If your pet is aging, has a declining quality of life, or suffers from a debilitating medical problem, we recommend a consultation with one of our doctors. We want to make sure that your pet is comfortable until the end of his life. We can offer medications or treatments that will make your pet more comfortable at home.
When all treatment options have been explored and your pet is no longer experiencing a good quality of life (not eating, not able to get up, is in pain or is no longer interested in interacting with family members), we can discuss euthanasia.
When you decide that euthanasia is the best choice for your pet, here is what to expect at your appointment:
You will be put in a private exam room. We will have you sign a form that states that you are the owner and you give us permission to euthanize your pet. It also states that the pet has not bitten anyone within the last 10 days. This is a legal requirement to protect people from exposure to rabies. If your pet has bitten someone, please call ahead to discuss how this situation is handled. The form also lists the choices for care of your deceased pet if you decide not to take your pet home with you. We use a reputable company in Napa called Bubbling Well for burial and cremation services. They offer group cremation and burial, group burial, or private cremation with the ashes returned or scattered. We have samples and pictures of up-graded plaques and urns that they offer. You can call ahead to discuss prices, or we will go over these things during your appointment. You are welcome to pay ahead of time or after your appointment.
The procedure itself:
Typically we give your pet a sedative injection to make them relaxed or sleepy to ease any pain or stress. This usually takes 5-10 minutes; occasionally a second injection is needed. You can choose whether or not you are present for the euthanasia. We usually bring in blankets for your pet’s comfort. You can sit and hold your pet, and we can put him on the table or floor so that you and your family members can be with him. We encourage you to pet and talk to your pet. Once your pet is ready and you have said your final goodbye, we will shave the hair on a front or back leg, apply alcohol to see the vein better, and then inject a euthanasia solution into the vein. An assistant will be present to help the doctor, and we will tell you step by step what we are doing. Your pet will become unconscious, and the injection will stop the heart and respirations. This happens quite rapidly (less than a minute or two). Afterwards they may urinate or defecate as the body relaxes. They may take several large breaths or have small muscle tremors (this does not mean they are conscious or still alive). You are welcome to stay with your pet to say goodbye, or you can leave immediately afterwards. Please plan ahead and have a friend or family member drive for you; we worry about your safety if you are to drive yourself home.
If you choose to have your pet cremated, the ashes will be returned to us in 2-3 weeks. We will call you promptly when they are returned.
PET LOSS RESOURCES
Pleasant Hill Pet Loss Group – meets the 1st Tuesday at Hillcrest Church, 404 Gregory Lane, room 9, Pleasant Hill, 7-8:30pm. Free, drop-in.
Facilitator: Jill Goodfriend (510) 393-1359; email@example.com
Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement: Chat rooms with professionally trained hosts. Lois Roach: LBR21@sbcglobal.net
UC Davis Pet Loss Support Hotline
1 800-565-1526, 530-752-4200 M-F 6:30-9:30pm, Tues-Thurs in the summer. Free.
Petsafe.net/coping-with-pet-loss This site has links to lots of resources and articles.
Animal Medics (925) 526-6318