Here For You

Deciding whether or not to euthanize your pet can be one of the most difficult decisions you will have to make. Making the choice between life and death for a loved one can be confusing and emotional. Know that your pets are blessed to have you in their lives and being able to offer them the option for euthanasia (literally “good death”) is something to be grateful for.

We wish there was one simple answer to help you make the decision. You and your family truly know your pet the best and this decision must be something you decide together and are comfortable with.

If you would like help determining your pet’s quality of life, consider consulting a quality of life scale. This still will not give you a black or white answer but may help you understand how your pet is feeling.

  • Is your pet’s quality of life declining?
  • Is she losing weight or sleeping more than normal?
  • Does your pet still enjoy her favorite activities?
  • Is your pet in a lot of pain or having a difficult time getting up or laying down?
  • Can your pet maintain her normal routine, greeting you at the door, going outside on her own, etc?
  • Does your pet seem to be suffering? Her eyes might look vacant or she may act anxious or distant.
  • Is her personality changing? Is she becoming unpredictable or aggressive when approached?
  • Do you worry for your family or your kid’s safety around her?
  • Has your pet stopped eating or drinking? Is your pet incontinent, peeing or pooping inside without knowing it?

Every pet and family is different and everyone’s idea of a “good” quality of life are different. If you have noticed any of these indicators, please discuss with your family and your veterinarian the best decision for your pet. Besides euthanasia, hospice care may be a good option.

  • Understand your pet’s medical situation. If you have a good understanding of what your pet is dealing with, it may make your decision easier. Your veterinarian is happy to provide as much information as possible to help you and your family make sense of the diagnosis.
  • Consider your financial capabilities. This can be difficult for pet lovers to understand, but this aspect can be incredibly important. Many diseases and illnesses are treatable or curable but knowing how much you can afford to do needs to be a consideration. Understand, your financial situation has nothing to do with how much you love your pet.
  • If the teeth are rotten, have them removed. Sometimes eating habits change due to painful oral health.
  • If you do decide to treat or manage, know the time and difficulty involved. Post-treatment care or medical management can be very time-consuming and your family or lifestyle may not be able to support the requirements. Before you decide to treat or manage, know what follow-up is involved.
  • Do you have the support needed for whatever decision you make? Emotionally and mentally, having a support system to help you through will give you peace of mind knowing that someone is there for you, just as you are for your pet.

At Parker Center Animal Clinic, we are here for you during these difficult decisions. Although we can’t make the choice for you, we will help you through the tough questions, give you the answers to the medical questions, and provide support for you through all of your decisions.

Upon Arrival

Upon arrival you will be taken into our bereavement room that is set up with a couch and possibly a bed on the floor for your pet. Feel free to sit with your pet on the floor or get them on the couch with you, we want you both to be comfortable. Typically, one of our trained technicians will come into the room first to discuss after life body care and have you sign some paperwork. They may ask to take your pet to our treatment area for a few minutes to place an IV catheter.

An IV catheter will help us properly administer the medications with less pain and worry. If the technician places this in the room with you, you may see that they shave a small area on one of the legs to help visualize the vein. They will then insert the catheter needle so expect to see blood. This will be wrapped with tape and an elastic material called vetwrap to keep the catheter in place. The technician will then use a saline solution to flush the catheter to make sure it has stayed in place. This solution is harmless and has no medicine in it.

The Procedure

After the IV catheter is placed you will have as much time with your pet as you would like. When you are ready, the veterinarian will come in and answer any questions you may have and talk through the rest of the procedure with you. Before he begins the procedure, he may flush the catheter with the saline solution again.

When you are ready the doctor will first administer a sedative through the IV or under the skin. This can help calm your pet down if he is anxious. Once your pet is relaxed, the doctor will administer a pink solution that is an anesthetic. The amount of solution given is actually an overdose and that is what helps your pet die quietly and quickly.

Please know that your pet’s heart may take a few seconds to stop beating, but during this time they do not feeling anything. The veterinarian will listen to your pet’s heart with his stethoscope until the heart stops beating. He will let you know that your pet has passed when that happens. Sometimes during the euthanasia process and after the heart has stopped, a few things may happen that can be difficult to see. Your pet may vocalize as the medication is being administered, their muscles may continue to twitch, they may lose control of their bowels or bladder, and they may have agonal breathing. This is not an actual breath, it is just an involuntary muscle contraction. Also know that their eyes will not shut.

Next Steps

You may visit for as long as you like. This may be a minute, it may be longer. If you have elected to take the body home, we will help you wrap it up and place it in your car. Please make sure, before you leave, that you are okay to drive home or have somebody to drive you. And always know what we are here to help and offer support if needed. +