It is a sad and unfortunate fact that animals do not live as long as humans so it’s likely that, at some point, we have to consider how best to say goodbye to our pets.
Elderly pets or those ravaged by disease can lose their appetite or mobility. Some may be in pain or unable to play or socialise in the way they once did. While medication and veterinary support can help extend their lives, in some instances your vet may recommend considering euthanasia, a word which stems from the Greek “eu” (good) and “thanatos” (death).
These recommendations are not made lightly; vets choose their career to help and heal animals. However, ageing or disease may mean a pet is suffering unnecessarily and in these cases, a kinder outcome is to put the animal out of its pain and misery.
The process is quick and painless for the animal. If they are in pain, the vet will administer a painkiller or sedative which also helps keep them calm. The euthanasia itself takes the form of an overdose of an anaesthetic which stops the heart and brain functioning almost immediately.
If you are facing the difficult choice of euthanasia, please do take some time to read the Q&A below.
Will the process hurt my pet?
Other than the injection needle, it is completely pain-free. Euthanasia is sometimes referred to as ‘putting an animal to sleep’ because that is how it appears.
What happens after my pet has passed away?
We recommend you consider this before the procedure takes place so you don’t have this worry piled on top of the emotion that comes with a pet dying.
The first thing to know is that Hong Kong has very clear regulations about how bodies of animals can be disposed, and you may not leave the carcass in a public place. This includes burying it. Details can be found here:
There are two main options: disposal of the carcass in landfill or have it cremated. The government can help organise the former and either your vet or a private company can assist with a cremation.
The SPCA can support you in a number of ways. Our highly-experienced veterinary staff can perform the euthanasia and then we can either organise disposal of the body via FEHD contractors or hold the body until a decision is made and the body is collected for cremation.
Can I be in the room while the injection is given?
You can, and we highly recommend that someone is with your pet while the procedure is being carried out. While it can be a highly emotional situation, being with their owner helps keep pets calm and less anxious. It can also be a good way to start the healing process knowing that your pet has passed away peacefully.
Should my children be in the room too?
This will, to a very large extent, depend on the age and maturity of the child. Watching a much-loved pet die is a highly stressful situation but in some cases, it may help the child deal with the death better.