How do I know when it’s time to choose euthanasia for my pet?

Deciding to say goodbye to your beloved family pet is never easy. It is perfectly natural to feel a wide range of emotions while you are faced with this decision, and it is totally normal to waver back and forth when considering factors such as their overall prognosis, level of pain and their overall quality of life.

This quality-of-life scale can be a helpful resource for you and your family in your decision-making process. We also offer a quality-of-life assessment if you need more support.

Just remember that making this decision in no way diminishes the wonderful life that you have given them. Sometimes the kindest thing we can do for our pet is to give them a peaceful and compassionate goodbye.

Do I need an appointment to euthanize my pet?

Yes, we do ask that you call to make an appointment so that we can ensure that our team members are available to assist you and your pet.

Due to the nature of these appointments, we try to accommodate them as quickly as possible, but ask that you contact us 24 hours in advance if possible.

How long will the euthanasia process take?

Typically these appointments take anywhere from 20-45 minutes. We want to make sure that you feel supported through this process and aim to ensure that you do not feel rushed during such a sensitive time.

Do I have to be present for the euthanasia?

Some people find comfort in spending those last moments with their pet, while others are not comfortable being present. You can stay for as much or as little as you are comfortable with.

Can other family members be present during the Euthanasia?

Yes, family members are welcome to come to the appointment. If you have a large group of family members, we ask that you bring just the core members of your family to the appointment and have any extended family members say goodbye at home.

Should I bring my kids to the euthanasia appointment, and how do I talk to my kids about it?

This will be different for each family and should be considered carefully before saying goodbye to your family pet. It is important to consider your child’s age and emotional maturity while making this decision. If your child is old enough to understand, it may help to explain what is about to happen and give them the choice to be present. If your children attend the euthanasia, consider having a partner, family member or friend present to assist if they become too upset to stay.

Alternatively, you could have children say goodbye while your pet is still awake and return once the euthanasia is complete to say a final goodbye. This will bring closure without having to watch.

Another way to create closure for your child is to have a funeral or small memorial service at home at which you scatter or bury your pet’s ashes in their favorite spot in the yard.

You can find more resources about how to talk to your kids about pet loss here.

Can I bring other pet’s to the euthanasia appointment?

Yes, you are welcome to bring another pet to the appointment if you wish, though if vet visits are stressful for any of your pets we suggest leaving them at home.

Does euthanasia hurt?

It is normal to worry that the process will be unpleasant for your pet. Euthanasia is a two-part process in which your pet is given a sedative to help them relax and become sleepy. There may be some discomfort associated with this initial injection depending on your pet’s pain tolerance and how they have reacted to injections in the past. From there, an IV catheter is placed for the administration of the anesthetic agent used for euthanasia. Neither of these medications are painful to administer and your pet will drift off to a peaceful sleep.

What can I expect to see as my pet passes away?

While your pet is sedated and/or during the administration of the euthanasia solution, you may notice your pet take a few deep breaths or begin to pant. Please note that this is the body’s response to the medication, and this is not a sign of pain or distress. Urination or defecation may occur during the sedation or euthanasia process, and eyes will not close once your pet has passed away. The diaphragm is a muscle which can sometimes contract and make it look like your pet is taking a breath even after they have passed. A member of our animal care team will listen for the heart and let you know when your pet has passed.