Peaceful Home Euthanasia for Dogs ("Putting Your Dog to Sleep")
What to Expect
When you have made the compassionate decision to peacefully euthanize your pet at home, you will have questions which we hope to answer here. Please be assured that both you and your dog will always be treated with compassion and respect. As each pet is an individual and each home is unique, please feel free to ask any questions or bring up any considerations that are not answered here.
Dr. Susan will spend approximately an hour in your home; below is the general procedure.
What to prepare ahead of time:
1) Where: Before Dr. Susan arrives, please decide on a space that will comfortably fit your pet, any friends or family who are present, and will have room for Dr. Susan to move around your dog. This is usually a place on the floor, either indoor or outside. If it is outdoors, please make sure that it is in a secure area (gated yard etc.) & is protected from rain or extreme sun.
2) Have any blankets, toys, pillows, beds, etc that you wish to be with your dog, prepared in this area.
3) Treats: have a big bowl of your dog’s very favorite thing to eat ready, usually “people food” in very small pieces.
4) Bathroom Break: Please allow your dog the chance to go to the bathroom within the hour before Dr. Susan arrives.
5) Music: You may find it comforting to have a special piece of music playing gently in the background.
When Dr. Susan Arrives:
1) Upon Dr. Susan’s arrival, the 1st thing that is done is the paperwork. There is a legal form that allows Dr. Susan to proceed, confirms of your aftercare wishes, and processes the payment (cash, Visa or MasterCard). By completing the paperwork done first, we can then make your pet the centre of attention for the entire time.
2) Sedation: Dr. Susan sedation process is gentle and distinctive in that she will give your dog 3 separate sedation injections taking a total of 10 – 15 minutes. The initial injections are given under the skin to avoid placing a catheter in a vein; most dogs do not even notice that they have been given a tiny injection. This is where the treats come in. With each injection you give your pet some distracting treats. This 3 step sedation process does not take significantly longer than waiting for the effect of a one step sedation more traditionally used. However, it allows for greater alleviation of pain, anxiety and nausea, and avoids an initial intramuscular injection. This also allows your pet to first go into a peaceful anesthetic sleep. We use this sedation process because it is very gentle.
3) Euthanasia: Once your dog is sleeping deeply, Dr. Susan will give the euthanasia injection. This stops all reflexes in the brain, which then turns off the heart and breathing. Most commonly, a small area of the back leg will be shaved for this step, as this injection ideally goes into a vein. This step is very quick. Due to the distinctive 3 step sedation, your pet will already be in a deep, peaceful sleep, allowing your dog to be completely free of anxiety and pain.
4) Afterward: You may choose to have some private moments with your dog or not. Dr. Susan will respect the time that you prefer.
The after care of your dog is a very personal decision. Before Dr. Susan’s arrival, you will need to decide if you would like to have your pet cremated with no ashes returned (“General Cremation”), or a “private cremation”, where your pet’s own ashes are returned to you in an urn. For cremation services we use the pet memorial center, Until We Meet Again www.untilwemeetagain.com, as they meet and exceed the highest standards of pet memorial and cremation services.
Most pet owners appreciate the additional comfort of having Dr. Susan respectfully take their pet’s “afterself” with her and take care of arranging for the cremation. Some people may wish to bring their pet personally to Until We Meet Again in North Vancouver.
Home burials should be in accordance with the local bylaws. If this is chosen, then you will simply sign to be responsible for these arrangements.
If a dog is over 35 lbs, you will need you to arrange for a strong, able bodied person to help to carry your pet’s “afterself” on a soft stretcher to Dr. Susan’s vehicle. This can be a pet owner who feels emotionally okay to help, or a neighbor or a relative. A particularly strong person is needed if a dog is over 60 lbs. If your pet is closer to 25 lbs, but the distance to the car is more than a driveway close to your door, such as a condo with long hallways, elevators, etc.) then Dr. Susan will use the stretcher and need one person to assist.
If no one is available to help with this aspect, we can arrange for an assistant to meet at your home if you are in the Ladner/Tsawwassen area. Outside of this area, we will arrange for Until We Meet Again Pet Memorial Center meet us directly at your home.
5) Paw Print Keepsake: One final option is to have a keepsake, ceramic glazed & fired, paw print impression by “Spawts”. This is optional and is done at the time of cremation. An overview of the paw print information is available on this website, with a form to fill out before Dr. Susan arrives.
Please let us know if you have further questions or considerations to discuss, or, if you would like to arrange an appointment. Also, please include if you would prefer a reply by email or phone.
While Dr. Susan can sometimes come on short notice or the same day, appointments usually need to be made in advance, typically a few days or week, especially regarding evening and Saturday appointments, and if we need to coordinate with Until We Meet Again Pet Memorial Center.
With respect & compassion,
Dr. Susan Hetherington & Assistants at
Creature Comforts Veterinary Home Services Ltd.