How to Prepare for Pet Euthanasia at Home

Seeing your pet undergo euthanasia can cause a range of emotions. This may make it difficult to make decisions. There are ways you can prepare in order to lessen the pain of this hard time. In this article, we’ll talk about how to prepare for pet euthanasia at home. 

How to Prepare for Pet Euthanasia at Home

To prepare for pet euthanasia at home, pick a comfortable spot where the procedure will take place, understand the euthanasia process, find emotional support, and come up with a way to remember your pet. Woman embracing her brown and white Shiba while still on her white bed

Here at Paws Into Grace, we will take care of the procedure and cremation afterwards, so you won’t have anything to worry about. However, there are some ways you can prepare yourself and your pet for this moment.

Find the Best Spot

The first thing you need to prepare for in-home pet euthanasia is to choose a comfortable spot for the procedure. It should be somewhere that’s comfortable for your dog.

It can be your dog’s favorite couch in the living room, a spot in the kitchen where your dog always lays, or maybe it’s on the porch, where your cat likes to play with the kids. No matter how small or big the area is, it’s essential that you create a comfortable and familiar environment for your pet. 

Create a Comfortable Euthanasia Set-Up

Once you find the right spot, you may bring some items to make your dog comfortable:

  • Blanket or pet bed: Place your pet’s favorite pet bed or blanket in the spot where the procedure will take place. Paws into Grace will take care of any pads that may be needed during the procedure. 
  • Toys: Prepare toys that bring comfort to your pet. It can be your cat’s favorite stuffed toy or your dog’s squeaky chew toy.
  • Music: Some families choose to play music, while others do not, it’s entirely up to you.
  • Food: The day before the procedure, make your pet their favorite food and let them indulge a bit if they are able to eat and drink easily. 

Some families choose to invite others to the euthanasia appointment, some celebrate their pet’s long life by toasting a drink or celebrating with a special food.

Understand What to Expect During Euthanasia

Uncertainty can cause anxiety in people. If you’re unfamiliar with euthanasia, it’s best to understand the process before the appointment. Knowledge can ease your mind about what to expect.  A family surrounding their dog, lying comfortably on a plush dog bed

Our staff will explain the steps and what will happen to your dog so that you won’t feel confused or anxious.  

  • First, our veterinarian will arrive, greet you and your pet, and review paperwork.
  • Typically, the process starts by administering a sedative plus a pain medication to allow your pet to relax into a deep sedation which takes about 10-15 minutes.
  • Then, our Veterinarian will inform you of the final procedure. You will be by your pet’s side the whole time.
  • A temporary IV catheter is placed and the last medication is given. 
  • The staff will monitor your pet as its body begins to slow.  

Express Your Feelings

As someone who made the call to euthanize, you may have an overwhelming feelings of grief and guilt. You may feel burdened by ending your pet’s life, even if it’s the right thing to do. These are some ways to process your feelings.

  • How people respond to grief varies. Some prefer to keep it to themselves, while others find it helpful to have company. It’s best to talk with another animal lover who understands your situation or a friend or family member who has also recently lost their pet or had an experience with euthanasia. 
  • Replace your guilt with grace, and know that you gave your pet the most comfortable and natural ending possible. 
  • Don’t apologize for crying. It’s also acceptable to laugh or smile as you reminisce about your wonderful time together.

The grieving process can last for days or years, and there’s no need to rush it. Our grief support team can help during all stages of grieving. 

Settle Final Arrangements Before the Procedure

Settle your cremation and aftercare requests before the euthanasia appointment. After the procedure, it’s possible that you’ll have heightened emotions or won’t be able to deal with logistical matters. Even though you can set further arrangements after, we believe it’s best to make decisions before the euthanasia appointment. A woman affectionately kisses a dog on its head

  • Photography: Some choose to capture the intimate moments between them and their pet. Take close-up shots of the fur, paws, or nose to remember them. You can also consider having a final portrait together.
  • Cremation: You can choose individual cremation where your pet’s ashes will be placed in an urn and returned to you. Another option that some opt for is communal pet cremation. 
  • Memorial service: You can hold a formal memorial service where friends and family can visit your pet one last time.
  • Burial: If you do not choose to do cremation after the euthanasia appointment, you will be responsible for the burial of your pet.
  • Memorial items: We can create clay paw prints, nose prints, provide fur clippings, paperweights, swirl globes, and bead necklaces using your pet’s ashes and turn them into your personal memorial items

Related Questions

What Should I Do the Night Before My Euthanasia Appointment?

The night before your euthanasia appointment, it’s best to stay by your pet’s side or do a cherished activity together. Give your pet a fun final day when you can, depending on their health.

Who Should Be Present During My Pet’s Euthanasia? 

In most situations, pet parents choose to be present during the euthanasia appointment in their home. Younger children are always welcome to be present. Paws into Grace Blog has a great article about children and euthanasia. Some families give older children and teens the option to be present. You may also consider bringing in other companion pets if they won’t disturb the procedure. 

Conclusion

To prepare for your pet’s in-home euthanasia, be sure to set up your home in a way that will be comfortable and familiar for your dog or cat. It’s also helpful to finalize decisions on cremation and burial before the procedure. In this way, you can focus solely on staying beside your pet during their final moments. 

Testimonials

I can't recommend them enough. I had to say goodbye to my 21 year old cat companion. I read the reviews here on Yelp and chose Paws Into Grace and they made an unbearable situation not worse - from the people on the phone to the amazing doctor who... read more

Renee C.

My absolute love Dante had heart failure three months ago. After having him on many medications to help him, his enthusiasm and appetite declined last couple of days. He was in pain and we decided to help him go to heaven rather than torturing him... read more

Diane C.

I wanted to thank you for sending Dr. Brown to euthanize our beloved Myleigh on March 4, 2021. She was compassionate and accommodating, she explained every step of the procedure, and gave us some alone time with Myleigh after she sedated her, but... read more

Terry A.

Renee C.

I can't recommend them enough. I had to say goodbye to my 21 year old cat companion. I read the reviews here on Yelp and chose Paws Into Grace and they made an unbearable situation not worse - from the people on the phone to the amazing doctor who came out to the house. She was so understanding and supportive. They were all so helpful, understanding and nice. My girl got to stay at home and say goodbye in the backyard (a hummingbird flew over and it seemed like a good sign too). So glad I didn't have to take her to a cold vet office.

Diane C.

My absolute love Dante had heart failure three months ago. After having him on many medications to help him, his enthusiasm and appetite declined last couple of days. He was in pain and we decided to help him go to heaven rather than torturing him with more medications which would make him even more miserable. I called and spoke to a very kind lady who was patient as I cried through making an appointment. We made an appointment for 1:30pm. Dr. Toni arrived. She was very kind, explained everything to us and gave us the time to be with our boy after the first shot. He wasn't relaxing enough so she gave him a second shot. We stayed with him throughout the entire process and I carried him to her car in the end. It was a very difficult decision but knowing that our boy is not in pain, gives us some peace. We are thankful to Dr. Toni for her kindness and compassion. They will arrange the cremation for us. Since we are in a pandemic, we had our masks on and said goodbye to our boy in our garden.

Terry A.

I wanted to thank you for sending Dr. Brown to euthanize our beloved Myleigh on March 4, 2021. She was compassionate and accommodating, she explained every step of the procedure, and gave us some alone time with Myleigh after she sedated her, but before she attached the IV. We were relieved that we made the decision to let her go to doggy heaven at home. It was a tranquil and serene passing for her, and it very much aids us in the grieving and healing process knowing that she passed away so peacefully. Based on the grace and compassion Dr. Brown demonstrated on one of the most awful days of our lives we would not hesitate to recommend Paws Into Grace for others facing this very painful time.
San Diego Orange County Cremation Office