We strive to make this difficult time as personalized and as comfortable as possible. During your appointment, your Peaceful Passing veterinarian will assess your pet and address any concerns you may have including any aftercare wishes. You will be asked to sign a euthanasia consent form and pay for the appointment.
Our Euthanasia Procedure
The Euthanasia process begins with your euthanasia veterinarian carefully assessing your pet’s condition and tailoring the procedure to meet you and your pet’s unique needs and requests.
A medication called a sedative is first administered using a small needle under the skin. Most pets do not detect the needle but very rarely, some very sensitive pets may feel a slight sting. This sedative helps with anxiety and discomfort that your pet may have been experiencing prior to the appointment. Gradually your pet will begin to embrace the deep sleep over the course of 5-20 minutes depending on your pet’s condition. Very rarely, if your pet is very ill and fragile, this sedative may be all that is required for your pet to begin to pass and transition from life to death. If this happens, your veterinarian will still continue the process and ensure that your pet passes peacefully and pain free. Many times, this medication enables a painful or ill pet a chance to be pain free for the first time. Occasionally additional sedative is provided to ensure your pet is embraced in a deep sleep-like state and will not respond to stimuli.
The following signs may be seen in your pet during this step:
- Sometimes twitching of the legs or ears may occur as if dreaming
- Rarely vomiting (especially if pet has been vomiting already – the sedative will not usually prevent further vomiting)
- Increased urge to urinate and/or defecate
- Eyes may remain open during and after the process (this is natural and eyes may remain open whether death comes assisted or naturally)
- Deep reflexive breathing or gasping may occasionally occur (depending on your pet’s condition), as your pet proceeds through the process of transitioning. Your pet is unconscious and no longer in pain when this occurs but can be surprising to some owners
During this time you are encouraged to shower him/her with lots of love and reassurance as they slowly drift into a deep painless sleep.
Once your pet is in a deep sleep, the final medication/injection will be given either in a vein in the limb or in the belly. This determination will be carefully made by your Peaceful Passing vet based on a variety of factors including your pet’s size, level of dehydration, position and venous fragility. This second injection (an anesthetic overdose) results in a peaceful and irreversible unconsciousness followed by loss of respiration (breathing) and ultimately stoppage of the heart. If this final injection occurs in the vein (most canine patients), this step can take a few seconds to several minutes. If this injection is given in the belly, it can take considerably longer (depending on your pet’s circulation and condition). Either way, the resulting transition from life to death is painless. Your veterinarian will confirm that your pet has passed using a stethoscope and listening to the heart.
After the euthanasia, you make take as much time as you need with your pet after they have passed. You’ll have the opportunity to be with your pet throughout the entire process to help him/her to be calm and comforted. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to best help you and your pet through this very difficult time.
If elected on the Euthanasia Consent form, we will then take care of all aftercare wishes regarding your pet’s remains and will be handled in accordance to your request. This allows you to focus on taking care of yourself and your loved ones after you say goodbye.
Please Note — If at any point throughout the procedure you would like additional time or have any special requests, we will do our best to help and give you the time you need. Our goal is to help your pet’s passing be as dignified, pain free and peaceful as possible.
For touching ways to memorialize and honor your pet, please click here.
At Peaceful Passing, we believe you should be able to decide every aspect of your pet’s transition between life and death. We understand that choosing what to do with your pet’s remains is an extremely personal decision, and we want to completely honor your wishes. Personal belief systems, cost, and local regulations can all affect your decision.
Private Cremation – This option ensures that your pet is cremated individually and the remains are respectfully returned to you in an urn. Once you have the ashes, you can decide if you want to bury them, scatter them, or keep them inside an urn or other keepsake. Our private cremation clients have the choice of traditional flame-based creation or water-based (Aquamation). We do have limited availability for aquamation, so please ask your Peaceful Passing veterinarian if this is available in your area.
Communal Cremation – We also offer communal cremation options for a lower price. With this option, your pet is cremated with others and the ashes are ceremoniously spread on the crematorium grounds or another location.
Private Burial – If your city/county regulations allow, you can choose to bury your pet on your personal property. Please check local regulations to see if this is legal in your area.
Cemetery Burial – Many areas have pet cemeteries where you can bury your pet and mark the grave so you can visit when you want to pay your respects. If you want to bury your pet in a cemetery, you must usually make arrangements ahead of the euthanasia procedure. Please let your Peaceful Passing veterinarian know if you plan for a cemetery burial so they can make the necessary arrangements.
Preservation – Some people choose to preserve a lifelike reconstruction of their pet. If you are interested in this option, we recommend contacting a taxidermist to determine the most ideal method of storing your pet’s remains after passing. Please share this information with your Peaceful Passing veterinarian as soon as possible.
Donation – Some areas allow pet owners to donate their pet’s remains for research or teaching purposes. This method provides invaluable learning opportunities for future veterinarians and pet nurses. If you are interested in this method, please contact a veterinary teaching hospital or university prior to euthanasia to determine the best means of transportation. They might have questions for your regular veterinarian about your pet’s general health and diagnosis.
Necropsy – an autopsy performed on animals by board certified veterinary pathologists to determine cause of death.
Deceased Pet Pick-up
What if your pet has passed away already? We recommend as soon as you become aware of your pet’s passing, to please locate a Peaceful Passing vet in your area and reach out to them for assistance on this matter. If your Peaceful Passing veterinarian is not available, please see list of other house call vets who may be able to help (will be located on each vet’s page). Alternatively you may transport your pet yourself to a pet emergency clinic or any location that handle’s pet aftercare.