We often hear questions about what to expect during a home euthanasia appointment. After several years of working with pets and families at home, we have a good idea of what works best to bring comfort to the pet and people who are present. Here is what you can expect in general. Within this framework, we welcome special arrangements such as prayer, silence, music or poetry or anything that brings you comfort.
Appointment process: After arriving, our doctors enjoy meeting the pet and spending a few minutes discussing their condition. We administer a small sedative injection to help relieve pain and discomfort, as well as to relax and help the pet sleep. This simple injection is administered under the skin over the shoulders, for example. After about 10-15 minutes, when the pet is comfortable and in a relaxed and sleepy state, we administer the second injection into a vein to stop the heart and brain activity. This will occur within just a minute or so. The pet is not aware of any discomfort with this medication, as they are very sleepy and mostly unaware of what is happening. Following this medication, the doctor will very carefully listen for heart sounds with a stethoscope to confirm that the pet has passed away. We make a paw print impression in clay for people who wish to have one. All together we plan 45-60 minutes for the appointment.
Setting: Any room in the home is fine. We often see pets who are most comfortable on their bed or on the sofa. The floor is also fine. Our doctors are comfortable working virtually anywhere there is space to work with the pet. It is wonderful to be outside when the weather cooperates.
Cleanliness: Our doctors bring everything needed to keep the area clean and dry. There is no need to prepare anything special in the home.
Dehydration: We are experienced and comfortable working with elderly pets and those who may be experiencing dehydration. Our doctors are comfortable administering medications under these circumstances and are equipped to handle situations that occasionally arise where a vein is difficult to access.
Eating: The pet can follow their regular routine for eating and drinking on the day of the appointment. They can also take any medications as needed for pain, for example.
Transport: We take great care in making sure the pet is handled with care and dignity after death. If our doctor is arranging cremation services, the pet will be comfortably transported in a blanket with the possible additional use of a bin or stretcher for added security in the vehicle. For pets over 40 pounds, our doctor will need assistance from one other person to help carry the pet to the vehicle.