Pet Euthanasia at Home
Pet euthanasia at home is peaceful. Your pet is in their home environment, not worried or scared. Their final memory will be one of you at his/her side. Making the decision to euthanize your geriatric or ailing pet is probably one of the toughest choices we as owners have to make. Unfortunately, at some point many of us are forced to make this choice, simply out of love for our friend. “Putting a pet to sleep”, as many of us say, is truly an act of kindness when a pet is suffering or not enjoying a good quality of life. My job as a veterinarian (and fellow animal lover) is to help you in your decision by providing the best medical information I can about your pet, and then, if you decide to let your pet go, to make the process of saying good bye as least painful as possible by providing your pet a gentle exit from this world.
The process of humane euthanasia is a very peaceful process. To explain, after thoroughly discussing your and your pet’s circumstances and if the decision has been reached that his/her quality of life is poor, I would first give a sedative/pain killer. This is a tiny injection that just feels like a quick pinch, so most pets don’t mind at all. It works slowly over about 10 to 15 minutes to relax your pet. Once the first injection has taken place, then second injection, which is actually an overdose of anesthesia, will be given. This injection is also painless. Most pets don’t even notice when the injection is given, though all pets vary and some might look at me or pull their paw away from me a bit. After the final injection is given, your pet will pass slowly through the planes of anesthesia until he/she is totally anesthetized. It is only after this point that the heart will slow down and stop.
Some people wish to have some time alone with their pets at this point, and others do not. Whatever your choice, I always honor your decision in whatever way possible. In addition, I can assist you afterwards should you wish to have your pet cremated and/or if you wish to have the ashes returned. I can also give you guidance about how to talk with your children or friends about what is happening.
Many people have asked me how I can stand to put pets “to sleep”. Well, I feel that life is a cycle. We are all born, we live, hopefully rich and fulfilling lives, and then at some point, we must die. If I can make that final passage easier, if I can help prevent your pet from suffering a painful end, then it is all worth it. Pet euthanasia at home is so peaceful. Your pet is in their home environment. You will know that your pet is not worried or scared, and that their final memory will be one of you at his/her side, gently easing him across that final frontier between life and death. We should all be so lucky when our time comes, to go gently with our best friend at our side.
For more specific information about end-of-life care, please visit Dr. Ekström’s other website, YourRainbowBridgeVet.com.
I am including my favorite poem. Reading it has helped me. I hope it can help you if and when you face this difficult decision. Please feel free to call me if you have questions about end of life care. I am always open to talking with you, even if it is not yet time.
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am a diamond glint of snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awake in the morning hush,
I am the swift, uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starshine at night.
Do not stand by my grave and cry.
I am not there . . . I did not die.