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Frequently Asked Questions

Why choose in-home euthanasia?

More and more people are learning about the beautiful option of in-home euthanasia for their pets. No one ever says they want to spend their final moments in a hospital. The comfort of home is what it’s all about. The many benefits of in-home euthanasia:

  • The presence of family and friends
  • Allowing your pet to rest at home / no upsetting car ride
  • The presence of other pets
  • Grieving in private
  • The ability to set a calming atmosphere i.e. candles, music, pictures, etc
  • Location selection if very personalized / inside or outside
  • Religious freedoms
  • Home burial convenience
  • Privacy afterwards, on your terms

In-home pet euthanasia opens up many wonderful possibilities for you, your family, and your beloved pet. Together, you can decide when the time is right.

How will I know it's the right time?

Knowing when the time may be right for euthanasia is very personal.  Your pet may go through slower age changes as they approach the natural end of their life OR experience faster physical and mental changes.  What’s important is to understand what is normal and abnormal for your pet.

Determining the quality of life for your pet is very individual and best determined by you and your family. There are Quality of Life worksheets that your veterinarian may be able to provide you. However, no worksheet is completely accurate and perfectly suited to every pet. The doctors listed in this directory can talk with you about the changes you see in your pet and help you determine if euthanasia is the best choice.

What if I am not ready for euthanasia yet?

Euthanasia is a very personal choice and is not right for every family or every situation. If you know your pet is sick, hurting, or has just been diagnosed with a terminal condition, and you are not ready to say goodbye, you may want to look into hospice or palliative end-of-life care until you are ready. The important thing is get help for your pet in some capacity to help alleviate pain, infection, and other symptoms your pet may be faced with as death approaches. If your pet is suffering, and you decide to let them pass on their own, we strongly recommend getting your veterinarian involved or a veterinarian who specializes in hospice care. So many of us hope that our pet will pass peacefully in the night, but this is very rare. We know that they will eventually pass on their own without our help, but the only way to ensure it is peaceful is to manage pain completely and provide comfort care. This can be a beautiful way to provide for your pet during its’ final days. If it is not an option, then euthanasia can be a wonderful gift for your pet.

What sorts of preparations need to be made beforehand?

Once you have made the decision to euthanize, you can then reflect on the following options:

  • When should it take place?
    …..best decided by your family and regular veterinarian
  • Who should be there?
    …..family, friends, other pets
  • Where should we gather?
    …..inside, outside, in a favorite place, wherever the pet is comfortable
  • How should it take place?
    …..personalized ceremony, quiet setting, etc.

The veterinarian you choose from our directory will be able to help guide you in some of these decisions. For their part, they will help decide what is best for your pet given their physical condition and comfort. Ensuring your pet passes peacefully is of the utmost importance and will be considered in all decision making.

What kinds of animals are helped?

The veterinarians within this directory will provide euthanasia primarily for domestic pets such as dogs, cats, and exotics. You may look under their expanded information to see if they help other species as well. It’s good to call and see if they can assist you. If they cannot help, they might know someone who can.

Who comes to my home?

Euthanasia must be conducted by a licensed veterinarian or licensed veterinary technician depending on where you live.  Some services will bring an assistant to help with euthanasia. It is always good to talk about who will be there during the initial call so you know what to expect. The veterinarian or veterinary team is there to make you and your pet feel comfortable and supported throughout.

How do I handle the body afterwards?

Once the decision has been made to proceed with euthanasia, aftercare arrangements need to be discussed. It is important to talk about this with everyone involved. In most areas, cremation, aquamation, or home burial will be your options. Cremation and aquamation (water-based cremation) is usually performed by the local pet crematorium, either one of your choosing or chosen by the veterinarian you are working with.

How can I honor my friend?

For many, honoring a friend is an important part of both the grieving and healing process and can be approached in many different ways. You have already been honoring your pet by giving him/her the best quality of life you could and that is what is most important. Now, as the end-of-life approaches, it can be as simple as telling a story about the good times you shared together, making or purchasing a keepsake, releasing a memorial balloon, drawing pictures, etc. There are also many memorial websites out there where you can send in a picture and story of your pet to share with other animal lovers. The most important thing about honoring your pet is that it is done with love and helps you feel good about the time you shared together.

Can challenges come up during euthanasia? Will there be complications?

We all want euthanasia to go smoothly each and every time.  With good attention of your pet’s physical health, knowledge of the drugs being used, and taking the time to get things just right, the risk of a bad experience is lessened.  A bad euthanasia is also known as a dysthanasia.  The truth is though, even with all the best preplanning and exceptional attention to detail, challenges may happen.  Euthanasia is a medical procedure and sometimes complications occur that could not be predicted; an abnormal reaction to the drugs, unexpected physical reactions, or the process taking longer than desired.  Your veterinary team will do what they can to minimize dysthanasia and strive for a gentle experience for everyone.  To learn more about dysthanasia, visit www.caetainternational.com.

Disclaimer: This website is a directory of veterinarians offering in home euthanasia within the United States. Each veterinarian is fully accredited to practice veterinary medicine in the state they are listed in. Their euthanasia protocols will depend on their preference, experience, the pet’s physical needs, and the families’ wishes. The publishers of this directory are not held responsible for any negligence caused by a veterinarian listed here.

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