Saying goodbye to your pet

Deciding when to say goodbye 

Losing a pet is a sad and distressing time and choosing whether to have them put to sleep is one of the hardest decisions a pet owner can make.

Many factors will play a part in the decision and talk each through with family, friends and Veterinary staff will help.

Your Veterinary Surgeon will be able to help you assess your pets quality of life and upsetting though it is, putting a pet to sleep (also called euthanasia) is sometimes the best course of action to avoid unnecessary pain and suffering. Your vet will be able to help you decide when the time is right and what is best for your pet.

If you feel the time has come to say goodbye, or if you would like guidance and support, please book an appointment to see your Veterinary Surgeon.

What actually happens? 

Euthanasia typically involves an injection into a vein which quickly and painlessly sends the pet to sleep. Their breathing and heart will stop within a minute or so, and they will gently slip away. You can choose to have your pet put to sleep at the surgery, or at home in relaxed and familiar surroundings.

Should I stay with my pet?

This is a very personal decision and has to be your own. Some people find that staying with their pet helps them to come to terms with the loss. Others find it too distressing. You must do what is best for you and your pet. Do not feel guilty if you decide not to be there, this can be a very upsetting time for all concerned and we will fully support whatever decision you make.

Laying your pet to rest 

Once your pet has been put to sleep, you will need to make a decision on whether you would like to have your pet cremated or buried. We will look after your pet until you are able to decide.

Pet cremation 

You can choose to have your pet cremated at a specialist pet crematorium, either alongside other pets, or individually. If your pet is cremated on its own, the ashes will be carefully collected and returned to you in a casket, scatter box or urn. We will be able to arrange this for you. To find out more and to view what is available, Please click here.

Home burial

If you choose for your pet to be buried at home, please be aware that certain restrictions apply. For information, contact your local council’s environmental health department.

Grieving for a pet and the support available

First reactions to the death of a pet can include numbness and shock, followed by intense feelings of sadness, despair, pining and anxiety.

Feelings can be overwhelming. Your house may feel emptier without your pet. Empty beds and food bowls, even meeting other pet owners in the street, can be a painful reminder of your loss.

Treasure the good memories and, where possible, share them with friends and family. You may like to create a memory box with photos of your pet, their collar, favourite toys etc.

Remember we are here to help. Our fully trained bereavement counsellors offer you professional and compassionate support with complete confidentiality.

How does Orchard House Vets support their clients? 

Pets are a part of the family and are often our best friends, which is why we understand how difficult coping with the loss of a pet can be.

At our practice we recognise the importance in being able to support and advise you through any difficult times or decisions. Our Registered Veterinary Nurse, Catherine Waters, has worked at Orchard House Vets for over 10 years and is highly trained in helping our clients cope with the loss of their pet.

Catherine, along with all of our staff, has experience, time and compassion for all of our clients who need a listening ear. They can recommend support networks or groups to suit you.

Remember we are here to help. Our fully trained pet bereavement advisor and RVN will listen to you and help you overcome any of those overwhelming feelings with complete confidentiality. Pet loss is something very close to all our hearts as each of our staff have personally had heartbreak from losing a pet and have comforted hundreds of our clients over the years.

If you would like to chat to Catherine, please email us with your full name and contact number at or give us a call on 01434 607677 and our reception team will ask Catherine to give you a call.

Call your local branch to book an appointment