Choosing to euthanize your dog is a challenging and emotional decision for any dog owner. If your dog is suffering, in-home dog euthanasia can be a “Final Gift” to your beloved companion, one that is a peaceful, dignified, and pain-free passing.
Dog euthanasia is a service provided by a veterinarian that ends the dog's suffering by allowing them to pass peacefully. While an incredibly difficult choice for dog owners, it can be a way to show compassion and relieve a dog’s pain and suffering. Euthanasia is often seen as the final act of love and kindness a dog parent can offer their beloved companion, bringing an end to their pain, suffering and anxiety.
Saying goodbye to your beloved dog is never easy, and it can be one of the toughest decisions you have to make. As your furry companion ages, or when they face an unexpected injury or terminal illness, they rely on you to spare them from needless suffering. Deciding when it's time to say goodbye can be an emotionally challenging task - one that nobody wants to do too early or too late. This can leave you feeling overwhelmed and unsure of the right time to let go. Read more about how to know when it's time here.
For many years, the common term for euthanasia was “put to sleep.” Euthanasia literally means “good death”; “putting my pet to sleep” is an appropriate description of what actually happens. An in-home pet euthanasia veterinarian will perform the same procedure as your dog would receive at a pet hospital or veterinary clinic, except in the comfort of your home.
By giving your dog a sedative, the veterinarian ensures that your dog is calm and serene. The sedative is most often given as an injection and will feel like receiving a vaccine or shot.
It will take a few minutes for the sedative to take effect and your beloved dog will be in a deep sleep. At this time, they will no longer feel any pain or anxiety.
Your veterinarian will do a quick check to make sure your dog is properly anesthetized and ready to proceed.
The actual euthanasia procedure occurs after sedation. Your veterinarian will administer a large dose of an anesthetic agent that quickly slows down your dog’s respiratory system until it stops. Then, your dog’s heart will cease beating within a few minutes.
Death, whether natural or assisted, may result in the following signs:
Sometimes small muscle spasms may occur. These are often most noticeable in the face or limbs and represent normal chemical reactions occurring on a cellular level. These are not conscious attempts of the pet to move.
Regurgitation, urination and defecation are all possible at the end of life, as the dog’s muscles relax. Additionally, the dog’s eyes will remain partially open, due to relaxation of the muscles responsible for closing the eyes.
Deep breathing or gasping may occasionally occur depending on your dog’s condition. Such irregularities in breathing are reflexes, when they occur the dog is peacefully unaware that their body is making these movements.
In-home dog euthanasia is designed to be more relaxing than euthanasia in a hospital setting. Your veterinarian will arrive in regular clothes carrying a bag with the necessary tools, such as medications and a stethoscope. Most dogs receive the veterinarian as any other welcomed guest.
Your veterinarian will be with you for up to an hour but typically appointments range from 15 to 45 minutes. The aim of euthanasia at home is to provide a peaceful and calm environment for you and your dog during this tough time. The procedure itself typically only takes around 15 minutes. You and your family will have the opportunity to spend time with your dog before and after if you so choose. Just let your veterinarian know if you prefer a quicker process; they will respect your wishes while being patient and understanding.
You can guide your veterinarian to the location in your home that is most comfortable for you and your beloved dog. Often, that location is a family room or bedroom where your dog spends a majority of their time. If you prefer, you may not be present for the process as your comfort and needs are of utmost importance, and your veterinarian will be respectful of your decision.
Being at home, you can give your dog comfort via their favorite blanket and toys. You may also provide them favorite or even forbidden treats.
Your veterinarian will share as much or as little technical information about the process with you as you feel curious to know. They are available to answer any questions you may have and understand that this is a very difficult and emotional time.
It may bring comfort to have other family members, both people and animals, close by during this difficult time. Your veterinarian will make sure you have enough space and will ensure a peaceful atmosphere so that you and your loved ones can provide a final goodbye to your beloved companion.
When you are ready, your veterinarian will begin the actual procedure.
Following the dog euthanasia procedure in your home, your veterinarian will check in to see if you require additional time with your beloved dog before they leave. When you are ready, they will ask about your plans for aftercare, whether you would like to personally tend to your dog's body or if you would prefer for your veterinarian to arrange for cremation services.
If you decide to have your veterinarian take care of your dog's body after the procedure, your veterinarian will treat them with utmost care, reverence, and honor.
You have the option to spend as much time as you need with your beloved dog after it transitions into final peace.
Our compassionate network of veterinarians is dedicated to making this experience as gentle and comforting as possible for both you and your dog. Should you decide to entrust your dog’s aftercare and cremation to us, we will handle all arrangements with the utmost respect and dignity for your beloved dog.
The day of their euthanasia can be emotionally overwhelming so feel free to plan ahead for aftercare of your beloved dog. CodaPet provides various options for you to choose from, which can be found here. It may be helpful to make a decision beforehand, but take comfort knowing you can adjust your plans on the appointment day if needed. Our aim is to make this difficult time as stress-free as possible for you and your dog.
Our network of veterinarians are dedicated to providing personalized and compassionate care for your dog during their end-of-life journey. They understand that saying goodbye is never easy and strive to cater to your individual preferences.
Whether your dog feels most at ease in the backyard or on the living room couch, we will be there to help them transition peacefully.
Our veterinarians are open to end-of-life rituals such as playing soft music, dimming or softening the lights, or other outward expressions of respect and honor.
You are welcome to involve friends and family, whether in person or via video call. This experience can also involve lasting memories with your dog through memorial items such as paw prints, locks of fur, or digital art from previous photos.
Additionally, our network of veterinarians offer transportation and aftercare options, including burial or cremation services, to help you honor your dog's memory in the way that is best for you.
As a dog owner, it takes a lot of courage and compassion to even consider euthanasia. If you're unsure if the time is right, we encourage you to learn more about the signs. We recognize the depth of your love for your dog, and the willingness to make difficult decisions for their well-being.
It is very important to take care of yourself and family members after the euthanasia procedure. Grief begins when the loss of a loved one is imminent and the memories and activities you shared can no longer be experienced. Although it can be a painful time, grieving is a crucial step in honoring your dog's memory and self-healing. Read more about grieving for your dog.
"I was dreading the experience of having to put my dog down, but looking back now afterwards, it was such a peaceful and loving experience."
"Dr. Whala was extremely kind, compassionate and gentle with our lab Hershey. She was sensitive and caring for our needs as Hershey's human family as well as being sensitive and mindful to the needs of our other dog Daisy, allowing Daisy the opportunity to say goodbye to her lifelong fur friend. Even though it was extremely difficult saying goodbye to our beloved Hershey, Dr. Whala made the experience more bearable due to her kindness and the love she showed towards Hershey."
"When entering my home my Bella barked. Doctor gently knelt and immediately made a connection with Bella using a loving soft spoken voice and gentle touch showing love and respect. Her professionalism was unparalleled. When she touched Bella she did in a way that it made Bella and I completely comfortable and secure in our decision to gift Bella the gift of euthanasia. I Will remember Dr Karen and Bella for the rest of my life , holding them in a very special place in my heart. I highly recommend Dr Karen .She does her job with such love, care and respect."
"Thank you for doing what you do, the ability for both my family and our beloved pup to be our most comfortable was invaluable."
"Dr. Gary was very kind and patient. He explained the euthanasia procedure to us and gave us the time we needed to say goodbye to our loved Golden Retriever named Boston. He helped make this difficult time for us a bit easier. I highly recommend him."
"We were very impressed with how Dr. Whala handled the whole experience, as difficult it is. She was kind and gentle, listened to us talk about our dog and created an atmosphere of peace and acceptance. What a gift."
"We would like to thank Dr. Hsia with this difficult task to ease our precious pup to cross over. We appreciate your grace and compassion in what you do on a daily basis. Thank you, The Franger's."
Here are our frequently asked questions to help you feel fully informed and at ease.