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Paws in Your Heart
Providing a Gentle Goodbye for a Beloved Pet in Your Own Home
Euthanasia is a compassionate way to end a pet's life. While losing a beloved pet is always sad, euthanasia itself should be peaceful. Knowing what to expect and how to prepare will help you to be comfortable with the euthanasia - so you can focus on saying goodbye.
What to expect
For home euthanasia, Dr. Dunne uses a method that is very gentle and painless. You and your family can be with your pet the entire time. The medications used are sedatives and anesthetic medications. The process can be explained to you in as much detail as you would like, but here is some general information.
When Dr. Dunne arrives, she will first meet you and your pet. She will confirm your requests and answer any questions (please feel free to ask questions anytime). Briefly the necessary paperwork and payment will be completed. Dr. Dunne will perform a physical exam on your pet (this may be brief and depends on circumstances and owner requests). She will let you know the plan for the euthanasia and what to expect.
Most pets will be given a sedative. This is typically injected. Over 10 to 20 minutes, your pet will relax and go into a deep sleep. You can hold your pet and talk to them as they relax. An intravenous catheter may be placed in your pet's vein.
When you are ready, the last injection is given. This drug first causes unconsciousness, then the pet's breathing slows and stops. The heart will slow down and stop after the last breath. Rarely, there may be movement, vocalization, or a breath after the heart has stopped, these are reflexes and the brain is unaware of them. As the body relaxes, pets often release urine or defecate and the eyes do not close.
You may spend as much time as you need saying the final goodbye after your pet has passed. If you are keeping your pets body for burial, Dr. Dunne will assist in bringing your pet to the location you have chosen to either bury your pet or keep your pet until burial occurs. If Dr. Dunne is providing care of body for your pet, she will take your pet with her. Pet's which are privately cremated with ashes return, are either delivered to your home or to your veterinarian as requested.
How to prepare
Before the appointment, you may want to think about your expectations and what is important for your and your pet during this difficult time of goodbye.
Choose a location in your home that will be comfortable for you and your pet. This could be a chair, bed or a spot on the rug where your pet is accustomed to lying. In most cases, your pet can rest on your lap or next to you. Outside in a special location is an acceptable place for euthanasia.
You may want to give your pet a special meal or snack. This can be anything from treats to meat, fish, or any food your pet would most love to eat.
Consider having your pet's favorite toys or blanket with them. Also some people like to have candles, flowers, photos, or other beautiful or meaningful things at the euthanasia.
Finally, decide who you would like to be with you and your pet during this time. Friends and family members may want to be present. Others may not feel as comfortable staying during the euthanasia or will not want to be present, but they would appreciate a chance to say goodbye to your pet. Understanding each family member or person's needs to say goodbye are different and should be respected at this sad and difficult time.