What to Expect Before and After In-Home Euthanasia
We do our best to ensure that every visit goes as smoothly as possible. 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).
Scheduling the Appointment:
Please contact us via phone (call or text) or email. For questions or inquiries, you can also fill out the contact form located at the bottom of each page on our website. We do our best to respond to each inquiry immediately. If you call and do not reach us immediately please leave a message with your name and phone number.
We do our best to answer phone calls during normal business hours. If we are driving, on another line, or in an appointment we may not be able to answer and kindly ask that you leave a message. Your call will be returned within 1-2 hours Monday thru Friday 8 am to 5 pm. We do check our messages and return phone calls 1-2 times in the evening (after 5pm) and 2-3 times daily on Saturday and Sunday. In the event of an urgent emergency please call the Pet Emergency Center at 509-326-6670. They are located at 21 E Mission Ave Spokane, WA 99202.
We do offer evening (before 10 pm) and weekend appointments for your convenience at no additional charge.
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.
Scheduling the Visit:
When it is time to schedule the appointment our receptionist 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 2-3 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.
Arrival, forms and payment
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 do a physical exam on your pet to assess health status. This is important so that our protocols can be tailored to the individual health conditions of each pet. 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 physical exam, 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.
Variations to the visit:
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.