Frequently Asked Questions

At your appointment, Dr. Katie will assess your pet and talk to you about your wishes during and after the procedure.  Please feel free to ask her any questions you have about the process, so you have a better understanding of each stage.

  • Please let your veterinarian know if you prefer to do the procedure in a certain area of your home, like by your pet’s favorite spot for napping, or if you want to create a certain atmosphere with a special ceremony
  • We require you to sign a euthanasia consent form and payment for the appointment at the before or at the start of the visit
  • Your veterinarian begins by sedating your pet with a small needle – most animals do not even feel the sedative, although some might experience a very slight pinch and within about twenty minutes your pet will fall into a deep and pain-free twilight
  • We use pain medication and anesthetics to make your pet comfortable as they peacefully go into a twilight stage, and you have the option to be with them the entire time
    • As your pet falls asleep, you might notice some of the following:
      • Twitching of the legs or ears
      • Open eyes
      • Deep breathing, or breathing pattern changes
    • These are natural physical reactions and can take place whether death is natural or assisted and are no cause for alarm – please ask questions during the procedure for any clarity
    • Once your pet is comfortable and anesthetized, the final medication is given – depending on your pet’s medical condition and size, the veterinarian will either inject this in a vein or another painless alternative route, which Dr. Katie will walk you through at the appointment
    • This final medication causes peaceful unconsciousness that eventually leads to cessation of breathing and, finally, stops the heart
      • Your pet may unconsciously release urine or feces as they pass away, we will keep them clean and dignified if this occurs
    • You can spend as much time as you want with your pet once the euthanasia is complete, with or without the veterinarian present
  • Whether you want to be present or step out for any part of the process, your comfort level is honored
  • Please let us know if there is anything you need throughout any phase of the process, our goal is to help your pet’s passing be as dignified, pain-free, and peaceful as possible
  • A physical exam for your pet if you wish, and a chat about Quality of Life if you are questioning making one of the hardest decisions you can for another being
  • All medications and the procedure itself
  • Your aftercare wishes will be respected – and if you choose private cremation urn selections will be made at the appointment before we begin the procedure
  • If you’d like mementos to celebrate their life after passing, a clay pawprint and fur clipping are made at the appointment after the procedure
  • A courtesy notification of your pet’s peaceful passing will be sent to your veterinarian’s office
  • If your aftercare wishes include Dr. Katie transporting your pet for cremation, we will lovingly transfer your pet to her vehicle either in a basket (small pets) or on a stretcher (large pets)
    • If your pet is over 40 pounds, Dr. Katie will need assistance with the stretcher as it is often most respectfully done by two or more people
    • If you are unable to assist, please contact a family member, friend, or neighbor for this aspect of the process – call ahead of the appointment with as much notice as possible if you are unable to make these arrangements
  • Please let us know if there is anything you need throughout any phase of the process, our goal is to help your pet’s passing be as dignified, pain-free, and peaceful as possible
  • Check state and local municipality laws prior to electing home burial to ensure regulations are followed
  • This is a question we often receive as veterinarians and can sometimes there is no straight forward answer – the answer involves factors such as your pet’s disease condition, availability of palliative and hospice care, and caretaker limitations. However, there are some signs, such as:
    • Your pet is having trouble breathing, experiencing weakness, or displaying extreme lethargy
    • Your pet has nausea, frequent vomiting, or diarrhea that cannot be resolved by treatment from a veterinarian and is resulting in weight loss or dehydration
    • Your pet experiences chronic and intractable pain that doesn’t go away even with medication
    • Cat pain resources:
    • Dog pain resources:
    • Your pet finds it very painful or difficult to walk or cannot get up, or mobility is limited and unable to be helped by mobility aids, home modifications, or medications
    • Your pet is refusing to eat or drink
    • Your pet is having trouble urinating or defecating
    • Your pet has had a significant behavior change and has lost interest in surroundings, family activities, or their favorite activities
    • Our goal is to help you with making the best decision and help create the most peaceful experience for families facing end-of-life decisions for their companion animals. If you are unsure of this decision, even after reviewing some of the resources available on this page, please know that we are only a phone call away

Grief is different for everyone; you’ll start to know when the time for healing is right for you. Here are just a few resources designed to help you grieve, enabling you to live your life comfortably with fond memories of your friend, and the peaceful at-home passing gift you provided them.

  • Anticipatory grief
    • Anticipatory grief occurs prior to actually losing your pet, and consists of a range of emotions that are normal and experienced by a lot of pet caregivers
    • Often times caring for our terminally ill pets is challenging, and requires a lot of emotional labor on the family’s part – often times frequent vet visits, strict medicine schedules and routines, and financial limitations are imposed
    • These care limitations often are what feed anxiety surrounding a pet’s passing, and they can overwhelm you and the entire pet’s care team
    • Advanced planning will help alleviate much of your anxiety so you can focus on providing your pet with a compassionate passing.
    • Making your pet’s last days extra special, maybe with checking off some bucket list items, can also help alleviate your anxiety surrounding their passing:
      • Beach visit or hike
      • Extra special snacks, cat nip, and toys
      • Sunning on the porch or deck
      • Visits by loved ones who are unable to make the appointment
    • What type of peaceful passing do I envision?
      • Is my pet still eating? Should I prepare their favorite things to snack on?
        • Often times pets will get to enjoy “forbidden” items like chocolate or fast food that they are not normally allowed to have – it is more than ok, if your pet is eating and not nauseated, to provide this to them on their last day
      • Do I have a specific location in mind?
        • Dr. Katie is open to performing the procedure in yards, and in beds, surrounded by all those that love your pet, and anywhere else you can think of that you envision your pet to be most at peace
      • How do I feel about euthanasia?
        • Am I understanding of the process? Do I have any questions?

Have questions? Give us a call, we would love to help.

(603) 558-5866