The Decision for Pet Home Euthanasia

Experts say interest in at-home pet euthanasia and the number of services offering it are increasing. “Anecdotally, this is a growing trend, particularly since some pet owners prefer to have their animal pass in a familiar setting, at home, surrounded by members of the family,” says David Kirkpatrick, a spokesman for the American Veterinary Medical Association.

It was not too long ago, my mother made the decision to say “farewell” to her pet dog of 16 years, a poodle breed who had been her companion throughout the years.

The experience for the entire family was painful.

To watch an animal suffer while at the same time there is a feeling of helplessness because her dog was at the stage where not much could be done. It has been so profound and painful of an experience, in fact, as her daughter I began to appreciate the grief, pain and emotion from our humane side and also appreciate the little dogs suffering through its death.

When your pet is dying.

It was a first time for everyone in the family. To have a pet die in one’s residence. I suspected it was going to happen because the dog had been suffering for quite some time now. It made me question the process and delve deeper into what else could be done.

Could it have been done differently?

It is my hope and efforts that this story I am sharing with the world will contribute to the topic of deciding for pet home euthanasia. It is a choice I have since favored after watching this animal suffer in what I saw an inhumane way. There are choices today in which veterinarians can administer home euthanasia.

Pets are known to display subtle signs of any pain and mask it quite well. Because of these difficulties in identifying a pets pain such as crying, vocalizing, whining and yelping, it makes the process even more challenging. Is the animal really suffering?

Pet euthanasia involves massive overdose of concentrated anesthesia made for euthanasia. The animal will experience feelings of being tired and sleepy. A calming sedative is given through a small needle carefully under the skin. Complete unconsciousness sets in within 15 minutes. A final vein injection is then given.

Euthanasia will then overwhelm the brain and shuts it off, the breathing quickens in response to no brain activity and breathing then stops within 30 seconds, followed by the heart slowing and stopping over 1–3 minutes. Faster breathing (due to no brain activity) is the primary change to expect. You may also see that the eyes remain slightly open, the skin may twitch, and the tongue may relax out a little. Occasionally, a few sudden deep breaths occur.

Home visits typically last 30–60 minutes. These days, a growing number of services are available to euthanize your pet in your home. Some veterinarians say it’s less stressful to allow a pet to pass more quietly and peacefully in familiar surroundings. At-home euthanasia isn’t for everyone. It may be difficult to schedule. Constant reminders of where your pet died may be upsetting. And things can go wrong that might be better dealt with in your veterinarian’s office.

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