What To Expect

tallcolumn_250Euthanasia and Your Pet’s Final Moments

First, an authorization must be signed to perform Euthanasia and ensure your pet has not recently bitten anyone. This is usually a good time to take care of the charges and confirm final arrangements. Payment may be made with cash or personal check; credit cards can also be used with prior notice.

After the paperwork is completed and everyone present is ready, the doctor will give the pet a sedative shot to help him relax and prevent any unnecessary stress or pain during the final injection. Your pet will gradually pass into a deep sleep–this may take up to 15 minutes. During this time, you should feel free to continue to talk to and comfort your pet.

Once your pet is in a state of deep sleep/sedation and you have said your final good-byes, the doctor will inject an overdose of a very powerful anesthetic (a euthanasia solution) into a vein. This last shot will stop the heart and respiration, usually within a minute or two. Although your pet will be unconscious, you may continue to comfort and touch your friend throughout the entire procedure. Your pet will remain unconscious during this injection and will not feel any pain or discomfort.

Some things to be aware of…

In most cases once the animal is sedated, and even after death, the eyes usually do not shut completely, even if someone tries to shut them. Although euthanasia solution induces rapid clinical death there can be muscular reflex movements, last breaths, or even vocalization, though this is very rare. Sometimes the bladder and/or bowels release after the pet is gone as well.


Pet Loss Support

Michigan State University Pet Loss Support
The hotline is staffed by veterinary student volunteers from 6:30pm to
9:30 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays (517) 432-2696

Humane Society of West Michigan provides a free support group for anyone who is grieving the loss (or the impending loss) of a companion animal. Anyone who considers an animal a beloved friend, companion, or family member knows the intense pain that accompanies the loss of that friend.

Suggested Reading:

  • Saying Good-bye to the Pet You Love
    Lorri Greene, PhD and Jacquelyn Landis, New Harbinger Publications, 2002
  • Coping with Sorrow on the Loss of Your Pet
    Moira Anderson, Peregrine Press, 1994.
  • The Human-Animal Bond and Grief
    Laurel Lagoni, Carolyn Butler & Suzanne Hetts, W.B. Saunders and Company, 1994.
  • Preparing for the Loss of Your Pet
    Myrna Milani, DVM, Prima Publishing, 1988.
  • Oh Where Has My Pet Gone?: A Pet Loss Memory Book, Ages 3-103
    Sally Sibbitt, B. Libby Press, 1991.
  • The Loss of a Pet
    Wallace Sife, Howell Books, 1998.
  • The Tenth Good Thing About Barney
    Judith Viorst, Athenum, 1971.
  • Charlotte’s Web
    E.B. White, Harper Junior, 1952.


Compassionate home care for your companions!
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