What is euthanasia for dogs, cats, and other pets?
Euthanasia is a Greek word, meaning "good death." It's the practice of intentionally ending a life to relieve pain and suffering. Your veterinarian will generally administer 2 injections: one to relax your pet and render them unconscious, and one that causes a quick and painless death.
For many people, euthanasia seems appropriate when the pet is unable to get up, refuses food and water, or is visibly in pain. It’s much harder to know what to do when the signs are less obvious. To avoid pain and suffering for your pet, you may be faced with making a decision about euthanasia before these obvious symptoms occur.
Your veterinarian – and team of hospice providers – can help guide your decision and evaluate what’s right for your pet. Many pet owners choose to consult with an animal communicator to gain insight into what their pet may be feeling, and be confident in their decisions. Three helpful things to consider:
- Is my pet suffering or in pain?
- Has my pet’s quality of life diminished significantly?
- Am I able to provide the care my pet needs?
A growing trend in animal care is in-home euthanasia.
For many pet owners, this option is ideal. Their pet won't experience any undue stress by getting into the car and traveling to the vet office, and they can prepare a calm area where their pet is comfortable and secure. You may choose to have a celebration of life before the vet arrives, or gather friends and family for support.
In-home euthanasia has the added benefit of allowing your other family members, children, or pets to experience the death, and accept what is happening. It can be confusing if one of their companions simply never comes home. Being present for the procedure can be an incredibly healing part of the grieving process.
Many in-home euthanasia vets are able to coordinate the next steps as well. Transporting your pet for cremation, creating keepsake paw or nose imprints, and even providing grief counseling can be invaluable services. The peace of mind when choosing this option often far outweighs any additional costs.