The decision to put a loved pet to sleep is a very difficult one and understandably, most owners delay it for as long as possible. Very old age, severe illness or other circumstances may mean that you decide it is time to put your small friend to sleep. The steps taken in reaching this decision may be complex and are best made in consultation with your vet. The purpose of this information page is to describe the process of euthanasia.

What is euthanasia?
Euthanasia is the term used by vets to describe the process of humanely ending an animal’s life when they have become too ill or old to enjoy a satisfactory quality of life.

What will happen?
After arriving at Small Friends Veterinary Hospital, Dr Matt or one of our other vets will ask you to sign a consent form to give your permission to put your small friend to sleep. Once you are ready for the vet to proceed, a nurse will gently hold your small friend while a patch of hair is shaved from their leg and a painless injection given into the vein. Your pet will lose consciousness, and shortly afterward their heartbeat and breathing will stop. Your small friend may gasp at this stage and may also release their bladder or bowels. These are all normal responses. The whole process only takes a few minutes. If your pet is overly anxious or aggressive a sedative injection may be given beforehand to calm them. In cases where your pet is very ill it may be necessary to give the injection into their belly instead of into a vein.

Should I be there?
Deciding whether to be present at the time your small friend is put to sleep, is a very personal decision that can only be made by you. It is best to make this decision beforehand. The number of people that attend is completely up to you and your family. You may decide to come alone or bring members of your family with you.

What happens to my small friend’s body?
Small Friends Veterinary Hospital’s staff can arrange for your small friend to be part of a group burial. We can also arrange cremation of your small friend’s remains with their ashes returned to you at home.

Once again, it is often easier if you consider beforehand what you would like to do with your small friend’s body after they are put to sleep.

If you have any questions at the time your small friend is put to sleep please don’t be afraid to ask.

If you have any other questions about this difficult topic please call Small Friends Veterinary Hospital on 02 6262 2233.