How do I know when it is time?
The decision to euthanize a pet may be based on may factors. Often times debilitated pets require more care than owners can accommodate. Large dogs may be losing mobility, pets may not be able to manage urinating/defecating in appropriate areas, or a pet can have a disease process that owners elect to not treat for financial reasons. Some pets are extremely aggressive or have behavior issues that are making them no longer suitable companions for owners. All of these are valid reasons to elect to euthanize a pet. Our role as veterinary professionals is to support the decision you feel is best for your pet and your family.
Can I be with my pet?
Yes, absolutely. We will keep you informed of what is happening at every step of the way. We will try to work around the position of your and your pet to stay out of the way as much as possible. If you choose not to be present, we will do everything we can to keep your pet as comfortable as possible. Some owners elect to stay with pets while they are sedated, but not during the actual euthanasia process, which is completely fine as well.
Is it painful for my pet?
An injection for sedation is given prior to euthanasia. There is some discomfort associated with this injection, we do everything we can to mitigate this discomfort as much as possible. Most our pets do not notice this initial injection, some may be distracted with treats if food is still something they enjoy. Pets that have been painful before our arrival, or pets that have not tolerated needles in the past may react adversely to this initial injection. We try to keep the environment as calm as possible and comfort our pets as best we can during this brief process. Once this medication is given, pets will start to feel sleepy and relaxed, and will no longer be painful.
How is my pet removed from my home?
If we are providing cremation services for you, we make every attempt to transport your pet in the most dignified and private manner possible. Pets under 25 pounds are wrapped in a blanket and carried out in a small sling. If your pet weighs over 25 pounds, we ask that owners either lift their pet into our vehicle using our stretchers and blankets or let us make arrangements for the crematorium staff to pick up your pet directly from your home. (Crematorium services and availability may affect appointment times and availability.) We have stretchers and blankets that make the process fairly straightforward. Please let us know if your pet is over 25 pounds and you are unable to assist with lifting your pet into our vehicle. We can make arrangements for an assistant to accompany our veterinarians, however, there is an additional cost for this service and assistants may not be available during every appointment time.
How do I prepare?
There are a few logistical and emotional ways you can prepare for your in-home visit. For most of our appointments, we use the common phone apps for directions to your home. If there are special instructions for how to find you, please let us know. We will also need space to park a large vehicle.
Have a place in mind where you would like the euthanasia to take place. Many families choose to be outdoors, some want to be indoors, some want their pet in their lap in a cozy chair. All these options are perfectly fine, our priority is for you and your pet to be as comfortable as possible. Some pets commonly lose bowel or bladder control during the sedation and euthanasia process. We have blankets we use as barriers to protect your environment, but keep this in mind when choosing a location for the euthanasia to take place for your pet.
If your pet is still interested in food on the day of your euthanasia appointment, please save a favorite treat to give during the sedation process. Remember that all foods that have been forbidden for a lifetime are now perfect treats. Ice cream, brownies, and peanut butter are all good treats that will help us distract your pet from the sedation injection.
If your pet is aggressive, please let us know. Some pets become aggressive as they age and become uncomfortable, some pets are euthanized primarily due to unmanageable aggression. We acknowledge that you know your pet best and rely on you to let us know if your pet has tendencies to be aggressive, especially towards veterinarians. The safety of our veterinarians and owners is our top priority, our second priority is to make euthanasia of your pet as kind and gentle as possible. There are many ways we can accomplish these goals if we know ahead of time that is something we need to plan for during your visit.
Be sure to give yourself some emotional self-care on the day of your pet’s euthanasia appointment. Do not plan important commitments on the same day, do plan on caring for yourself and your family. Many owners feel guilty making the decision to euthanize a pet, many owners feel relief when a pet is euthanized. It is not uncommon for owners to experience grief from the loss of a previous pet or family member when a pet is euthanized. All these emotions are completely normal, so prepare yourself by having friends or family members available, and a quiet schedule for the remainder of the day. Many owners benefit from professional counseling after the loss of a pet. Here are some links to pet loss professionals in our local area: Visit Pet Loss Professionals.