End-of-Life Pet Care – Paving the Path to Compassionate Farewells

Approaching the twilight of a beloved pet’s life is an emotionally tumultuous experience that every pet parent dreads yet must eventually face. We are pet owners, as well, and we understand how difficult this is.  When the time comes to say, “goodbye”, we want you, your family and your pet to be as comfortable as possible.


When to Start the Conversation on Euthanasia

The decision to euthanize a pet is often filled with complexity and doubt. Initiate the conversation early, perhaps when chronic illnesses or age-related conditions begin to diminish your pet’s joy in life. Open dialogue with your veterinarian can help determine when the time might be approaching.


Knowing When “It’s Time”

Our team can provide guidance when it comes to a pet’s quality of life. While there are no definitive signs that indicate the perfect moment to say goodbye, watching for changes in behavior and overall comfort can be helpful. We also encourage pet parents to trust their intuition – you know your pet better than anyone else.

Some people have found the Quality of Life scale (click link HHHHHMM Scale) to be helpful. It stands for  Hurt, Hunger, Hydration, Hygiene, Happiness, Mobility, and More good days than bad.


Creating a Comfortable Environment

Because we understand how momentous this transition can be – We recently added a new comfort room specifically for this purpose.  It provides a private, calming, comfortable environment with enough room for you and your family to be together during this difficult time.


Understanding the Euthanasia Procedure

When all avenues for comfort and treatment have been exhausted, euthanasia emerges as a humane option to alleviate a pet’s suffering. We understand the apprehension surrounding this procedure and strive to demystify it with a clear explanation of what to expect.


Can I be with my pet during the euthanasia procedure?

Yes, in most circumstances, pet parents are encouraged to attend to provide comfort and support to their pet during this time. If you choose to be present, keep in mind that our pets read body language better than humans.  We encourage pet parents to stay calm and keep speaking to their pet in a soothing voice.  Their hearing is acute. They can most likely hear your soothing voice, even if they don’t respond.  The decision to be present is ultimately yours.  Some people choose not to attend because it is too difficult.  If you choose not to be present – That is OK. You can rest assured that your pet will be gently cared for, soothed and comforted by our team like he/she was our own.


The Euthanasia Process

A veterinarian will typically administer a sedative to relax your pet.  This typically takes about 5-10 minutes to take effect.  After the sedative is given and your pet is relaxing, a dose of a carefully calibrated medication will be injected into a vein which allows your pet to drift into sleep.


After the Procedure

After the euthanasia procedure is complete, and your pet’s heart has stopped beating, your pet’s body may release a twitch, urinate or defecate. Do not be alarmed.  Your pet has passed and is not in any discomfort.  If it occurs, it is a normal part of the body releasing muscle tension.


Navigating Grief

Saying goodbye to a cherished pet is never easy, but it can be a meaningful and healing process. Take your time and allow yourself to grieve.

In the days and months that follow, it’s essential to take care of yourself, both physically and emotionally. Allow yourself time to grieve, seek out support from friends and loved ones, and remember your pet with love. Though they may no longer be by your side, their legacy will always live on in your heart. Remember them with fondness and gratitude for the joy and companionship they brought into your life.


Memory Books and Artifacts

Compile a memory book adorned with pictures, paw prints, and snippets of your pet’s life to cherish the moments you shared. Or consider a variety of keepsakes, from memorial stones for your garden to personalized jewelry inscribed with your pet’s name.


Commemorative Services

Participate in commemorative services, such as candle lightings or tree plantings, that celebrate your pet’s life and provide a communal space for remembrance.

Sharing stories and experiences with others who have also lost pets can bring comfort and solace.


Supporting Others in Need

Consider honoring your pet’s memory by giving back to help others in need.  Considering reaching out to a friend or family member who needs support, or volunteering to help rescued pets.


Seek Professional Support

You may find that other people don’t understand the gravity of your loss. Consider seeking support from a professional counselor or therapist who specializes in pet loss and grief. This can provide a safe space to process your emotions and find healthy coping mechanisms.


Books for the Brokenhearted

Words have the power to console, to provoke thought, and to heal. We have curated a collection of books for all ages that serve as navigational tools through the grief of pet loss. These titles are handpicked to provide solace and understanding in the wake of goodbye.

    For Adults:

    • “The Loss of a Pet” by Wallace Sife
    • “Goodbye, Friend: Healing Wisdom for Anyone Who Has Ever Lost a Pet” by Gary Kowalski
    • “See You Buddy: How To Heal After Grieving The Loss Of Your Pet” by Moe L. Aale
    • “Losing My Best Friend: Thoughtful support for those affected by dog bereavement or pet loss” by Jeannie Wycherley
    • “And I Love You Still… A Thoughtful Guide and Remembrance Journal for Healing the Loss of a Pet” by Julianne Corbin

    For Children:

    • “Dog Heaven” by Cynthia Rylant
    • “Saying Goodbye to Lulu” by Corinne Demas
    • “The Goodbye Book” by Todd Parr
    • “The Invisible Leash: An Invisible String Story About the Loss of a Pet” by Patrice Karst and Joanne Lew-Vriethoff

    FAQ on Euthanasia and the End-of-Life Journey

    My pet isn't old, and instead was unexpectedly injured or has a fatal disease. How do I make this decision and get through this?

    It can be overwhelming to make such a difficult decision in a sudden or unexpected situation. When our pets age, we often have time to prepare for this outcome. In the case of an unexpected accident or illness, your veterinarian can provide some guidance. Take the time to thoroughly discuss your pet’s condition with your veterinarian, seek guidance from loved ones, and trust your instincts. Remember that ultimately, your decision is made out of love for your pet and their well-being.

    Will my other pets understand what has happened?

    It’s hard to know for sure, as each pet may react differently. Some show significant signs of grief or confusion, while others may not display any changes in behavior. Be attentive to your remaining pets’ needs and offer them extra love and attention during this time.

    How do I cope with the guilt of deciding to euthanize my pet?

    It’s normal to feel guilt after making such a heavy decision for your pet. Remember that you made the best choice for your beloved companion, out of love and concern. Seek support from loved ones and consider talking with a grief counselor.

    How do I explain the loss of a pet to my children?

    Be honest and open with your children about what happened to their pet. Encourage them to share their feelings and emotions, and offer reassurance that it is okay to grieve and feel sad. Consider using age-appropriate books or resources to help them understand and cope with their loss. And most importantly, be there for them and offer support as they navigate through their grief.

    The loss of a pet may be the first time children encounter death, so it’s essential to approach the conversation with sensitivity and understanding. Encourage open communication and provide a safe space for them to express their feelings. Let them know that it’s okay to feel sad and that it’s normal to miss their pet. Reassure them that their pet will always hold a special place in their hearts and memories.