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Abbey Veterinary Group
Your friendly independent two centre veterinary practice

Pet Bereavement Counselling

Making that difficult decision....

You and your family know your pet better than anyone else and will be able to judge their quality of life, so talk it over with them. Speak with your vet who can also help with this decision and give you a medical recommendation.

Consider the following when making your decision:

Can your pet still eat, drink, sleep and move around comfortably?
Do they respond to you and greet you?
Are they interested in feeding times?

If you are hoping for an improvement it is a good idea to set a time limit and reassess.

When the time does come to visit the surgery

Explain the situation to the receptionist who can then suggest a quiet time for you to come to the surgery.

Bring a family member or friend with you to help and support you.

If your pet is hospitalised you can arrange to come and visit to say goodbye if you would like to, it is entirely your choice.

If your pet is under anaesthetic it may be kinder to let them go to sleep without waking and perhaps see them afterwards.

What will happen

You will need to sign a consent form.

Euthanasia is carried out by injecting an overdose of anaesthetic into the vein of the front leg, although can be given to other areas of the body as well. A small patch of fur will be shaved off to make the vein more visible. A nurse will hold your pet to raise a vein. All your pet will feel is a tiny prick of the needle the injection is painless there is a brief feeling of dizziness as the drug takes effect. Your pet will become unconscious within seconds, often before the injection has finished and death will occur within a few minutes when the heart stops beating.

This may take a little longer if your pet is extremely ill or has poor circulation and in these instances it may prove difficult for the vet to find a vein.
In the few minutes after death you may see a reflex muscle movement or an involuntary gasp. These are not signs of life they are reflexes denoting that death has occurred.

Should you stay

This is entirely your choice and you should not feel guilty if you are unable to do this.

If you are upset you may well upset your pet as well. You can be assured that the vets and nurses will treat your pet sympathetically in your absence.
If you wish to spend some time with your pet afterwards do not be afraid to ask you will always be able to spend time alone to say goodbye.
It will take time to recover from the loss of your pet and you will experience many emotions often sadness, loneliness and even anger. All are quite normal. Try not to blame yourself and question if you made the right decision. You made this decision with your pet’s best interest at heart and to prevent their suffering.

We have a Book of Memories if you would like to share a picture and story about your pet which will in turn help others.

Speaking with our pet bereavement counsellor

It can be helpful at times to talk to someone who understands how you are feeling. If you feel you would like to talk to someone we now have a trained Pet Bereavement Counsellor who will be happy to discuss things with you.

If you would like to speak to her please ring the Chaddesden Surgery  on 01332 661554 and ask to speak to Vicky.


Pets do not live as long as humans

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Thinking about euthanasia is sadly a decision that many pet owners may eventually have to face. Taking responsibility for this decision is the kindest thing you can do for a much loved pet.

Sadly few pets die peacefully in their sleep at home, but reach a point where their quality of life is unsatisfactory, and the decision to put to sleep needs to be made.


You will need to consider the options available regarding cremation or burial.
Most people opt for general cremation where their pet is cremated with other pets and their ashes buried in a remembrance garden.

There is also the option to have individual cremation where the ashes are returned to you in a cask or in a scattering box.

You can if you wish take the body home for burial.

We use Green Pastures Pet Crematorium.

Their website features their remembrance gardens.