home or have the homeowner's permission, and the pet has not had any disease or medication hazardous to health. They should be buried with several feet of soil on top and something heavy on top of the hole to prevent wild animals from digging the area

Scatter tubes

Individual Cremation

We use Pet Cremation Services based in Northampton. All individual cremations are done with only your pet in the crematory so you can be sure that you get all of your pets ashes back and no one else's.

Communal Cremation

If you simply want your pet's body disposed of safely, you can have them communally cremated. Communal cremains with us are interred in the grounds of the crematorium in Northampton, not put into landfill like many crematoria.

How much does euthanasia at home cost?

All euthanasia costs include pre-euthanasia sedation.  Patients who have been seen within the last 3 months will receive a 10% discount.

  • Euthanasia Alone £200

    Suitable for home burial or for you to organise cremation separately

  • Euthanasia with Cremation from £280

    Individual cremation options

  • Euthanasia with Cremation £220

    Communal cremation with ashes interred at the crematorium

  • Euthanasia Only £250

    Suitable for home burial or where you wish to organise cremation yourselves

  • Euthanasia with Cremation from £350

    Individual cremation with various options for ashes return

  • Euthanasia with Cremation £280

    Communal cremation with ashes interred at the crematorium.

  • Euthanasia Only £250

    Suitable for home burial or where you wish to organise cremation separately.

  • Euthanasia with Cremation from £400

    Individual cremation with various options for ashes return

  • Euthanasia with Cremation £330

    Communal cremation with ashes interred at the crematorium

  • Euthanasia Only £180

    Suitable for home burial or where you wish to organise cremation

  • Euthanasia with Cremation from £250

    Various individual cremation options

  • Euthanasia with Cremation £200

    Communal cremation with ashes interred at the crematorium

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