Home Euthanasia

Understanding the euthanasia process

For most Americans, pets are an integral part of the family. The idea of seeing them pass away is very painful and the moments spent discussing the subject and options appear through a blur of tears. Discussing the different options with a veterinarian is important so that you and your family can make your decision in your own time, at your own pace. Deciding whether or not to euthanize your beloved pet is a difficult decision based on your pet’s personality, your personal beliefs and your pet’s condition and level of pain. Our trained medical staff is here to help guide you and your family to make these decisions based on the quality-of-life of your pet.


The In-Hospital Euthanasia

If you choose the path of taking your pet to our clinic for euthanasia, we are trained to make the experience as comfortable as possible. First, we try to schedule an appointment time when it is likely to be more quiet, perhaps at the beginning or at the end of the day. If not already completed, we will require an examination to determine your pet is a candidate for euthanasia. After the consultation, you will be asked whether or not you want to stay with your pet for the euthanasia. This is an important point to consider based on your emotional needs.

The next steps are to ensure the comfort of your pet during the process. The medical staff will give your pet a sedative so they are comfortably resting or sleeping. This may take as little as a few minutes or up to 20 minutes depending on the drug used and the condition of your pet’s internal organs. We will then insert an IV catheter into your pet’s leg to provide secure access to the vein. It is only as painful as the prick of a needle can be. In circumstance an IV catheter cannot be placed, we may use a direct needle for the injection of the euthanasia solution. You will be given as much time as you wish prior to the final injection. Once you are ready, the doctor will administer the euthanasia solution into the IV catheter. It takes only a brief period for the euthanasia solution to take effect. This solution is basically an overdose of anesthesia and causes first complete unconsciousness and then the breathing and heart to stop. The euthanasia solution ensures a quick and painless passing for your beloved pet.

The doctor will listen carefully to your pet’s heart to ensure it has stopped before pronouncing him or her passed. After that, there is no danger of your pet waking up. This is a very common fear for pet owners. Have no worries, with the current products used today and the careful auscultation by the veterinarian after the injection, this cannot happen. Occasionally, some muscle twitches, a deep breath or passing of urine or feces might occur during or after euthanasia. This is energy leaving the body and should not be taken as a sign of pain or continued life. Another physical aspect to be aware of is that your pet’s eyes will likely not close after he or she has passed away.

The In-Home Euthanasia

Some people find this difficult and emotionally painful moment more comfortable when performed at their own home. Many clients have found it can be made a more comfortable and peaceful experience for your pet, you and your family. You and your family will also be able to grieve in the privacy of your own home.

The procedure for euthanasia is similar to what is described above in the section for in-hospital procedure. Opting for an in-home euthanasia does not mean that you are obligated to witness the entire procedure or any of it. You and your family may be present for all of the procedure, part of it or none. It is your choice. Regardless of whether or not you decide to be present is to know that your pet will be comfortable and happy.

Aftercare and Cremation

After you have had as much time as you need to say your goodbyes after the euthanasia, you will be asked what you will want to do with your beloved pet’s body. Options include communal cremation, private cremation, and burial. In communal cremation, your pet’s body is cremated together with other pets and the ashes are returned back into the earth. In private cremation, your pet is cremated individually, and the ashes will be returned to you in the urn of your choice. For burial, your pet’s body will be returned to you if you wish to bury in your yard (check your local ordinances for specific regulations). For burial, your pet's body may also be placed at a pet cemetery.