End of Life Care

The death of a pet is an event that all pet owners fear. All of our staff are trained to help you deal with your loss. It often helps to talk things over with someone who has helped care for your pet. Please feel free to contact any of the branches and we will get someone to contact you. Most of us have also lost much loved pets and know from first-hand experience how hard it is to deal with the huge gap that bereavement leaves.


Some people also prefer to discuss the options and decide on what happens to their pet prior to requiring this service. This can help to reduce the stress and ensure that you are able to concentrate on the final moments with your pet. If you would like to do this please do not hesitate to contact us and we will ensure that you have all of the information to make an informed decision.

Why do we euthanise our pets?

How is euthanasia performed?

We euthanise, or 'put to sleep' pets either because they are in pain or their quality of life has deteriorated beyond an acceptable level. The decision is never easy. In certain cases, where perhaps treatment is not viable and your pet's condition is rapidly deteriorating, the decision is made a little easier by knowing we can help prevent our pets from suffering. Other situations are less black and white, and good days are mixed with bad. Often it helps to talk about the situation with friends, family and the staff at the practice. As pet owners ourselves, we appreciate just how difficult this time can be.


Some pets do die quietly and painlessly at home. However, for the majority of pets, the quality of their life deteriorates and they need veterinary intervention.


How do I assess my pet's quality of life?

Euthanasia involves the injection of a medication that allows a rapid loss of consciousness – just like a general anaesthetic. The details of how it is performed will be discussed fully on the day. You may decide to leave your pet with us for this procedure, or to stay with them. We will help you do whatever feels right for you, and you may stay for as long, or as short a time as you wish.

Where do we carry out euthanasia?

We can carry out the procedure either at your home or at any of our surgeries.


At Home

We encourage you to consider whether the home environment may be the best place for this sad procedure. We think it often is the right place, and as such we offer a significant reduction in the cost of the home visit charge in order to make this an easier decision for you. The vet will usually bring a nurse to help. Please give us time to organise the visit, especially if requesting a specific vet (perhaps someone who knows you and your pet well). It is best to phone the surgery before 10am, or better still, the day before you need the visit. We may be unable to offer a visit at short notice or on nights and weekends but will do our very best.


In the Surgery

We will help you to choose an appointment when the waiting room is quiet, in order to minimise your waiting time. At Portishead and Nailsea we have our Client Care Room where you can wait. We will do our utmost to accommodate you and your pet at this difficult time.

What happens to my pet's body after euthanasia?

We treat all pets and wild animals with respect and our vet or nurse will discuss the options available to you:



The cremations are carried out by a local long-established family-owned company. We chose this company for their professionalism and compassionate service.


There are two options available to you.


Routine Cremation

This is an economical and straightforward option. Pets are taken from our surgeries to the crematorium. Several pets are cremated at the same time and unfortunately, ashes cannot be returned following this service. You can be provided with a certificate of cremation.


Individual Cremation

Pets are cremated individually and as standard the ashes are placed either in a

- Biodegradable box; which can be kept, buried or the ashes scattered in a special place

- Carved wooden casket.


More options regarding the vessel in which ashes are returned following individual cremation are available. There are additional costs for these alternatives so please do speak to the team if this is your wish.


Burial at Home

Many people choose to bury their pets at home. Before undertaking this, remember the size and depth of the grave must be sufficient to accommodate your pet without the risk of disturbance from wild animals or future owners of the property. It is better to wrap your pet carefully in a biodegradable material, such as paper or a cardboard box.



Please contact the Practice for costs of these options.

How do I assess my pet's quality of life?

The following may help you:



Chronic (on-going) pain can be difficult to detect. Animals with chronic pain rarely cry out loud. The signs to watch for include lethargy, loss of appetite, reluctance to exercise and a generally dull demeanour.



When pets feel well they eat well. If they feel ill or in discomfort, they may eat little or nothing. Any pet that is disinterested in food or drink, or has no appetite has a reduced quality of life.



Most pets respond when we come in from work or enter the room. If you notice a change and your pet does not greet you or respond to you, it could signal serious illness.



Our pets, like us, prefer to be clean. Cats especially are fastidious groomers. Matted coats or soiling of the coat or bedding, particularly in animals that have previously been clean, indicate a serious deterioration in quality of life.


Change in Behaviour

Small pets (such as rats, gerbils and hamsters) may appear hunched or fluffed up, or may come out at unusual times if they are feeling ill.