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When a pet’s quality of life becomes poor, the question “are they suffering” often arises. If, after discussing disease treatment, palliative care and hospice options, a family wishes to proceed with euthanasia, the process will be more comfortable for the pet, and permit more grieving privacy for the family, if it is performed at home.

The Process

For the euthanasia procedure, a sedative injection is given to your pet which will relax them, stop their pain and help them sleep. This initial injection may sting for a moment, but then they can rest. Sometimes we will give a second sedative injection after about ten minutes to help them in to a deeper sleep, usually pets are not bothered by the second injection. Often people note it is the most relaxed and comfortable their pet has been in a long time. Once they are sleeping, Dr. Amy can make a paw print in clay if you would like.

When you are ready to say goodbye, the final injection of the euthanasia drug will be given. If administered intravenously, this drug will stop the heart within seconds to a minute. If the veins are difficult to access (for instance, due to low blood pressure often accompanying final illness), the drug can still be administered via different routes into body. In this case, the heart may undergo a more gradual slowing, and ultimately will stop after several minutes. You can expect the entire process from our arrival to your pet’s passing will take approximately 1 hour.

Where we can perform euthanasia

The process of saying goodbye and euthanasia can be done anywhere in the home, such as in a favorite pet bed or chair, outside in the yard, or while being held on a person’s lap. Some people wish to have all of the family or close friends present, other people wish for privacy during this time, it is a very personal decision.

After my pet has passed away

After Dr. Amy has listened to your pet’s heart and confirmed their passing, you will be given an opportunity to be alone with them for a time if you wish. If you have chosen private or non-private cremation, we will take your pet’s remains with us at this time to be cremated.

Some families may choose to make their own arrangements or to bury their pet in a special location. A discussion regarding after care options will occur during our phone appointment discussion or before the euthanasia, during the paperwork portion of the visit.


Families with young children will need to decide if they should or should not be present for the euthanasia. This will depend on each child’s temperament and understanding of the situation, for some it will be better to say goodbye beforehand and make arrangements for their care during the procedure.

Sometimes not all older children (or adults) in the family want to be present for any of the process, or for the final injection, and that is fine. We respect any and all feelings regarding this situation, there is no single correct way to feel or behave when we are grieving.

Children should have an age appropriate explanation beforehand of what will happen to their pet, as the loss of a family companion can be confusing and frightening if they puzzle it out themselves.

There are many books available to help explain pet loss to young children, such as “When a Pet Dies” by Fred Rogers (Mr. Rogers), “I’ll Always Love You” by Hans Wilhelm, “The Tenth Good Thing About Barney” by Judith Viorst, and “Saying Goodbye to Lulu” by Corinne Demas.

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