For the time when treating a pet’s medical condition is no longer possible, euthanasia offers a humane ending to a well-loved life for your pet. HousePaws offers euthanasia appointments in the comforts of your home or in our hospital.
“It is the most unselfish act in all of life to let one go that we have found beloved” Kate McGahan
A time will come when you need to contemplate end of life decisions for your pet. Euthanasia can be the kindest gift you can give to a pet who is suffering from an incurable or painful disease. Depending on the situation, we can perform euthanasia in your home or at one of our facilities. Home euthanasia for the pet is often the most comfortable option as there is no driving to the vet or displacing them from the security and familiarity of their own environment. Some owners prefer hospital euthanasia as they do not want to remember the sadness of the process happening in their home. There are other times when the euthanasia procedure will be urgent and the hospital location will be the soonest or perhaps only option to help the pet.
We encourage you to think about what location would be best for your family. There is no “right way” in something like this. Some families choose to have an appointment with us first to discuss the procedure and meet the veterinarian. Other families choose to set up an appointment at the right time for the pet without an appointment prior. If you are interested in reaching out to us directly to discuss end of life services, you may call us and speak with a patient care coordinator, or if you find speaking about this topic very difficult, you can fill out the form below and we will contact you about setting up a time to discuss when it is comfortable for you.
Families with children considering a pet euthanasia appointment may wish to visit our special page Children and Pet Euthanasia.
We understand that the topic of euthanasia is very difficult for some pet parents to approach. If you need to get more information on setting up a euthanasia appointment and anticipate having a difficult time speaking about this topic on the phone, please use the form below to contact us.
Euthanasia Consultation Request Form
What Happens in a Euthanasia Appointment?
Euthanasia is almost always a tough decision. The veterinarian and the technician will both be present for the procedure. Generally, the veterinarian will discuss the decision with you and may do an exam on the pet if he or she is not very familiar with the patient history. As we are advocates for our patients, it is HousePaws’ policy that our veterinarians have the discretion to do an examination of the pet prior to any procedure, including euthanasia, to ensure their belief that euthanasia is the best option at that point for the pet. This also provides reassurance to pet parents at that moment and often in moments after the procedure that the decision was appropriate and for the benefit of the pet.
Once everyone agrees on the decision, the vet will administer a sedative into the pet’s muscle. This medication is a dissociative medicine. It helps the pet relax, and will also help the pet’s brain disconnect from his or her body. The goal is for the pet to know their family is there (smell/sight) but not be concerned by the second medication being given, which is an overdose of a barbiturate. The second medication, given into a vein, will induce sleepiness, and the pet will pass within 10-20 seconds.
Every Patient is Different
Our veterinarians will discuss with you some variables that may occur based on your pet’s condition. We take a lot of pride in making the process unique to each pet based on their individual needs.
After Care Options
The after care of a pet following euthanasia can be something we help you with or you may wish to plan on your own. We will discuss after care options with you prior to the euthanasia procedure to know your plans clearly and minimize the difficulty that this discussion may present in the moments following a pet’s passing. We understand that clients will have different needs and may have physical or financial limitations on the after care of their pet. We will work with you to make the best plan for your family.
We will always make a plaster cast paw print for you if you want one. Extra paw prints are available at additional cost.
Hamilton Pet Meadows is the professional service that handles our cremations and burials. If you want cremation we will take your pet back to our hospital after the euthanasia, and Hamilton Pet Meadows will pick up your pet from our hospital. We have visited this facility, know the staff and are impressed by the respect this company has for our clients’ wishes and the dignity shown to our patients after life. Some owners may want to transport their pet directly to Hamilton Pet Meadows. This is possible by calling them in advance and arranging an appointment at their facility. You can reach them directly at (609) 586-9660.
If you choose the private cremation service, Hamilton Pet Meadows will return your pet to us in a simple, but elegant box with a plaque with your pet’s name. Once we have your pet’s ashes, we will contact you to see if you would like the ashes delivered, or if you would prefer to pick them up from one of our locations.
Hamilton Pet Meadows offers pet burial and pet memorial services should you wish to hold a private ceremony for your pet.
Taking Care of Yourself after Losing a Loved One
“You cannot share your life with a pet and not know perfectly well that animals have personalities and minds and feelings.” Dr. Jane Goodall
People who live with pets understand the impacts that our companions have on our lives. They hold an important emotional role for us when we have a bad day or go through a difficult time and they are there to share the joy when times are good. Their needs become our schedule for months and years of our lives–their lives are built into our consciousness. They are individuals that we grow to know and to love, and their passing can leave what seems like an impossibly deep chasm of grief. While we do our best to find the peace and beauty in the moments that your pet leaves his or her earthly body, we know that some people have more difficulty coming to terms with this loss, particularly when this companionship has been one of a long duration or is really a primary part of someone’s life. There are times and situations where time won’t heal the wounds of loss, where friends and family can’t help or are simply not present and some extra help is needed.
HousePaws believes that connecting with people and organizations who understand your feelings is an important resource to be explored. Support groups, grief counselors, online grief support chat rooms are all resources that can help people feel connected to others experiencing or who have experienced the pain of loss. One organization to begin exploring resources is the Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement, which has information, resource links and chat rooms which can help both before and after the loss of a pet. Two additional online resources that may be helpful are available through these links to Coping with Losing a Pet and 7 Self-Care Essentials While Grieving the Death of a Pet.
In the New Jersey service area, Hamilton Pet Meadows offers resources to help those grieving from the loss of a pet. Clients of Hamilton Pet Meadows have free access to Day by Day Pet Caregiver Support, which includes access to counselors, a 24/7 hotline and chatrooms.
There is no right way or wrong way to come to terms with the loss of a pet. Some choose to ‘fill the hole’ left by a companion’s passing by bringing another pet into the family. Some need time and space before thinking about looking for a new pet. We encourage you to explore the resources above for support.
HousePaws Memorial Gardens & Events
“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” – Anatole France
HousePaws understands the impact that losing a pet can have on a person or a family. It was from a client experience losing a pet at a previous veterinary practice that Dr. Lisa worked at which gave her the idea to create a memorial garden for our clients to reflect and celebrate the lives of lost pets in a garden space designed for these quiet moments. It happened that the client who experienced that loss was a landscape designer, so the two worked together, along with tile artist Kathy Casper, to design the Mount Laurel memorial garden. This is a place where clients can come to reflect on lost pets or enjoy the beauty of flowering plants and an ornamental pond filled with friendly fish. The garden connects our community of loving clients and patients in one place with memorial tiles created at our annual memorial events, and memorial pavers dedicated to pets and available for purchase. A memorial garden is in the works for Morrisville and Atco hospitals in the spring of 2020 and beyond. Look for information on these garden features and our memorial events on the events listing on this website, our facebook page or email newsletters.