How To Find and Choose a Local Vet for In-home Pet Euthanasia
Not all veterinarians offer at-home services, knowing what to look for and understanding the questions to ask can help you decide the best local veterinarian to provide end-of-life care to your pet.
September 10, 2023
How To Find and Choose a Local Vet for In-home Pet Euthanasia
Choosing a veterinarian is an important undertaking. Clearly, they must be an expert in their field, but it is also important that your veterinarian is one you can build a rapport with and feel comfortable sharing the concerns you have for your pet. A comfortable rapport becomes all the more impactful when the time comes to discuss euthanasia. While some pet parents choose to have their pets euthanized at a clinic, others elect at-home care to give their pets a sense of familiarity and comfort in their final moments and to have a private environment.
Not all veterinarian clinics offer at-home services and may differ in the care and services they do provide. This can make finding and choosing the right veterinarian for in-home pet euthanasia even more challenging. But knowing what to look for and understanding the right questions to ask can help you decide on the best local veterinarian to provide end-of-life care to your pet.
Questions to ask when selecting an in-home pet euthanasia veterinarian include:
- How will I know it's time to euthanize my pet?
- How much advance notice is required?
- What happens during the entire euthanasia process?
- How will my pet be sedated?
- What medications will be used?
- How long does the euthanasia process take?
- What happens to my pet after euthanasia?
- Do you offer any after-life care, such as cremation or burial, and how much does it cost?
- Do you provide any memorial items, and how much do they cost?
These questions can help make your decision during this difficult time easier, but how else should you prepare for euthanasia? What other steps should you take choosing a veterinarian to handle your pet's final moments?
5 Steps To Find and Choose a Local Vet for In-Home Pet Euthanasia
Finding and choosing a trusted veterinarian can add stress to a delicate moment. However, following these five steps can help ease your worry so you can focus on spending time with your beloved pet.
1. Start By Assessing Your Pet's Quality of Life
Your pet's quality of life will be one of the most important factors in determining whether it's time for euthanasia. Taking quality of life assessments and discussing the results with others who know your pet can be quite helpful. The assessments can also be made over time to track more gradual or subtle changes.
When assessing your pet's quality of life, consider any chronic medical conditions, lifelong medications, specialized care, and behavioral changes. Then, consider these questions:
- Is your pet in pain?
- Are they experiencing mobility issues?
- Are they eating and drinking normally?
- Have their defecation and urination habits or location changed?
- Do they struggle to keep themselves clean?
- Has their behavior changed?
- Are you struggling to take care of them?
Another simple way to track quality of life is by using a calendar and marking good days and bad days with a simple checkmark or “x.” Before you begin, make sure you take time to think through what defines a “good” or “bad” to your pet. This can vary from pet to pet.
2. Read and Research Local Reviews
Local reviews can tell you a lot about a professional. You'll see other people's unbiased opinions on veterinarians and clinics and their practices, such as how the staff handled their beloved pets, any criticisms, and other essential factors. Google, Yelp, and Facebook are all popular places to search for online reviews. Use terms such as cat euthanasia near meand dog euthanasia near me, and you should find plenty of options for veterinarians. Then do a quick search of the clinic's name to see reviews.
3. Narrow Down Your Vet List To a Few Choices
Depending on where you're located, you may find that you have several choices for a veterinarian offering at-home euthanasia. It can be overwhelming to have to choose between so many. Instead of looking at all of them and comparing them, narrow your list down to your top three choices. You can quickly narrow down your choices by referring back to step 2. Other factors to consider when narrowing down your list include cost, distance, and other services offered- such as body care after euthanasia.
4. Look Into Aftercare Options and Other Helpful Differentiators
Many veterinarian clinics offer aftercare options and other services to help you during this emotional time. Consider choosing a veterinarian who offers aftercare services, such as cremation, so you don't have to worry about handling bodycare on your own.
Some veterinarian clinics will also offer other services, such as hospice care, which can help keep your pet comfortable during the final days leading up to euthanasia. Some offer memorial items after your pet has passed. For example, they may work with artisans and organizations to provide you with specialty urns, jewelry incorporating cremains, headstones, items made from fur clippings, and more. Having a personalized piece commemorating your pet can ease some of the grieving process. If aftercare and memorial items are important to you, make sure to take those factors into consideration when choosing your veterinarian or make sure both parties are able to coordinate to fulfill your request.
5. Select the Vet You're Confident In
At this point, you’re ready to choose which veterinarian you want to take care of your pet. If you're still hesitant about making a final decision, feel free to reach out to the clinic or mobile practitioner with your concerns and discuss your pet's care with them. Many times, the decision is clinched or reinforced upon speaking with someone who clearly understands your concerns and demonstrates compassion.
The most important step in choosing a vet practice is finding one that you're confident in and feel comfortable trusting with your pet's final moments. After reading reviews and consulting with local veterinarians, you'll have all the information you need to make the best choice for you and your pet.
Making the Compassionate Decision During This Emotional Time
Deciding to euthanize a pet is one of the hardest decisions you'll make as a pet parent. However, it can also be one of the most compassionate ones. Euthanization is the process of compassionately ending suffering and is the most beautiful and sacrificial gift we can offer a beloved pet under such circumstances.
Dr. Gary graduated from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in 2010. After graduation, he moved west. Dr. Gary spent a year at a mixed animal practice in Oregon before moving to Fresno where he worked at All Creatures Veterinary Clinic from 2011-2021. Dr. Gary grew up constantly learning and finding ways to help others. He loved everything animal related, whether it was watching wildlife or visiting pet stores. His parents allowed him to have a variety of pets growing up from hamsters, fish, and parakeets to iguanas... as long as they did not need live food. Dr. Gary believes precious memories with your pet should never be overshadowed by a stressful goodbye. He has firsthand experience with the stress of saying goodbye to his first dog Willy at the clinic, and since then being able to say goodbye to two other dogs at home. This is why a peaceful passing at home is so important to him. In his free time, Dr. Gary enjoys family time working around his small hobby farm, watching sports, and hiking around the Sierras. Read More