End of Life Veterinary Service & Care
Welcome to Pets Passing
None of us like to think about it, but the reality is – loving our animals often means we will face the end of that pet’s life. And unfortunately, that end usually involves euthanasia, or putting your pet to sleep. It will always be sad, but it is the final gift we give our pets, freeing them from their pain.
A True Family Member
When the time comes, there are ways to make the passing less stressful for both you and your pet. Here at Pets Passing, we understand what you are going through. I’m not only a Veterinarian, I’m also a pet owner, and I’ve been there, too. I know that most times, at- home euthanasia is far less stressful for all involved. Our pets are more relaxed in their own environment, surrounded by love, and so are we.
Our goal is to make the passing of your beloved pet as peaceful, calm and easy as possible.
In Home Euthanasia
Here at Pets Passing, we understand that this is a difficult time. Allow us to answer your questions and concerns with our FAQs and procedural questions below
Make a time for your entire family to say goodbye. If you have children, explain what’s happening in advance to help them prepare for the loss of their friend. The American Humane Association recommends books such as Fred Rogers’ When a Pet Dies as a way to provide comfort and understanding for children. See our FAQ page for additional information.
You may want to sit with your pet so you can comfort them while the vet gives them the medication.
Many vets give the pet a shot of sedative before the euthanasia drug. The vet will explain to you what he’s doing and where he’s giving the shot. The shot may sting a little bit, and the drug can have side effects. Talk to your vet about whether your pet should get it. If your pet is very sick and already quiet or has trouble breathing he or she may not need it.
The euthanasia medication most vets use is pentobarbital, a seizure medication. In large doses, it quickly renders the pet unconscious. It shuts down heart and brain functions usually within one or two minutes. It is given by an IV injection, usually in one of the pet’s legs.
When your pet passes, their eyes may not fully close. They may urinate or defecate. You may see them twitch or take a final gasping breath. This can be startling, but it is completely normal and does not mean your pet is in pain. The use of an initial sedative makes these reactions less noticeable and less likely.
Making the decision to put your pet to sleep is one of the hardest decisions the dedicated pet-parent will have to make. We want what’s best for our animals, and none of want to see our pets in pain. But how do you make that decision? Too early and you may deprive your pet of a few days, but too late and your pet could suffer needlessly. It’s not about the number of their days – it’s about the quality of those days. It will always be your call, but here are a few things to consider
Pain – This is probably the easiest one. If your pet is in pain that cannot be controlled with medication, then obviously something needs to be done to minimize their suffering.
Distress – This can include persistent or increasing restlessness, anxiety, whimpering, fear or disorientation. It’s naturally upsetting to both the pet and the owner especially if the pet’s distress cannot be controlled with medication.
Difficulty Breathing, this could be a sign of many things, but when your pet can’t get enough oxygen it affects its entire body. They may feel like they are drowning or suffocating which can cause distress.
Other considerations in evaluating your pet’s quality of life include:
–Control of nausea and vomiting.
–Hunger, or lack thereof, where the animal refuses to eat and is wasting.
–Thirst, or dehydration. Dehydration can lead to a lingering death, if administration of fluids doesn’t resolve the issue.
–Mobility, especially if assistance is needed to get up and move around. This can lead to pain and pressure sores.
–Incontinence, when a pet who has been house trained can no longer control their bladder and/or bowels. This can be upsetting to both pets and owners.
–Happiness and contentment, hard to measure, but when a pet no longer shows interest in activities, daily rituals and habits that they used to enjoy.
Quality of life includes the above factors, however, keep in mind it is not always linear. Some pets will experience good days and bad days. When the balance tips to more bad days than good, it’s probably time to make the decision.
If you need help making the decision, we can assist you in assessing your pet’s quality of life. Contact us.
Reach out to us below.
Yes, we will provide mobile Veterinary In-Home Euthanasia to all animals great and small. Whatever species your pet, if it has reached the end of its life it deserves a kind, respectful death.
We cover all of Essex County: Amesbury, Andover, Beverly, Boxford, Danvers, Essex, Georgetown, Gloucester, Groveland, Hamilton, Haverhill, Ipswich, Lawrence, Lynn, Lynnfield, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Marblehead, Merrimac, Methuen, Middleton, Nahant, Newburyport, Newbury Old Town, Peabody, Rockport, Rowley, Salem, Salisbury, Saugus, Swampscott, Topsfield,
Yes if your pet is transportable and you would rather come to us, we can make your appointment at our clinic located in South Hamilton, MA.
We feel it’s always best that children have the opportunity to say goodbye to their pets whenever possible. As their parent, you alone must decide whether it’s appropriate for your children to be present during the euthanasia. Younger children may be confused by what is going on and could be more comfortable in another room until it is over. In our experience, young children are more upset by their parent’s emotions than what’s actually happening. Older children can be remarkably understanding and resilient, and this is an opportunity to talk to them about the natural cycle of life. You know your children, their temperaments and their adaptability, so you are the best judge in any case. We will, of course, abide by whatever you choose.
Just like any member of your family, it’s always best if your other pets are allowed to say goodbye as long as their presence is not disruptive. Just like children some may do best in another room until the process is complete and then be allowed to say goodbye. In our experience animals do better when they have been able to see and smell their deceased friend. It’s easier for them to process than when a friend leaves the house and never returns. All animals process grief differently. Some will be very engaged, while others may not seem interested at all. Some may grieve and mope for a few days or longer while some will carry on. Regardless of how your other animals react, we believe that they take in and understand what has happened.
Yes, you are welcome to stay for as much of the procedure as you are comfortable with. Some people elect to be present for the entire procedure while others want to be present for just the sedation. It is your personal decision to make.
Decide beforehand where you want the euthanasia done. If you want to sit with your pet a comfy chair or the couch is nice for you both. It’s a good idea to put down something protective like a wee-wee pad.