In-home Euthanasia

Compassionate End-of-Life Services in Your Home

Eastside Veterinary Associates - In-home euthanasiaThe end-of-life decision for a beloved pet is one of the hardest decisions faced by pet owners. At Eastside Veterinary Associates, we understand that the bond you have formed with a cherished pet is one of the strongest emotional bonds experienced by humans. One difficult aspect of deciding to end the suffering of an ill or aging pet is knowing when the time has come. As medical professionals, we can help gauge the pet's pain or the prognosis, but the timing is up to you, the pet's guardian.

Signs that the time has come:

All of these symptoms can be signs of disease, sometimes treatable, so your veterinarian should make an assessment as to the seriousness and curability of the condition. If it is terminal and incurable, or if the pet is of an advanced age, you will need to make the final decision.

One thing we can help with is your decision as to where the procedure will take place. Eastside Veterinary Associates offers in-home euthanasia for our clients. For the comfort and ease of the pet and the pet owner, there is no better place to say goodbye than in your own home.

Eastside Veterinary Associates - In-home euthanasiaWhat to Expect

If you request in-home euthanasia, we will coordinate a 2 hour time block that does not cause undue suffering for your pet. If the procedure is needed urgently, we can refer you to other colleagues that may have availability. You will need to consider the aftercare options such as burial or cremation. Burial is allowed in King County but please check with your city on the specific rules. Our staff at Eastside Veterinary Associates can help you with cremation services. Your choice will be either a private cremation where your pet's ashes will be returned to you in a premium urn, standard metal urn, or a wooden box. Or you may choose a communal cremation where your pet will be cremated with other pets, and his or her ashes are scattered on an apple orchard in the Cascade Foothills. It is best to be prepared and have decisions made prior to the day of the procedure. Remember that you, and your family, will be emotional on the day you say goodbye and not in the best frame of mind to make these decisions.

Spend time with the pet before the veterinarian arrives, and allow family members to say goodbye. Be sure to explain the process honestly to younger children. Do not use euphemisms that may confuse them. Try not to associate euthanasia with "going to sleep," which may be frightening for children. You might say, "We are helping Fluffy die because we love her so much and we don't want her to suffer anymore." Allow family members to brush or stroke the pet, and don't be surprised if the dog wags her tail or the cat begins to purr. Even dying animals exhibit these behaviors. We do not recommend children under the age of 10 to be present for the injections as they may not be able to differentiate a euthanasia injection from the shots they get for vaccinations. If you have a specific request, please let us know when making the appointment.

When the time comes, the veterinarian will first administer a sedative injection that takes between 5-15 minutes to relax your pet. The second and final injection is an overdose of an anesthetic that is given in the vein which will slow down and stop the heart in a few minutes. The death is peaceful and painless. Your pet's eyes will not close fully as is portrayed in the movies. Your pet may take several breaths (agonal breaths) even after the heart stops which may be alarming especially if you aren't expecting it. This is not a sign of life returning but is simply a reflex. We will also prepared with absorbent pads in case of urine or defecation due to complete relaxation of the muscles when your pet has passed. You will have a chance to say good bye to your pet before we bring your pet back to the hospital to be picked up by the cremation service. If you choose private cremation, ashes will be returned in 2-3 weeks to our hospital for you to pick up directly from us.

Commemorating Your Pet

To help the grieving process, you may want to plan a memorial service or plant a tree in the pet's memory.

A Sacred Moment

Seeds of Life

Pet Garden at Marymoor

Art from Ashes

Pet Loss Support

If you or a family member needs grief support, the following organizations may help. The Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine Pet Loss Support offers a group of students who have been trained in grief counseling by a licensed therapist.

Seattle Humane Society

The Seattle Humane Society's weekly Pet Loss Support sessions offer support and resources to help with the loss of a pet. Pet Loss Support meets every Saturday at 10:00 am. No fee is required and you are free to attend as often as necessary throughout your grief process. Pet Loss Support meets on the second floor of the administration building at the Seattle Humane Society.

For more information about in-home euthanasia, or to make an appointment, please call our office at (425) 882-7788.

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