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Services » At-Home Pet Euthanasia

Give Your Pet a Peaceful Passing in the Comfort of Home

One of the hardest things we do as pet owners is watching them age and worry that we are doing everything we can for them. There may come a time when we wonder if we are extending their suffering too far. Making the decision is often a difficult and emotional process that many describe as heartbreaking or the hardest thing they have ever had to do. Others may feel immense guilt or procrastinate and avoid making the decision altogether. Although it’s difficult, planning an at-home euthanasia for your ailing pet is usually the kindest and most humane thing that you can do. Some people have a difficult time with the thought of euthanasia. Keep in mind that the illness, disease, or injury is causing the end of life, not you. We will help you create a peaceful passing for your pet at home, and will help you navigate the process so that healing may begin.

The Advantages and Comfort of Home

It can be comforting for both you and your pet to be at home during this difficult time. Your pet will be more relaxed and comfortable in a familiar and secure place – in his bed or under her favorite tree. The home setting also allows a more personal experience for the whole family, and gives everyone a chance to say goodbye. Other advantages include:

  • Children: The loss of a pet can be particularly difficult for children to understand. At home, children feel secure and are free to express their emotions openly.
  • Surviving Animals: At-home euthanasia also helps your surviving companion animals understand what has happened, and will help them grieve.
  • Fear Free: Proponents of the Fear Free veterinary and pet services philosophy, such as Dr. Marty Becker, advocate home euthanasia as being the best option that aligns with the Fear Free movement.
  • At-home euthanasia is the best gift you can ever give your pet, where they can pass on surrounded by your love and the comfort of their home environment.

How to Prepare for the Visit

  • Decide who you would like to be present.
  • If a family member can’t be present, allow them to say goodbye before the appointment. They can also attend by video call using FaceTime, Zoom, and more.
  • Ask questions and speak openly about your wishes and concerns with the doctor.
  • Decide what setting you will have – music playing, a special blanket or toy.
  • There are many remembrance options after your pet has passed. You may wish to bury your pet on your property or in a pet cemetery. You may also cremate your pet and keep the ashes or scatter them in her favorite spot – see our Aftercare section.
  • Remember to take time with these decisions.
  • Be aware that you will feel a wide scope of emotions before, during, and after the euthanasia. Allow yourself to grieve for your pet.
  • Recognize that if you have multiple companion animals, that it is normal for them to grieve too. We recommend your other companion animals are given the opportunity to say goodbye as well, to help with their grief.

What to Expect During a Home Euthanasia

Euthanasia and Your Pet’s Final Moments

We will obtain your authorization, either by e-signature sent through TeleVet or in person at the visit. This authorization gives your assurance that your pet has not bitten anyone in the last 10 days and permission for our veterinarian to proceed. The doctor will also get final confirmation of your aftercare decisions. We will get credit card information for payment when you schedule your appointment or you can pay by check or cash at the appointment. (Our doctors do not carry change, so the cash must be exact.)

On Arrival

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). 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.