What To Expect When Putting Your Pet To Sleep


Even though it may be for the best, putting a pet to sleep is something most pet owners hope they never have to consider. Yet unfortunately, there are times when euthanasia can seem like the only option. 

Read our helpful guide to find out what to do in this challenging situation. 

Why would I need to put my pet to sleep? 

Pet euthanasia is a painless process in which trained professionals inject unwell or disabled animals with an anaesthetic to help them pass away peacefully. It is recommended if medical treatment is not possible, your pet’s illness will impact their quality of life, or if there is nothing more a vet can do to keep them alive. 

Having your pet put to sleep is not a legal requirement. What it can do, however, is limit their pain and allow their lives to end without discomfort. 

What happens during the euthanasia process?

If you decide euthanasia is the right course of action, your vet will guide you gently through the process. Depending on the circumstances, the vet may be able to schedule an appointment in advance to give you time to say your goodbyes. If your pet is seriously unwell, you may have to make the decision quickly to bring their suffering to an end. In instances like this, you will still be able to bid farewell to your companion. 

putting your pet to sleep is a humane, delicate process

When the time comes, your vet will ask you to sign a consent form to check you are happy with what is about to happen. Once your pet receives the injection, the person overseeing the procedure will ensure they remain relaxed and comfortable as they pass away. After their heart stops beating, it is up to you to decide what you’d like to do with your pet’s body. 

Things to consider when putting your pet to sleep 

The end of a pet’s life is an emotional experience, but there are some steps you can take to soften the blow. For instance, you are within your rights to stay with your pet as they are being put to sleep and offer them some comfort in their final minutes. 

Being there for your pet as their life ends can provide a sense of closure and may help you deal with their loss more easily. Likewise, if you think witnessing the procedure will upset you, there’s no pressure to stay in the room. Your companion’s comfort and dignity are the vet’s priorities, so you can be sure they’ll be in safe hands at all times. 

In terms of whether you should bring children to the appointment, that’s up to you. Being able to pay their respects to a beloved pet may positively impact how your children deal with death in later life but might also be too distressing for them to witness. If your children are old enough, let them choose. If not, the decision rests with you. 

being in the room when their pet is put to sleep can help children better deal with death in later life

Another thing to consider before attending the appointment is asking somebody to go with you. Even if you think you’ll be fine, having someone to talk to on the way can help you process what’s about to happen. Should you not feel comfortable being alone after the procedure, they can also offer support and ensure you get back home safely. 

What happens next? 

As it might be too difficult to discuss what happens with your pet’s body after the procedure, it makes sense to tackle this decision beforehand. Should you decide to have your pet cremated, you may wish to take a clipping of fur or a pawprint when you say your goodbyes. But if you don’t, that’s OK too. 

Vets will offer communal or individual cremation options, or you can choose to arrange cremation independently. If you plan to bury your pet in your garden, dig a grave of at least 4ft to ensure their remains are kept safe from other animals. 

Coping with grief 

As a pet is part of your family, their death can trigger many emotions, and it’s perfectly normal to remain in the grieving process for days, weeks, and even years. If you’re struggling to come to terms with the loss of your pet, it may be helpful to talk to family or friends. If you wish to share your emotions in confidence, there are plenty of support networks available. 

there are many ways to cope with grief after putting your pet to sleep

Later on, you may decide that you want to honour your departed companion with a pet memorial. Those we offer at Remembered Forever are perfect for celebrating their memory and keeping them close to your heart. Explore these in full by clicking the button below.


Thank you for reading our blog on what to expect when putting your pet to sleep. We hope it offers some comfort in this difficult time. For more pet-related tips and advice, visit our blog today. 

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