If medical treatments are no longer successful in keeping your pet happy and comfortable, we can help them end their life in comfort and dignity. Our home euthanasia service allows pets the opportunity to pass in the comfort of their homes, surrounded but their loved ones in a familiar setting.
PREPARING FOR HOME EUTHANASIA
The procedure starts with an initial injection of a sedative / pain medication under the skin that takes about 5-10 minutes to take effect. This is followed by a second injection that is given in a vein, essentially an overdose of IV anesthesia that causes a deep level of anesthesia and causes brain function to cease and stops the heart. This second injection generally takes only a minute or less to take effect.
After your pet has passed, he or she may take a few breaths; these are only reflex breaths and a natural part of the dying process. Your pet may not close his or her eyes all the way. You may also see a few mild muscle twitches for a short period of time.
We have no special instructions as far as food is concerned; if your pet is still interested in eating, you may feed any special treats or foods they will enjoy. We also have no special requirements for where the euthanasia procedure takes place; we can be wherever is most comfortable for your pet – inside on a favored bed or resting spot, or outside under a favorite tree.
After your pet has passed, you have the option of taking care of his or her body on your own (e.g. home burial), or we can arrange for cremation of your pets remains. Kitties and small dogs are wrapped in a blanket and placed in a basket for transport, while larger dogs (over 40-50#) are wrapped in a blanket and placed on a stretcher to be carried out of your home. Since our doctors generally travel alone, we do request the help of a family to help carry the larger pets. If needed, we can arrange to bring a helper to assist with this task, but this will require additional time and will limit availability.
THE EUTHANASIA PROCEDURE
Discuss who will be present for the euthanasia procedure. There are no right or wrong answers here – some family members may decide to stay, while others may prefer to be in the next room or away from the home altogether.
Decide where you would like the procedure to take place. We can work with whatever location is most comfortable for your pet, be it in their favorite bed or outside in their backyard.
Consider your options for aftercare for your pet’s remains. The most commonly available options include burial at home or at a pet cemetery, or cremation. If we help arrange for cremation of your pet, you have the option of an individual cremation with the ashes returned to you in a wooden urn, or a communal cremation with the ashes scattered in Puget Sound.
Begin to think about how you would like to say good-bye to and memorialize your pet. This can be a key part of the grieving process, especially for children. Some people may choose to hold a memorial service, light a candle, compose a poem, plant a tree, or write a story about their pet’s life. You can keep a collar, a clipping of fur, or make a paw print or scrap book to honor their memory.
Involving children in these decision-making processes can help them express their wishes and encourage them to discuss their feelings.