Loving Hands In Home Pet Euthanasia

FAQ’s of In Home Euthanasia (503) 489 – 8421

                                                                                                                                                 Peanut Oliver

Before Euthanasia 

When you call  503-489-8421, we personally answer the phone. If you leave a message, know that you will generally be called back within an hour.  We are happy to schedule or answer any questions that you may have that pertain to your specific situation with your pet. Ideally please call with as much advance notice as you can to help ensure scheduling that works for us all.

The goal is to schedule when your intuition tells you the time is right, or when your pet is having more bad days than good. You’ll want to schedule before your pet “crashes,” so if you know your pet is worsening, please call. In the event it is last minute, you can contact us and we will do our best to see that the needs of your pet are met.

We are happy to take care of cremation arrangements for your pet. For larger animals, we will arrange for a cremation transport service to meet the doctor at your residence and he will wait outside until after the euthanasia is finished.

Ahead of time, you can feed and medicate your pet normally. Please do not overdose the pet with extra medications- any questions on this please call us.  Often once sedated, your pet can relax so much they loose bladder or bowel control. Its a good idea to try to get the pet to potty before the procedure, but if that is not an option, no worries- consider just having a garbage bag with a towel on top that we can place under the pet.  If your pet is highly anxious or aggressive, please let us know as an additional oral sedative ahead of our visit may help keep the pet as calm as possible.

During the Process of Euthanasia

When we come to your home, the first thing we’ll do is a small amount of paperwork and payment.  We accept cash (preferred) as well as credit card.  For specifics on fees, please click here: Euthanasia Fees. You can have your pet situated inside or outside, the option is yours.

The doctor will then inject a sedative under the skin or in the muscle of the back, which will help your pet relax into a very comfortable state. They become very sleepy and begin to rest. This takes about 15 minutes. The pets eyes generally remain open, their tongue sometimes sticks out, and they may begin gently snoring.

Once your pet is resting comfortably, if it is a dog, the doctor will position the pet so that its laying on its side with legs facing the doctor, and a vein in the leg is utilized. If its a cat, or tiny dog, often by the time we see them they are either dehydrated or their blood pressure is low so the doctor will often use a vein in the neck while the pet is lying on its back.  The doctor will clip some hair from your pets’ leg or wherever the best vein is, (if you would like to have us clip a special keepsake lock of hair, we are happy to do so), then the doctor willl apply a little alcohol to help make the vein more evident and give the euthanasia injection into the vein.

This second injection takes only 1-2 minutes before the animal is deceased. While the euthanasia injection does not create discomfort for the pet, and because the pet is already sedated, only extremely rarely will a pet vocalize or bark during the injection. The euthanasia is an overdose of anesthesia, it anesthetizes their brain first so they are not conscious of what is happening, and then it stops their heart.

After Euthanasia

What can you expect immediately after your pet has expired? Often eyes will remain open, they can lose bowel control and may have tiny muscle tremors. Occasionally diaphragmatic contractions will cause the animal to appear to be taking a breath- this is a normal postmortem reflex. The doctor will stay a few minutes after the euthanasia until most postmortem symptoms have ceased. We are available to support you by answering your questions and talking you through anything that you see.

After the pet has died, the doctor will quietly go and you may spend as long as you need with your pet.  If you have decided to cremate your pet, either the doctor or a transport service will transport the animal for you.  Some people want the animal removed immediately and some want to spend more time with their pet. We will check with you and if  you are ready, the doctor will take the pet or go get the transport person who will be waiting outside. For larger pets, its at that time you will sign the transport person’s paperwork and pay him for the cremation.  For specifics on cremation fees, please click here and scroll to the bottom of the page: Cremation Fees.  After the appointment, we will fax euthanasia notification over to your veterinary hospital.

If you want to bury, we recommend you check your local ordinances; bury  the same day as the euthanasia; and bury at least six feet deep as the euthanasia solution could be harmful to wild animals should they dig up the remains. For general or communal cremation, we’ll take your pet for cremation and you will not receive any ashes back. For private cremation, we will take your pet and you will be called by the crematorium within 5-7 business days to arrange for you to pick up your pets’ ashes.  For specifics on cremation fees, please click here and scroll to the bottom of the page: Cremation Fees.

What About My Other Pets?

It is fine to allow other pets to be present at the time of euthanasia- as long as they are not trying to physically interfere with the process. We believe it is important to allow all the pets of the household to have an opportunity to come and see the pet after it has transitioned. This can reduce your other pets from spending time looking out the doors and windows when your pet leaves trying to figure out where it went.  Know that pets in the household may go through a grieving process of their own and may “act out” more than usual in the weeks following. Especially if you have multiple dogs there may be a re-establishing of the “pecking order” or dominance in the pack.

What About My Young Children, Can They Be Present?

This is a very individual decision and depends on how YOU feel having children present.  We are here to help facilitate your belief system, and will follow your lead.  We are fine with children observing as long as they are not trying to physically interfere with the process. You might consider preparing your answers to questions about death, why we’re doing the euthanasia and what you feel will happen with the pet after its euthanized. Sometimes it is even more special when the whole family can attend the euthanasia. On the other hand, when there is a special bond of an adult with the pet, it can be harder for the adult to feel comfortable grieving in front of young children. So consider this carefully.  It’s important for everyone who attends to know that anyone has the right to leave the room at any time.

I Feel So Sad, Why Do I Feel This Way When It’s “Just” An Animal?

Animals to us are furry family members. Many of us may not realize how much we truly care about and may have come to rely on our pet as a companion.  Know that there is a grieving process that we may need to go through which is very similar to losing a human companion. Allowing yourself to grieve is an important part of this process.  Dove Lewis in NW Portland has a free weekly Pet Loss Support Group with a Grief Counselor as well as a monthly art project for bereaving clients- you are welcome to call them and sign up at 503-228-7281.  The Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement has an entire website as well as an online chat room faciliated by a Grief Counselor that is a good resource at: www.aplb.org.  Generally, the grief process just takes time, so have patience with yourself.

Should I Immediately Go Out And Get Another Pet Or Should I Wait?

While some people need a year or more to grieve a pet, others go and get a new companion the next day. The most important thing is to get in touch with how you feel in your heart. If you begin to consider adoption, we highly recommend Multnomah County Animal Control in Troutdale, Oregon for adopting your pet.  They have less space available, are required to take all the stray pets in Multnomah county, and often are a less expensive option while still including all of the basic care for your pet with the adoption fee. They take outstanding care of the animals that need it the most.

If you have other questions, please call us: 503-489-8421