Pet Euthanasia

One Of The Greatest Gifts You Can Bestow Upon Your Pet

Euthanasia of your beloved pet may be one of the most difficult decisions you will ever be faced with and perhaps the ultimate heartbreak. As a loving pet parent, it's our moral obligation to end negative quality of life or terminal suffering. It' s a highly subjective choice and very traumatic, but we must put our own feelings aside and focus on the needs of our pets. We often hope and wish that our pet will pass peacefully in their sleep, though that is rarely the case. Euthanasia is a choice to be made with compassion from the heart to avoid potential regret at a later date.

If it's too hard for you to say good-bye despite the diagnosis and prognosis of your pet's condition, you may want to consider palliative end-of-life care or hospice. We have the responsibility to ensure that there is no pain or suffering endured by our pet. If you are uncertain, please ask your local veterinarian or one that specializes in hospice care.

Vet's Office Versus In-Home Euthanasia

A vet's office may be appropriate if the visual association of having your pet euthanized at home seems too overwhelming. And if your pet has been involved in an accident and you are forced to make a quick decision, you may not have the opportunity to chose the location. Or perhaps you feel more comfortable at a medical facility and with a familiar vet who has provided care for your pet throughout. Whatever the reason may be, it should suit you and your personal preferences.

Always check the policy and procedure of how euthanasia is performed at the particular vet's office you choose. There may be restrictions on holding the pet during their last moment and/or being present in the room during the euthanasia process. You may need to find another veterinarian if you do not agree with their methodology.

If you are given the opportunity to select when and where, in-home euthanasia may present a myriad of wonderful possibilities. You can decide when the time is right to say good-bye to your pet in the comfort of their own home.

Benefits of in-home euthanasia:

  • Privacy to grieve how you see fit
  • Ability to set a calming atmosphere with candles and music
  • Personalized indoor or outdoor selection of location
  • Request the presence of family and friends
  • Create a unique space with toys and treats
  • Eliminate "last ride" to vet's office
  • Provide a less stressful setting for your pet
  • Allow other family pets to say good bye
  • Elect to have a religious ceremony or tribute

The Euthanasia Process

When the veterinarian arrives to your home or you meet at the vet's office, be sure to ask anything that may still be confusing or frightening about the process. In addition to administering the euthanasia solution, he or she is there to provide you with knowledge and support during this time of transition for your pet.

Most commonly, a sedative is first injected intravenously allowing your pet to relax and drift off into a deep and pain-free sleep. You may choose to have the pet in your lap or be by their side holding them. This is a time where you can give all the kisses in the world and take as much time as you need to say your final good bye.

When you are ready, the veterinarian will administer the euthanasia solution. The muscles will relax and the heart will stop beating. Owners are often surprised that death comes so quickly, often within seconds. The veterinarian will confirm that your pet has passed on.

In some instances, there may be muscle contractions, elimination or other involuntary reactions immediately after. Your pet may appear to gasp or move extremities. It is important to understand that those are strictly reflexes and life is already gone.

You may elect to spend a few moments alone with your pet after they passed. Take as much time that you need during this difficult moment.

The veterinarian will then care for and transport your pet according to the after-care options you have chosen.

NOTE: Financially, in-home euthanasia and emergency hospitals are more expensive than a regular vet's office. And please be sure to search for a reputable in-home provider prior to making your selection.