Why choose in-home Euthanasia?
There are many advantages to choosing euthanasia in the home.
For your pet, few places feel as safe and comfortable as their home. Often, visits to a veterinary clinic are accompanied by stress and anxiety. Most people prefer that their pet’s last moments are as free from stress and anxiety as possible, and remaining in your family’s home during this difficult time allows for a peaceful, stress free passing for your pet.
For you, as a person who likely also will be experiencing great stress, anxiety and pain, home is also the safest and most comfortable place to be. Being able to grieve in the privacy of your own home is far preferable to waiting in a busy veterinary clinic.
When is it the right time?
Every pet, owner and situation is different, and we respect that. At Home Veterinary Care can consult you over the phone or in person to answer questions about determining the quality of life for your pet, but the decision is ultimately yours.
Before calling us, there are some things you can consider by noticing some of the following indicators that your pet’s quality of life may be changing:
- Change in appetite or drinking
- Not interested in playing
- Unable to stand without assistance
- Seems to have more “bad days” than “good days”
- Changes in behavior (confusion, “hiding”, etc.)
After I decide when, where should it take place?
Any place your pet is most comfortable, indoors or outside. A favorite bed or chair or even a favorite spot in the garden will be fine. You may hold your pet in your lap on the floor if you wish – whatever feels right for you and them.
Who should be there?
You may have as many friends or family members present as you would like. Some people prefer to keep it a small, intimate experience, while others prefer the support of a larger group of people. Your other pets are also welcome, if you choose.
How long does it take?
It is important to us that you and your pet do not feel rushed through the process. Every step will be explained in as much or as little detail as you would like. The entire process, from our arrival until our departure, generally takes 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Should my pet eat beforehand?
If your pet still has an appetite, you may feed them anything they’d like in the hours before our arrival. Sometimes, reserving a special treat to be given as a distraction at the time of the sedative injection can be helpful.
Is it painful for my pet?
Every effort is taken to make the process as painless and as stress-free for your beloved pet. In most cases, the euthanasia process involves two injections. An initial sedative injection is given, which allows your pet to drift into a pain free, relaxed state. Some dogs and cats experience a brief “sting” at the sedative injection site that lasts for a second or two. Once sedated, the second injection, which is an intravenous overdose of an anesthetic agent, can be given with your pet being essentially unaware of its administration. This is a rapid, peaceful, painless process, lasting only seconds in duration.
What do I need to do beforehand to prepare?
There is very little that you need to do before our arrival. Often, having an old towel or blanket available is helpful in case your pet eliminates during the process. Otherwise, just focus on spending meaningful time with your companion.
How do I help my children who are losing their pet?
You know what is best for your children. Some children may want to be present during the process, but usually most parents make arrangements for very young children to be out of the house during the procedure. Most of the time, it is helpful for children to be given an opportunity to say good-bye to their special companion, however, even if they do leave the house during the actual event. Typically, depending on the child, some version of the truth is the best. Trust yourself to know how much information to give to them….your instincts will usually be right. There are also many good books available on pet loss specifically for children (see resources page)
What happens afterward?
After the Doctor has listened to your pet’s heart and confirmed their passing, you will be given an opportunity to be alone with them for a few minutes if you wish. If we will be taking their remains for cremation, we will transport them to one of our pet cremation services. In some cases, owners may choose to make their own arrangements or to bury their pet on their property. A discussion regarding after care options will occur before the euthanasia procedure begins, during the paperwork portion of the visit.
What options are there to memorialize my pet?
There are many ways in which you can memorialize your pet and celebrate his or her life. Regardless of whether you choose to have your pet’s cremated remains (ashes) returned to you or not, or if you’ve chosen to bury your pet, some of the options to consider include:
- Writing a poem, story or thoughts memorializing your pet
- Planting a tree or flowering shrub over the grave or buried ashes or just in a special area where your pet liked to lay
- Donating to a favorite charity in your pet’s memory – perhaps an animal rescue group or a shelter
- Creating a scrapbook, photo collage, video montage, or memorial table to celebrate their life and their place in your family and heart
- Organizing a trip to the beach or to your pet’s favorite hiking trail to honor their memory, or perhaps throwing a party or having a special meal in their honor
- Commissioning a piece of art – either containing a small amount of the cremated remains, or not
- Clipping a piece of their hair, making a paw print of ink or clay, taking a last photograph.
- You may also place a written memorial with photographs on our Pet Memorial page.