Trying to make a decision about euthanasia for your pet is a very difficult process. No one wants to decide prematurely, but on the other hand, no one wants to wait too long. Many owners express a wish for their pets to simply go peacefully at home when it’s ‘their time.’ Sadly, very few pets pass peacefully and quietly on their own, and often have been suffering for some time before they finally die. It’s our number one job as their caretakers to make sure that when their time comes, they go with dignity and prior to losing all quality of life. Often the hardest part is separating our best interest from our pets’ best interest. Understandably no one wants to say goodbye, but it’s a very selfless thing to let your best friend go for their sake.
So how do you know when their time has come? Dr. Noel and her staff will help you navigate making this decision. It’s a combination of what’s best for the pet and for the family. Everyone is different and views their ability to care for sick and elderly pets differently. The simple standards for quality of life are eating, drinking, expressing bowls, and urinating regularly. The next standard is individual for each pet – are they still excited about that car ride, are they resting comfortably and in normal places, do they still want to play with their favorite toys, can they navigate the stairs in the house, can they be left alone? Finally, we must discuss medical conditions and prognosis. If we know things are only going to get worse, then we must do everything we can to not allow our pets to suffer needlessly. Helping you create the best quality of life for what time your pet has left is of utmost importance. Appropriate therapeutic and pain medications may be recommended, along with special diets and safe living accommodations.
When the day has come to finally euthanize your pet, it can be done either at South Arbor or your home. You can elect to be present or not for any or all of this. A heavy sedative is given first as an intramuscular injection. This allows your pet to relax and to ultimately be sleeping and unaware of any pain or stress. Sometimes a catheter is placed, but not always. A final intravascular injection is given with the euthanasia solution. This drug will very quickly stop brain function, and then ultimately cardiac function. You have the option to take your pet’s body home and bury it or have it cremated.
We use Faithful Companion for our cremation services. They offer to make a clay paw print of your pet prior to cremation if you’d like. You can request a group cremation where your pet is cremated with other pets and you do NOT receive ashes back, or you can request a private cremation where your pet is cremated privately and you DO receive their ashes back. We try and make this process as peaceful as possible for you and your pet. We often ask for the invoice to be settled prior to actually performing the euthanasia so that once it’s done you can sit with your pet as long as you’d like and leave discreetly without any interference from us.