Part of pet ownership sometimes involves having to make the decision to euthanize or "put to sleep" a beloved pet. This is never an easy decision, in fact it is one of life's most difficult decisions. Fortunately we can make this choice to ensure our pets do not suffer ongoing pain or illness. Veterinarians can not make this decision for you but they are available and happy to discuss the welfare of your pet and all the diagnostic and treatment options available, including euthanasia.

Euthanizing a pet usually involves making an appointment to come to the Hills Veterinary Centre, or occasionally we can do house calls (staff and time permitting). Some people wish to be with their pets, others wish to say good bye and leave their pets with us. This is a very personal decision and there is no right or wrong choice.

The euthanasia solution we use is a very concentrated form of anaesthetic which is administered by an intravenous injection, usually into a vein in the fore leg. The animals quickly become anaesthetised and fall asleep. The heart stops soon afterwards. It is a very quick, painless and humane procedure.

Afterwards there are several choices as to what we can do with your pet. Some people choose to take their animals home to bury in a nice spot in the garden (although you should check with your local council first). Many people leave their pets here for us to take care of their cremation. We can even organise private cremations and have the ashes returned either in a sealed urn or an opening container for scattering the ashes.

After euthanasia there will be a period of grief and most people will go through the five stages of grief, these are described as denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance. This is normal. It is not easy to say goodbye to a loyal friend and companion. Another emotion people feel, especially if pets have been unwell for a long period, is relief that their friend is no longer suffering. Some people also feel guilt at having made this decision. Stopping an animal from suffering is not something one should feel guilty about.

A lot of people I meet say that putting someones pet to sleep must be the hardest part of the job. It is certainly one of the saddest times because we feel for the owners and the grief they are experiencing, we also feel personal grief for losing the animals we have become close to. I rarely feel upset for the pets themselves as we are humanely ensuring that they are no longer in any pain or discomfort and that is one of the greatest gifts we can give them.