This is one of the most common questions we get asked and as pet parents ourselves we know this decision is one of the most difficult you will make.

Whilst there are often feelings of guilt associated with this decision, euthanasia literally translates to a “good death” and it’s the final gift we can give to our pets to prevent or end their suffering.

We believe there is no perfect moment but instead a period of time in which euthanasia is the right decision to make. Prior to this period, euthanasia may be refused as a pet is deemed to still have a good quality of life. At the end of this period, we may strongly advocate for euthanasia as the pet appears to be suffering.

Depending on the pet’s disease process this period of time can be hours, days, weeks or months. For example, a pet with heart failure may only have a window of a couple of hours before they are suffering whereas an arthritic Rottweiler on good pain control can have a much wider window of time.

The decision ultimately lies with you and your family and remember that you know your pet better than anyone else. In saying this, you do not have to make this decision alone and we can help guide and support you.

What we often say to pet parents is that if you wait until the very last moment to say goodbye to your furry companion then there’s a good chance you will end up in a high stress, emergency situation. Last minute call outs are very difficult for us to get to and turning away euthanasia’s because we’re fully booked is one of the most difficult parts of our job. If you would like your pets end of life experience to be at home in a calm, familiar and low stress environment then you may need to make this decision a little bit sooner than you might like so we can pre-plan and organise a time.

Saying goodbye to your pet when they still have good days and is a beautiful thing. It should not be about ending suffering but preventing it from occurring in the first place. If you’re waiting for your pet to stop eating or to not be able to get up then perhaps you are waiting too long, as often once they get to that point, they are already suffering.

Assessing your pet’s quality of life can be very challenging both for pet parents and vets and is dependent on your pet’s personality as well as their individual disease process.

It’s important to talk with your veterinarian about your pet’s illness and the most likely outcomes of their disease.

“Lap of Love” is a veterinary hospice and in home euthanasia service in the USA. They have an amazing website with lots of information about end-of-life care and an online quality of life assessment tool you can use for free.

https://www.lapoflove.com/quality-of-life-assessment

Please get in touch with us if you’re struggling with decision making around euthanasia. Often having a vet assess your pet, sit with you to discuss their quality of life and your goals and concerns surrounding their care can make a big difference. You do not have to make these decisions on your own.

Every in-home euthanasia looks a little different and we usually ask you to think about where you and your pet are most comfortable being. Sometimes this is in a bed by the fire, next to a sunny window or outside under a favourite tree. Our priority is ensuring you and your pet feel comfortable so we leave this part up to you.

When we arrive, we will introduce ourselves and meet all family members (both 2 and 4-legged) who are there. We explain the euthanasia process and allow time for you to ask any questions you may have.

We then give a pain relief and sedation injection, which is usually given under the skin behind the neck, similar to a vaccination.

It takes between 5 and 15 minutes to work and your pet will gently fall into a deep sleep.

Once they’re calm and relaxed, we clip a small patch of fur from one of their legs where we then administer a second injection. This is an overdose of an anaesthetic which eventually causes their heart to stop. It usually takes about a minute or two to work and is pain free.

We will then carefully listen to their heart to ensure they’ve passed.

You can be with your beloved pet at all times throughout this process. Afterwards we offer to make a clay pawprint of your beloved pet which you can keep.

Families often wish to spend some time with their pet after they have passed. This is very individual and can range from a few minutes to many hours. We allow 30-60 minutes for euthanasia visits so if you would like to spend longer with your pet, and would like us to organise cremation, please let us know. We will work alongside you and your family to ensure you have enough time and don’t feel rushed.

There are three main options for aftercare of your pet.

  1. The first is that they remain with you for an in-home burial.
  2. The second option is that they are sent for individual cremation and their ashes are returned to you. We work closely with both of the crematoriums in Hobart (Ecopets and Pets and Rest) and know they treat your pet with the utmost care and dignity.

If you would like to read more about either of these crematoriums you can visit their websites:

Ecopets provide water cremation: https://ecopetcremations.org

Pets at Rest provide fire cremation: https://petsatrest.com.au

Angels Landing have options for beautiful handmade ceramic urns and boxes. https://www.angelslanding.com.au

3. Thirdly, some pet parents do not wish to have their pets’ ashes back and in that case communal cremation can be arranged.

We bring everything we need to each visit but if you have anything in particular that you would like your pet to have in their final moments, we encourage you to bring it along. Some ideas include:

  • If they’re still eating, organising their favourite food or meal. We’ve seen chicken nuggets, a big mac, ice cream, roast chicken, sardines and even chocolate. Whatever your pet wants at this point they can have!
  • A song or music you’d like your pet to hear as they pass
  • A poem or verse you might like to read before or after they pass
  • Flowers and petals to place on your pet afterwards

These are just some of the beautiful ideas we’ve seen in our home euthanasia visits so far.

You may also wish to place a towel or blanket under your pet, especially if they’re inside as they may urinate or defecate after they’ve passed as their body systems relax.

For appointment bookings or enquiries