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.
Only you can decide the type of aftercare you would like for your beloved pet after he/she has passed. We feed the sanctity of the aftercare process is extremely important and the choice of care for your pet’s remains is a deeply personal one. Below are 3 basic options to choose from after your pet has passed. Your choice will ultimately reflect a combination of factors including your personal belief system, costs, consideration of local regulations in your area and how you would best like to honor your pet’s life.
Private Cremation – With this option your pet is cremated individually and your pet is returned to you in an urn. You can then choose how you would like to handle the ashes which can then be buried, scattered, kept in an urn or incorporated into a keepsake. Private cremation can be performed using either flame based (traditional) cremation or water-based cremation (Aquamation – limited availability but ask your Peaceful Passing veterinarian if this option is available in your area).
Communal Cremation – With this option, your pet is cremated with other pets and thus you will not have your pets ashes returned to you. Usually the combined ashes are then respectfully scattered on the crematorium grounds or other location. Communal cremation is a less pricey option.
Private Burial – Most people are familiar with this option where you bury your pet on personal property, but this option is not legally available to everyone and local city/county regulations need to be followed when considering private burial.
Cemetery Burial – If there is a pet cemetery in your area, you have the option of having your pet buried there where you can visit your pet’s gravesite which is similar to human cemeteries. There are costs involved and it is best to contact your local pet cemetery regarding arrangements. Also it is very important to inform your Peaceful Passing Veterinarian if this option is one you’re considering as arrangements may be required ahead of the euthanasia process.
Taxidermy or other types of Preservation – If you are interested in the preservation and lifelike reconstruction of your pet, we recommend choosing and contacting your taxidermist to determine most ideal means of storing your pets remains after passing and letting your Peaceful Passing veterinarian know of your request as soon as possible.
Donation of your Pet’s body for Research or Teaching – This option may not be available in all areas but if it is, it can be an invaluable teaching opportunity for future veterinarians and pet nurses. Please reach out to a veterinary teaching hospital or university to determine the best means of transportation prior to the euthanasia appointment if possible. Sometimes information regarding your pet’s general health and any diagnoses are required from your regular veterinarian.
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.