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Pet Euthanasia at Home: Knowing When It's Time and What to Expect

The bond between humans and their pets is often one of unconditional love and companionship. As pet owners, we want to ensure our furry friends have the best possible quality of life. However, there may come a time when our pets are suffering from severe illness, advanced age, or chronic pain, and we are faced with the difficult decision of euthanasia.

While the thought of saying goodbye is undoubtedly heartbreaking, the option of pet euthanasia at home offers a more peaceful and familiar environment. In this blog post, we will explore how to determine when it's time to consider euthanasia for your beloved pet and what to expect during the process.

Recognising the Signs

Determining the right time for euthanasia is a deeply personal decision and should be made in consultation with your veterinarian. However, there are certain signs that can help guide your decision-making process:

  1. Chronic and untreatable pain: If your pet is experiencing severe pain that cannot be alleviated through medical interventions, it may be a sign that their quality of life is significantly compromised.

  2. Loss of appetite and weight loss: A sudden and persistent loss of appetite, resulting in significant weight loss, can indicate a serious underlying condition that may not be curable.

  3. Inability to perform daily activities: When your pet can no longer engage in activities they once enjoyed, such as walking, playing, or even getting up, it may indicate a decline in their overall well-being.

  4. Frequent and uncontrollable vomiting or diarrhoea: Persistent gastrointestinal issues that do not respond to treatment can greatly impact your pet's comfort and quality of life.

  5. Difficulty breathing or constant coughing: Respiratory problems can be indicative of various underlying health issues, and if they are causing significant distress, it may be time to consider euthanasia.

Consulting with Your Veterinarian

When you notice any of these signs or feel that your pet's quality of life is declining, it's crucial to consult with your veterinarian. They are trained professionals who can provide guidance, assess your pet's condition, and offer expert advice on the best course of action. Together, you can have an open and honest conversation about your pet's well-being, discussing available treatment options and the possibility of euthanasia.

When considering your pets end of life care it is important to first consider if their quality of life is currently good enough. It can be difficult to make this judgement in certain situations and so we would always recommend consulting with a vet on this. Additionally, It is important to talk to your vet or a vet from Nirvana Vets to discuss whether there is anything that can be done to improve your pet’s quality of life if their quality of life is deemed to be not good enough currently. This is always the first consideration, however, if it is decided that there is little that can be done to improve your pet’s quality of life, then euthanasia may be recommended.

Choosing Home Euthanasia

In recent years, pet euthanasia at home has gained popularity as an alternative to the traditional clinic setting. Opting for at-home euthanasia allows your beloved dog or cat to be surrounded by familiar sights, sounds, and scents, which can help reduce stress and anxiety for both you and your pet during this difficult time.

You and your pet are the most important factors in this decision and there are many benefits to having your pet euthanised at home. These benefits include:

  1. Easier for the pet, especially if they struggle moving or don’t like car rides

  2. Your pet will be calmer and less stressed

  3. Multiple people can be present to say goodbye

  4. You can choose a place where your pet would be happiest and most comfortable in a familiar setting

  5. More privacy in the comfort of your home

  6. Home visits provide an unrushed environment

What to expect during our home euthanasia procedure:

  1. Book your visit: Once a booking has been made, we will then call you to discuss your pet and answer any questions prior to the visit. To secure the booking, you will then need to pay the £150 deposit. The deposit can be paid over the phone or we can send you a secure payment link if you prefer. We will usually arrive within 30min of the booked time, but we will always call you to let you know of any small changes.

  2. Consultation​: When we arrive, we will talk with you about your pet whilst your pet relaxes, and discuss their health. We can also answer any questions that you may have and help guide you through decision making if needed. We may also carry out a clinical examination, this may prove especially necessary if your pet hasn't been seen by a vet in a little while, to make sure that euthanasia is appropriate.

  3. Sedation​: We routinely provide pets with a sedative before they are put to sleep to ensure that the process is as peaceful as possible and to remove any stress or pain that they may be in. A gentle sedative will be administered either under the skin or into the muscle. The sedative enables them to gently fall asleep and will numb any pain that they may currently be experiencing. It usually takes about 10 - 15 minutes for it to fully work as the sedation is very gradual.

  4. Euthanasia: When you feel that you are ready, for dogs we usually clip some fur and place a cannula. These are just like what people have when in hospital or when giving blood. We can then attach a drip line to the cannula so that we can be at a distance from you and your pet. We will then inject some saline into the drip line to check that the cannula is in the correct position. Once you feel that you are ready, we can then administer the euthanasia medication into the drip line. For cats, we will usually administer the euthanasias medication into their side once they are asleep from the sedation.

  5. Aftercare: If you have opted for cremation, we will handle your pet with the utmost care and respect and they will be taken to our chosen crematorium & cemetery in Newquay. If you opted for an individual cremation then we will call you as soon as your pet has arrived back with us. We will then arrange a time to hand deliver your pet back to you.

Read more about 'How it Works' here.

We know it is difficult to think about your pet passing. However, planning a home visit euthanasia in-advance, with Nirvana Vets, before your pet begins to significantly suffer, will help to ensure that their last moments are calm and dignified.


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