Pet euthanasia: How do I know when it is time?

The decision to euthanize an animal is very personal and challenging. The right time to say goodbye is different for each person and each pet.

Euthanasia becomes an option when a pet’s quality of life diminishes. This may be due to an age-related decline or the progression of a terminal disease. In both instances, the pet owner must find peace with their decision and understand that the time has come to say goodbye. Many conflicting emotions factor into the decision to proceed with euthanasia, including guilt, uncertainty, and grief. Financial concerns are an additional consideration. For many pet owners, the situation can feel overwhelming.

How can a pet owner prepare for euthanasia of their pet?

Having a good client-veterinarian relationship is critical. If your pet has been diagnosed with a terminal disease, it is helpful to discuss medical options, prognosis, costs, palliative care, and the signs associated with declining quality of life.

 Many pets that have been diagnosed with a terminal disease have good days and bad days. When the bad days begin to outnumber the good ones, the answer may become more apparent. In addition to declining quality of life, a pet’s clinical signs may include sleeping most of the day, losing control of bodily functions, vomiting, and the inability to eat or drink.

 Home pet euthanasia is an alternative to the traditional procedure that occurs in animal hospitals and emergency clinics. It allows the pet to stay at home. They are able to stay in familiar and comfortable surroundings, like lying down on a favourite blanket, on an owner’s bed, or in a special shady spot in the backyard.

I begin with a telephone consultation to discuss your pet’s situation and explain the home pet euthanasia procedure in detail. We then discuss the different aftercare options that are available.

Clients can choose between a regular/communal cremation (no ashes returned) or a private cremation (your pet is cremated in a private chamber and their ashes returned to you in a complimentary scattering tube or silk pouch). It is also not uncommon for clients to bury their pet on their property. For more information about this, see the page: what do I do after my pet passes away?

How much does the procedure cost?

The cost of a home pet euthanasia varies depending on the weight of the pet and the choice of aftercare (i.e. regular/communal cremation or private cremation). Acceptable methods of payment include cash, E-Transfer, Visa, or MasterCard.

Can you please describe what the procedure is like?

Once I arrive at your home, I will speak with you and offer your pet a treat. I will then administer a sedative, which takes about 5-15 minutes to take effect. Your pet will be heavily sedated and will appear to be in a deep sleep. After confirming that the sedation has worked, I will proceed with either an intravenous or abdominal injection of the euthanizing agent. The medication acts as an anesthetic overdose and painlessly stops the heart from beating. The process usually takes less than thirty seconds. Finally, I will use my stethoscope to check your pet’s heart and confirm that the euthanasia is complete.

I will set up my vehicle while you say your final goodbyes and spend a few private moments with your pet. If you would like, I can create a paw print out of quick-dry plasticine free of charge, and leave decorative beads if your children wish to personalize it. After you have spent some time with your pet, I will transport them to my car, and arrange the aftercare service through Gateway.

Gateway has many different urns, keepsakes and paw prints that can be purchased to memorialise your pet. You will receive an email notification directly from Gateway once your pet’s ashes are ready to be picked up at your regular veterinary clinic.

Old age and terminal diseases are, unfortunately, a natural part of a pet’s life. It is never easy to witness a beloved pet’s decline in health. Losing them can be equivalent to losing a family member. I understand this pain and can help you through the experience, offering as much support as needed to you and your family.

Your pet deserves the best life possible, including a humane, compassionate, and stress-free ending. Let me help you along the journey.

Dr. Goldie Rosen, DVM

Dr. Goldie Rosen, DVM

Dr. Goldie Rosen is a veterinarian and founder of Rosen Home Pet Euthanasia Service, providing compassionate pet euthanasia for dogs and cats at homes in London, Sarnia, St. Thomas, Stratford, Woodstock, Hamilton, Burlington, Ancaster, Dundas, Stoney Creek and Waterdown. To book an appointment, please call 905-876-7766.

About Me

Dr. Goldie Rosen, DVM is a veterinarian and founder of Halton Veterinary House Call Services, providing pet euthanasia for dogs and cats at homes in Acton, Ancaster, Burlington, Dundas, Georgetown, Guelph, Hamilton, Milton, Mississauga, Oakville, Stoney Creek and Waterdown.

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Dr. Goldie Rosen, BSc, DVM


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