Euthanizing Pets at Home with a Veterinarian

The decision to euthanize a pet is one of the hardest that many owners face. Euthanizing your pet at the vet's office can make his last hours unnecessarily traumatic. Many vets these days euthanize pets at home. Learn more about euthanizing your pet in the comfort and privacy of your own home.

Benefits of Euthanizing Pets at Home

For many pets, going to the vet is a stressful, traumatic experience. Pets often don't live traveling in cars, sitting in waiting rooms in the presence of other animals or entering the exam room to be looked at by the vet. Euthanizing pets at home can eliminate all of these stress-causing factors, making your pet's final hours much easier for both of you.

Home euthanization is also a good option for extremely large pets or very ill pets, since it can be difficult to transport these animals to a veterinary clinic. Euthanizing your pet in your own home can give you a lot more control over your pet's environment during the process. Home euthanasia allows you to make your pet as comfortable as you can in his last hours, and it gives you the privacy to grieve after he's gone, without worrying about facing a room full of strangers to trying to drive home in your distress.

Euthanizing a pet at home is also a good idea if you have other pets, especially if those ones have a close relationship with your dying pet. Euthanizing at home means that your other pets can observe the process and see the body. For both people and animals, seeing the body of a dead loved one is very important for closure and coming to terms with the loss.

Euthanizing Pets at Home

Many vets will make special house calls to euthanize pets. If your regular vet doesn't do this, he or she can recommend another vet who does. The American Association of Housecall Veterinarians can also help you find a housecall vet in your area. You may want to pay for the procedure in advance, so that you won't have to worry about it afterward, when you're likely to be very upset.

Being There for Your Pet during Euthanasia

For some people, witnessing their pet's euthanasia is just too difficult. You have the right to step out of the room before the procedure, and you don't have to feel guilty about it.

If you choose to stay in the room during the euthanasia, you should be prepared for what will happen. Your pet may make noises, experience powerful muscle spasms, and void his bowels and bladder during the procedure. These things are a normal reaction to the euthanasia drugs, and they don't mean that your pet is in pain. In fact, he is not.

If you feel yourself losing control of your emotions, you may want to leave the room before your pet is euthanized. Your pet could become upset himself if he sees you upset. 

Other household members may want to witness the euthanization. Children under 10 are usually discouraged from witnessing the death of any animal, since it can be traumatic for them. Older children, however, may do so if they wish.