We love our pets. All of us become attached to our animal companions, even within a day or two of owning them, and especially after a lifetime of shared friendship.

We know that many owners are reluctant to approach their vet with an ageing or infirm pet because they fear that the vet may insist on euthanising their pet.

We would like to reassure you that our role is to discuss the condition of your pet, the medical problems that may be involved and any relevant details of the home situation, and then find the best way forward. Treatment of older patients has advanced greatly in recent years and we will always offer this if we think it is in your pet's interest.

You can also rely on us to be honest with you if we really feel euthanasia is the best option. Remember: our job is to advise; the decision over how we proceed will be yours.

The euthanasia process:

If, after looking at all the circumstances, euthanasia does seem to be the right course, here are some points you may want to consider:

  • We are unable to offer housecalls at this time.  But have protocols in place, so that in most casesyou will be able to stay with your pet while they are put to sleep.  Please ring to speak to a receptionist for further information and we can book an appointment for you.  It is helpful if you tell the receptionist that you may be having your pet euthanised - that way we can ensure you are given a longer appointment and can give you advise about your arrival.  
  • Euthanasias take place either in a consult room, or if more than one family member would like to be present - then in our small cabin at the back of the practice.  Please also advice us if more than one family member will be present so arrangements can be made.
  • Don't worry about being upset. Everyone at the practice has their own pets and we appreciate how upsetting this can be.
  • For most pets an intravenous injection will be given.  An intravenous catheter will be secured in the vein to help administer the injection smoothly.  In some instances a sedative may be necessary to calm your pet before the euthanasia.  We will usually take your pet from you to place their intravenous catheter and if necessary give them the sedation injection, then return them to you. 
  • In almost all cases the euthanasia injection will bring unconsciousness in less than half a minute and with a minimum of pain and distress. It really is like going to sleep, but the resulting overdose of anaesthetic will make their heart stop and death will occur.  Your vet will listen to your pets heart to ensure they have passed away and perform other checks e.g. checking for a reflex directly on your pet's eye.  It is not uncommon for your pet to make several big 'last breaths'.  This is not them waking up but their body's response to the death process.  Pets may also pass urine and/or faces when they die - again this is a natural process as all the pet's muscles relax once they have passed away.
  • We are happy for you to stay with your pet if you can, but completely understand if this is too difficult for you. A nurse will always be there to help and stay with your pet.
  • There will be time for you to stay with your pet after they have been euthanised if you wish to do so. 
  • Please let us know if you would like to take any of your pet's possessions home - eg collars / leads / carriers or blankets once your pet has passed away

Burial and cremation options:

Taking your pet home to be buried is a good solution for many owners, and is perfectly legitimate. We can help wrap your pet in their favourite blanket for you to take them back home to their final resting place.

Cremation is also an option.  This can be carried out with or without your pet's ashes being returned to you.  There are a wide range of options for your pet's ashes from casket and scatter tubes to garden ornaments and keep-sakes.   You might also like to consider getting your pet's paw print or some fur.

If you choose to have your pet individually cremated we can arrange this for you though our local pet crematorium or you can go to them direct. **

If we organise this for you, we will hold your pet's body in cold storage until they are collected by the crematorium.   If you have opted to have your pet's ashes individually cremated the crematorium will also return the ashes to us.  We have two collections/deliveries a week and these are generally on a Tuesday and Friday.  It usually takes 1-2 weeks for your pet's ashes to be returned to us, but this can vary depending on the options you have chosen.   A member of staff will contact you, usually by phone, to let you know that your pet's ashes have arrived back with us and are ready for collection.

** If you wish to take your pet direct to the crematorium we advise you contact them in advance of making your vet appointment with us, and make the necessary arrangements before euthanasia.  By doing it this way, you will be contacted by the crematorium when your pet's ashes are ready for collection at the site.  The crematorium has two private rooms for you to be with your pet on arrival and to finalise your requests.

Our local pet crematorium is: Phoenix Pet Cremations.  For contact details and to visit their website click here .  We offer a simple range of individual ashes options through Millennium, including simple wooden caskets with brass name plates or scatter tubes/boxes if you would prefer to scatter your pets ashes in a favourite spot.  But if you want something different or want to see what other choices there are then please visit their website to see the full range of individual cremation options.  Phoenix also deal direct with a number of jewellery and accessory companies including: Ashes to Glass; See You Memorial Jewellery; Atlantis and Paw Print Jewellery.  These are all listed on the Phoenix's website direct to see the full range.  Please note prices on the Phoenix website will not be what we charge as these do not include euthanasia or cremation costs, see 'fees' below.

We may recommend that you deal with Phoenix Pet Cremations direct if you have more specific individual cremation requirements.

As a practice, we have a close working relationship with Phoenix, over a number of years.  Many of our staff members have visited the premises to see for themselves how the cremation process works.  In addition to this many of us have taken our own pets to be cremated there and we trust the Crematorium's working practices.  Individual cremation means just that, only your pet will be cremated on its own.  The crematorium has a robust system to ensure you only get your own pet's ashes back.


Please note that fees vary widely depending on the decision you make.  Any outstanding fees, unless you are claiming via pet insurance or have made a prior agreement, need to be settled in full before your pets ashes are collected.  This is standard practice.

Please note:
  • If your pet has passed away at home and you have made arrangements with the the crematorium directly, there will be no associated fees with us and the crematorium will charge you direct
  • If your pet has been put to sleep at the practice and you have organised to take your pet direct to the crematorium, we will charge the euthanasia fee and the costs thereafter will be between the owner and the crematorium 
  • Our end of life fees cover the euthanasia, cremation and if chosen the individual cremation and chosen vessel cost (i.e. casket, urn, ornament etc...).  (The overall cost will not be the same as the costs quoted on the Phoenix website, which are for the vessel alone.)

We understand that losing a much-loved companion can be a very painful experience. We promise to do our best to help you through your loss.   For further information and to enquire about fees, please ring 01376 325511.

Support during times of pet bereavement:

The following website links will take you to pet bereavement help pages:

Cats Protection: Coping with the loss of a cat click here
RSPCA: Pet Bereavement click here 
Blue Cross: Bereavement Support click here

Supporting other family pets following the passing of a companion:

Pet's do experience grief.  Please contact us if you would like further advice.