Common Questions and Concerns

The final moments of your pet's life can be scary and confusing for your family. While we like to believe that we will just "know when the time is right," it is not always so simple. Dr. Cate can help you assess your pet's quality of life in order to make the kindest decisions for your pet. Below are some common questions about end-of-life that can help provide guidance during this difficult time.

Is in-home euthanasia a good choice for my pet, rather than taking them to my vet's office?

Although it may not be the right choice for every family, there are many benefits to choosing humane euthanasia for your pet at home instead of taking them to your regular vet's office. 

For scared or anxious pets, in-home euthanasia allows them to be in the comfort of their own familiar surroundings, in their favorite spot with familiar faces and smells. This allows them to be at ease at home. It offers your family an option for less stress and pain for pets who are difficult to move due to their size or ailments. It allows other pets in the home to be present, which can help them grieve the loss of their friend. In-home euthanasia also allows more family members or friends to be present than in a veterinary office room, and gives you the ability to grieve the loss of your pet in private. 

How much advanced notice do I need to schedule an in-home euthanasia for my pet?

Typically, appointments are available with 24-72 hour notice, depending on already scheduled appointments. The best effort is made to accommodate short-notice appointments, but if accommodation is not possible, Dr. Cate may be able to recommend alternative veterinarians to contact.

What should I expect during humane euthanasia?

Upon arrival to your home, Dr. Cate will go over a small amount of paperwork and take payment (cash, check, or credit cards are accepted). She will then explain the procedure to you before she begins. 

Dr. Cate will start by giving your pet an injection of pain and relaxation medications, so that they are as comfortable as possible in their last moments. This medication typically takes about 5-10 minutes to take effect, but you are welcome to spend as much time as you need with your pet when they are sedated to say goodbye. When you are ready, Dr. Cate will then give a final injection of an anesthetic medication that will quickly cause unconsciousness and then gently and peacefully stop the heart. Your pet may experience some intermittent or deep breathing, mild muscle twitching, or may release his or her bladder or bowels. These are all normal reactions. This is a kind and humane way to assist our pet's passing, and does not cause any pain or distress. Dr. Cate will then use a stethoscope to confirm the passing of your pet.

How long do appointments last?

Most appointments take 30-60 minutes.

What do I need to do to prepare for the appointment?

There are no specific preparations needed for the appointment, but you should determine who you would like present for the procedure, as well as where you would like your pet to be in his or her final moments. Perhaps you would like them on their bed, their favorite blanket, the couch, or your lap. You may want to be inside or you can choose to be outside, weather permitting, if that is where your pet is most comfortable. 

Should I give my pet his or her regularly prescribed medications on the day of the appointment?

Your pet may be given any prescribed medication as normal, especially those that help alleviate pain, stress, or nausea. None of these medications will interfere in the process.

What happens to my pet's body after they have passed?

After your pet has passed, Dr. Cate will give you time alone with them to say your final goodbyes. It is encouraged to allow your other pets at home a moment to say goodbye as well. 

Dr. Cate will discuss Cremation and Aftercare options with you prior to the procedure to ensure that she knows your wishes for your pet's remains. After the procedure, your pet will be transported for humane cremation, unless you have elected burial at home. You will have the option to have your pet's ashes returned to you, along with a clay paw print, if you wish. 

If you elect to bury your pet at home or arrange cremation services yourself, Dr. Cate will quietly leave so that you may have privacy to say your goodbyes and perform your burial service or transport your pet for cremation.