Pet Euthanasia FAQs

How do I know when it’s time?
What should I do?

Eventually, many owners are faced with making end-of-life decisions for their pets. Such a decision may become necessary for the welfare of the pet and your family. Consider not only what is best for your pet, but also what is best for you and your family. For example, if your pet has an injury or disease that requires more care than you and your family can give to make sure it has a good quality of life, euthanasia may be the right decision. Quality of life is important for pets and people alike.

How will I know when?
If your pet can no longer experience the things it once enjoyed, cannot respond to you in its usual ways, or appears to be experiencing more pain than pleasure, you may need to consider euthanasia. Likewise, if your pet is terminally ill or critically injured, or if the financial or emotional cost of treatment is beyond your means, euthanasia may be a valid option. Sometimes asking yourself the question, “Does my pet have more bad days than good days?” can help you make the decision.

We understand your bond with your pet and can examine and evaluate your pet’s condition, estimate its chances for recovery, and discuss any potential disabilities, special needs and long-term problems. We can explain medical and surgical options as well as risks and possible outcomes. Because we cannot make the euthanasia decision for you, it is important that you fully understand your pet’s condition. If there is any part of the diagnosis or the possible effects on your pet’s future that you don’t understand, please ask questions that will help you understand. Although there are times when the decision needs to be made immediately, you usually will have some time to review the facts and discuss them with your family and friends before making the decision.

How do I tell my family?
Family members usually are already aware of a pet’s problems. However, you should review with them the information you have received from us. Long-term medical care can be a burden that you and your family may be unable to bear emotionally or financially, and this should be discussed openly and honestly. Encourage family members to express their thoughts and feelings. Even if you have reached a decision, it is important that family members, especially children, have their thoughts and feelings considered. Children have special relationships with their pets and should not be excluded from the decision-making process because they might seem too young to understand. Preventing children from participating in the process may only complicate and prolong their grief process. Children respect straightforward, truthful and simple answers. If they are prepared adequately, children usually are able to accept a pet’s death.

Will it be painless?
The euthanasia procedure is performed in two stages. When you are ready, a sedative is given to your pet to relax it. This intramuscular injection causes a brief stinging sensation. If desired, you will be left alone for 5-10 minutes of private time with your pet while the sedative takes effect. Once your pet is relaxed, an IV catheter is placed and the final euthanasia drug is administered. Your pet will immediately become deeply and irreversibly unconscious as the drug stops brain function. Death is quick and painless. Your pet may move its legs or head or breathe deeply several times after the drug is given, but these are reflexes and don’t mean that your pet is in pain or is suffering.

How can I say goodbye?

The act of saying goodbye is an important step in managing the natural and healthy feelings of grief and sorrow following the loss of a beloved friend and companion.

Once the euthanasia decision has been made, you and other family members may want to say goodbye to your pet. A last evening with your pet at home or a visit to the pet at the hospital may be appropriate. Family members who want to be alone with the pet should be allowed to do so. Some pet owners choose to be present during their pet’s euthanasia, but others choose to say goodbye beforehand and not be present during euthanasia. This is a very personal decision and you should do what feels right for you. Do not let others pressure you into making a choice that makes you uncomfortable.

What are my options for my pet’s remains?
It is sometimes easier to discuss what you want done with the remains of your pet’s body before your pet is euthanized—by making arrangements prior to the euthanasia appointment. It can bring some degree of comfort to know what will be done with your pet’s body, and you will not have to focus on these decisions while you are grieving the loss of your beloved pet. We have several options available to you:

  • Burial– You are welcome to take your pet home with you for burial in a spot of your choosing (outside of the city limits).
  • Group Cremation—Your pet will be cremated along with other pets and ashes will not be returned to you.
  • Private Cremation—Your pet will be cremated individually and its ashes will be returned to you in a wooden memorial box. A two-line engraved name plate may be added to the box for an additional fee. The first line can have 9 characters and the second line can have 14 characters.
  • If you choose Group or Private Cremation, you may also choose to have a clay impression made of your pet’s paw on terra cotta clay. A display easel is included.
  • Another option with Group or Private Cremation is a Paw Print Plaque. This 9”x12” plaque includes a memorial clay paw print, name plate and a 5” x 7” photo holder with the “Rainbow Bridge” poem. (Poem can be removed and a photo can be inserted.)
  • We also have a book of special order urns and other memorial items that you are welcome to choose from.

Please call us for pricing on all of the above options. You may wish to fill out the required paperwork and/or pre-pay prior to your euthanasia appointment

Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.
~Anatole France