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Hospice & Euthanasia Service

What is Pet Euthanasia?

Euthanasia for one's pet is a topic people rarely like to think about as it is usually very emotionally painful for the owner. However, there is a difference between dwelling on the inevitable and being responsibly prepared for when it is time to say goodbye to your pet. As a steward of your pet, you are responsible for your pet's care and welfare. Euthanasia literally means "A good and/or easy death" in Greek; you can also think of it as a release from living in a physically painful body after having lived a fulfilled life. It is difficult for people to ask questions about having their pet euthanized, so we have tried to answer questions that owners have to make the process as comfortable as possible.


Saying good-bye to a beloved pet is one of the most difficult situations a pet owner will ever encounter, but trying to decide when it is time to say good-bye can be even more difficult. There are times when all the capabilities of medical science have been exhausted and euthansia is the only way to prevent an animal from suffering needlessly.  It can be a financial, medical, moral, religious, ethical, and sometimes legal consideration.  The following information is meant to help pet owners prepare themselves for the day when they have to endure the physical departure of their loved one.


How do you know when it is time?

Deciding when your pet may need hospice care or euthanasia is a very personal and private decision, but we can help you and provide advice as to when the time is right. If your pet cannot enjoy life as it once did in a normal manner, or appears to be experiencing more pain than pleasure, is terminally ill or critically injured, you may need to consider euthanasia. It is rare that a situation demands an immediate decision and you will usually have time to review the facts and your veterinarian's opinion before making one. We understand the human bond with pets and can help advise you, but the ultimate decision lies with you and your family. Therefore, it is important that you understand your pet's condition completely.


One of the kindest things that can be done for a pet that is extremelyill, or so severely injured that it will never be able to have a good quality of life, is to have a veterinarian end that life quietly and humanely through euthanasia. This is a very serious decision, but does not have to be a solitary one. Your veterinarian, family, or close friends can help you make a properly informed decision. As quality of life is important for pets and people alike, consider not only what is best for your pet, but also what is best for your family.


Once the decision has been made for euthasia, what can I expect?

Oftentimes, owners will ponder euthanasia for their pet, but still want a thorough examination performed to reassure them of their decision, and this is completely acceptable. When you call to schedule an appointment for the euthanasia, we try to select a time that is convenient for you, and gather information from you as to what yo would like to have done, i.e. exam. Upon arrival, we try to get you into an exam room as quickly as possible and will ask you to sign a Euthanasia Release Form.


Your veterinarian or technician may administer a tranquilizer first to relax your pet. We offer, and often encourage, a sedation injection for pets who are anxious or nervous, or if clients want the euthanasia to happen as quiet and peaceful as possible. Euthanasia is most often accomplished for pets by injection of a death-inducing drug. Following injection of the euthanasia drug, your pet will be immediately and irreversibly unconscious. Death will be quick and quite painless.


Many people feel it is important to be present during euthanasia, while others feel unable to handle this traumatic event. If you believe your pet will feel more comfortable or secure in your presence, you'll probably want to stay, no matter how difficult it will be for you. However, if you are concerned that your own reactions and grief may disturb your pet more than the process itself, you may prefer to stay away. Thus, you also have the option of being present or not; either way, when we perform the procedure, we are there for your pet, comforting and speaking softly to them to ease their transition. As the pet owner, you have the choice of either taking your pet home with you afterwards, or leaving him or her for an individual or mass cremation. If your pet has a favorite blanket or toy, you may eave that with him or her for the cremation. Individual cremations are returned to you within one to two weeks, and you will receive a phone call when the remains are ready to be picked up.


Thinking about euthanasia for your pet is never an easy thing to do, but we hope that this information will be of assistance to you and eliminate any unknowns that may be troubling you. As always, if you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We want to help you be as informed as possible so you may prepare in your own way for the euthanizing of a beloved pet.