What to Expect Before and After In-Home Euthanasia
Below is a general outline of what to expect from our service. Our goal is to provide a calm peaceful passing for your pet. We adapt our process to account for the health status of the pet, personality of the pet, preferences and environmental factors. Our doctor will discuss this process with you in detail upon arrival or during a pre-visit phone consult (if requested).
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Please contact one of our customer care representatives via phone (call or text) or email. We respond to all inquiries Monday through Friday 8am-6pm and Saturday 8am to Noon. Our Doctors do see appointments outside of these times. Our customer care representative will be able to help you schedule an appointment and answer any questions you might have. Should you want to speak with a Doctor, our client service representative can help you set up a phone consult with one of our doctors. If you contact us during our phone hours and reach a voicemail it is because we are taking a quick lunch break or are on the phone with another client. Please leave us a message and we will get right back to you. Occasionally due to sickness or holidays our phone/contact hours may vary. We keep our voicemail updated with any changes to these hours. Please see our prices/location/hours tab for more information regarding our hours and availability.
We are happy to schedule a quality of life phone consult with one of our doctors if requested. We understand that making quality of life decisions can be very difficult and stressful. We are happy to answer general quality of life questions and discuss the process of euthanasia in depth. We understand that many times while making these decisions it can be difficult to talk on the phone. If preferred we can contact you via email.
When it is time to schedule the appointment our client service representative will ask for your preferred appointment times and dates. If possible it is often helpful to have a few dates and times available. We will always do our best to work with you to find a time that is best for you and your family. We recommend calling us in advance whenever possible. We do realize that many times appointments are needed immediately and we do our best to be available for same day appointments. We do allow you to cancel your appointment at no charge (prior to the arrival of the doctor) if needed. We do ask that you give us 24 hours notice should you decide to cancel or postpone the appointment. When scheduling the visit we will ask you about aftercare wishes for your pet. You do not need to have made a decision at this time. We are always happy to discuss available options with you.
We will arrive at the scheduled time and place previously arranged for the visit. At that time we will meet your pet and discuss the process in depth. Additional questions or concerns can be addressed at that time. Our doctor will discuss the euthanasia consent form with you and finalize aftercare options. At that time payment will be collected. We accept major credit cards (Visa, American Express, Master Card and Discover), debit cards, CareCredit, cash and local checks. Please see the prices and fees page for more information on pricing. Finally, our doctor will walk you through the euthanasia process step by step and answer any final questions you may have.
Once the paperwork, payment and any questions have been answered we will move forward with the visit. Your pet will receive an injection of a heavy sedative and pain medication. This injection is typically given as an injection under the skin (similar to a vaccine). This injection can be given at any location in the house (in their favorite bed, on a couch, etc). The medications typically take 3-15 minutes to take effect depending on the pet. During this time we encourage you to hold them and talk to them as you feel comfortable. A second injection of an anesthesia agent will be given. It will be given under the skin similar to the last injection. Your pet will be resting comfortably and will be unaware of this injection. This injection will cause your pet to fall completely asleep. Typically this injection takes about 2-5 minutes to take effect. At this point in the visit your pet will be unaware of what is going on around them and will be completely unconscious.
We will gently use some clippers to remove some hair from a spot on their leg. They will be sleeping soundly during this part of the visit and will be unaware of this occurring. An intravenous catheter (IV) will be placed. This allows our drugs to go directly into the blood stream and ensures a smooth and peaceful passing.
Once the IV catheter is placed your pet will be given a drug to induce anesthesia. We will follow this with an overdose of a medication (euthasol). This process allows your pet to pass comfortably in their sleep. The process of euthanasia from administration of the first IV drug to confirmation of passing typically only takes a few minutes (1-3 minutes). Once the final medication is given our doctor will listen to your pet’s heart and confirm the time of death. Throughout the process you are encouraged to hold your pet, talk to them, pet them and be near them. If you wish to go to another room for part or all of the procedure that can also occur. Each visit can be tailored to you and your pet. Once your pet has passed should you wish our doctor will make a complimentary keepsake clay paw-print.
Loving Paws Pet Loss Center will come directly to your home at the time of the appointment to pick up your pets remains and they will take your pet directly to their facility for cremation. If you elect a private cremation they will return your pet in a beautiful wood urn (cherry or mahogany). Your pet’s name can be engraved in the urn if desired. They also provide complimentary fur clippings and ink prints. They will call you when your pet is ready (typically cremation takes 10-14 days). You can pick your pet directly up from them or arrange for them to deliver them back to your home. We recommend you visit the aftercare page and/or their website for more details.
If your pet has bitten anyone within the last 10 days we ask that you notify us. Certain testing will need to be performed to be within state compliance for rabies monitoring.
Please notify us if your pet is aggressive, bites or is protective. We are very experienced in handling animals in all different stages of anxiety, pain, and fear. Notifying us ahead of time allows us to make changes to our protocol to keep your pet, ourselves and you safe and comfortable.
Occasionally for highly agitated pets we may need to ask you to place a muzzle on your pet briefly for the sedative injection. This is for their safety and ours. This will not need to be in place for longer than a few seconds. . Once the injection is given it can be removed for the remainder of the visit.
If your pet is critically ill a variation to the procedures may need to be made. Many times pets that are very ill are severely dehydrated and have very low blood pressure. This can make IV catheter placement difficult. Any variations to the above protocol will be discussed and explained in person by the doctor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Have questions about our services, locations, fees?
While we do our best to keep same day appointments available it is not always possible. We offer appointments on a first come first serve basis and return all calls/voicemails in the order they are received. We do frequently have cancellations and we always recommend calling even if you are looking for an appointment same day. Generally we recommend giving us 2 to 3 days notice to schedule an appointment. Appointments do tend to fill up faster around weekends and holidays.
We do allow you to cancel or postpone your appointment if needed. We ask for 24 hours notice if at all possible as we frequently have families needing appointments and this allows us to make the appointment available to another family.
We work with Loving Paws Pet Loss Center, a local cremation company. While we work with them daily and are in frequent communication with them, they are a separate company. We will inform them when you schedule the appointment of the time of your appointment. Normally they will arrive at your home prior to our Doctor leaving or within 15 minutes after our Doctor leaves. Occasionally if there are multiple doctors seeing appointments at one time, if the cremation service has another pick up, or if there are excessively long drive times/traffic there may be a longer wait for pickup. If we anticipate a wait longer than 15 minutes we will let you know ahead of time. Occasionally wait times for pickup can be approximately two hours, however, this is very rare. If you have questions or concerns regarding this please let us know. We do work closely with the cremation company and do our best to make sure that things flow as smoothly as possible.
We work with Loving Paws Pet Loss Center for cremation. They will bring in a stretcher and place your pet on a stretcher. They will gently wrap your pet in a blanket. For smaller pets, they will bring in a small pet bed and a blanket. No body bags are used with our service. The cremation company is comfortably able to lift pets weighing 60 pounds and less without any assistance. If your pet weighs more than 60 pounds assistance for the cremation company will be needed. If you are comfortable, helping the cremation service with your pet please let us know. If not a second person can be arranged for help with cremation pick-up. A fee for a second person may be charged. When possible our doctors are happy to help carry your pet if needed. Sometimes due to lifting restrictions, the cremation service arriving after the doctor leaves, or other circumstances, this may not be possible.
What if my pet deteriorates quickly in the middle of the night? Are you available for emergency service?
We answer our phones and schedule appointments Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 6 PM and Saturdays from 8 am to noon. If you call us outside of those hours we will return your voicemail during our next phone hours. Our doctors will often see evening appointments or appointments outside of these hours. However, scheduling of these appointments is only possible during our phone hours. If it is outside of our phone hours and an urgent emergency, please reach out to the Pet Emergency Center at 509-326-6670.
Our phone hours are Monday through Friday 8 AM to 6 PM and Saturdays from 8 AM to noon. If you email us or leave us a message during this time we will do our best to get back to you immediately. In general we respond to all messages within approximately 2 hours. Because we get a lot of voicemails over the weekend and we return all calls and voicemails in the order that they are received, sometimes on Monday mornings we can take a little bit longer to return your call. Please understand we are working as quickly as possible to get back to you. If more than two hours goes by and you have not heard from anyone, please reach back out to us. Occasionally due to our high call volume we may accidentally miss a voicemail or an email. All voicemails and emails are extremely important to us. Should this happened we sincerely apologize. Please let us know you have called/emailed previously and we will get back to you just as soon as possible.
When you schedule the appointment we will give you a time frame for the appointment. These time frames are often 4 PM to 9 PM or 8 AM to noon. We will text/call you the day before your appointment to confirm a more exact time (ex. 5pm). Scheduling this way allows our Client Care Coordinators to group appointments by location. The significantly helps with drive times for both our service and the cremation service. If you need a specific time during the window given please let the Client Care Coordinators know as they are often able to accommodate this. Once you are given an official appointment time we do still ask for an approximate 15 to 30 minute window on either side of that time for doctor arrival. Due to traffic, drive times, weather, or the unpredictable nature of the appointments we ask for a little bit of flexibility in the timing of the doctors arrival.
How do I pay for the appointment? What payment methods are accepted? Do I pay for your service and the cremation service at the same time?
We can take credit card, debit card, cash, check, or Care Credit. If you are paying with Care Credit the card holder does need to be present with a valid form of ID. If you are paying with cash the Doctors do not carry change and exact change is appreciated. We do take payment separately from the cremation service. They can take the same form of payments as we can as listed above. Generally we take care of payment at the beginning of the appointment. Most families do not want to think about paperwork or payment after the appointment and we find it is best to take care of everything upfront. Should you want to prepay please let us know and our client coordinators can arrange this. We do not have an in house payment plan available and payment is due at the time of service. We are happy to offer Care Credit for people wanting more flexible payment options. Please see www.carecredit.com for more information.