How will I know it is the right time?
Should children be present during the euthanasia?
How far in advance do I need to make an appointment?
What to expect with a peaceful passing?
How can I be sure I get my pet's ashes back?
Will euthanasia 'hurt'?
How long does euthanasia take?
Should other pets be present during a euthanasia?
What are some ways I can honor my friend?
What are signs of pain?
Do animals hide their pain?
How does the euthanasia drug work?
Why does this service cost more?
Why should I euthanize my pet? Is “dying naturally” a better option?
Why is “in-home” euthanasia recommended over taking my pet to the hospital for this procedure?
Am I able to stay with my pet during the euthanasia procedure?
Are there preparations or “set-up” requirements needed before an in-home euthanasia?
Can we receive care from Lap of Love for our healthy pets?
Is the person coming to my home a veterinarian?
When is my pet ready for a hospice consultation?
What forms of payment do you take?
Can you euthanize multiple pets at the same time?
Can you euthanize an aggressive pet?
What if my pet has bitten someone?
How do I put my pet on Facebook?
This is probably the most difficult question we are asked. The answer varies depending on the pet and the disease. You know your pet best and will be able to see specific changes that indicate the time is right such as:
No longer interested in food or water;
Incontinence (accidents in the house) or unable to go to the bathroom without falling down;
No longer greeting you when you come home;
No longer patrolling the yard or protecting their territory the way they used to;
Lack of grooming (cats and some dogs);
No longer wags his/her tail or holds it down constantly;
Isolates themselves from the people or other pets in the home, particularly in places they usually do not go;
Decreased interest in playing;
Unable to stand or walk on their own;
Change in attitude (depression, aggression, confusion);
Not wanting to do the things they love;
Children should always have the opportunity to say goodbye instead of coming home to an empty house. In our experience, older children (over 5 or 6 years old) are amazingly resilient and will impress you with the heavenly comments they think of. Of course, this decision is to be made by the parents and the parents alone. Some parents have elected to have children at home but in a different room for the sedation and/or actual procedure. This ensured the child was insulated from the parent's emotions (usually harder to deal with than the actual loss of the pet), but were allowed to come say goodbye before the pet was taken away. From comments of parents afterwards, we have found this much easier on the children and on the parents alike. For children younger than 5 or 6, they seem to be unsure about what's going on and are, again, more upset by the parent's emotions than by the loss of the pet. Still, honesty is usually the best policy even for this age. Again... no matter what anyone says, you're the parent and you know what's best!!
Ideally, it is best to try to contact the veterinarian a few days in advance so that arrangements can be made that suit everyone’s schedule. Of course this is not always the case and many of our calls come with less than 24-48 hours notice. We do our very best to be there when needed and can usually accommodate short-notice appointments.
Lap of Love uses only reputable licensed crematories that treat your pet with the same respect as we do. Your pet goes from the hands of the veterinarian to the hands of the crematorium. There are strict identification procedures in place to ensure that your pet’s ashes are theirs alone. We highly recommend contacting your Lap of Love veterinarian to request more information on private cremations if you’re concerned about crematory standards.
The whole appointment is typically between 30-45 minutes. The first injection is a heavy sedative that will allow your pet to relax and get very comfortable. The final injection is very fast acting and takes effect in about 30-60 seconds. After, your paw print will be made and the veterinarian will then step out to give you time alone with your pet. If aftercare is elected, we will then take the pet with us and arrange for the cremation process.
It is our experience that other household pets absolutely need time to say goodbye, as long as they are not disruptive to their sick housemate. If needed, other pets can be placed in another room, then allowed to come say goodbye after their friend has passed. They may act depressed or mope around for a day or so after, but it seems there is much more closure when they are able to see and smell the body of their friend. Dogs and cats have been known to search the house for days when not allowed closure. Sometimes, other pets in the house will appear to ignore their friend who has passed. Rest assured, they have taken in the situation and understand despite their lack of reaction. Other pets may shake or cry. Make sure you pay extra attention to remaining pets to reassure them that everything is ok. You will need the closeness as much as they do!
Honoring your friend is an important part of both the grieving and healing process. You have already been honoring your pet by giving him/her the best quality of life you could and that is what is most important. Here are some ideas as you near the end of your time together:
Tell a story about the good times you shared together:
Make a memorial table with items that remind you of your pet; pictures, toys, a collar or leash, favorite stick or mementos from various trips together. This can be a particularly useful when small children are in involved in the grieving process.
Lap of Love offers a memorial page online where you can share the story and a picture of your companion. The Lap of Love Facebook page is also a great place to share your pet’s picture and story with others that truly care about what you’re going through.
Signs of pain can vary depending on the disease of your pet. Please refer to our Common Disease page which has information on different diseases and the things to look for with each one.
Recent research suggests that animals do not hide their pain, but that it simply doesn’t bother them the same way it bothers us. Humans have anxiety towards pain while animals do not. For example, your reaction to being told you have terminal cancer is completely different than your pet’s reaction. He does not care he only has 6-8 months to live and simply continues enjoying life as always. If his leg hurts, he will limp, if his hips hurt, he will be slow to stand up. These are cues that all good pet owners will be in-tune with and should be addressed with pain medication if applicable. For more information on this interesting topic, pick up Dr. Temple Grandin’s book “Animals in Translation” and read chapter 5.
The euthanasia solution stops all brain function. The brain cannot send signals to the heart or lungs and these organs will slowly stop working. The important part is that the brain is shut off first (like going “under” for surgery).
Lap of Love is a completely different type of service than bringing your pet to the animal hospital. From preparation before the appointment, driving, and making arrangements with the crematory after (if elected), we will spend anywhere from 2-3 hours on average per patient. This job is done with great honor and respect for the pets and their parents.
Most diseases will not ‘instantly’ take the life of your pet. Arthritis and kidney disease are common ailments that our pets suffer from and both of these diseases can lead to a long and painful end of life process. When appropriate, euthanasia can help your pet pass before they experience too much discomfort from a disease they cannot recover from. It’s important to remember that each disease process must be handled differently. Please speak with your regular veterinarian or view our Common Disease handouts for more information on the disease your pet is suffering from.
Saying goodbye to your pet at home has a number of benefits for both the pet and the family.
We can schedule the appointment when it is convenient for everyone, including afterhours and short-notice.
Your pet will be in their own surroundings, which means less anxiety.
Your pet will be in their favorite location with common smells they are accustomed to.
Reduced stress for pets that are difficult to move.
Other household pets can be present allowing them to heal from the loss of their friend faster.
More family members can be present than in a small vet’s office.
For families that wish to bury their pet, in-home service removes any difficult transportation issues.
Yes, you are welcome to stay for as much of the procedure as you are comfortable with. Some people elect to be present for the entire procedure while others only want to be present for just the sedation. It is your personal decision.
No, we want you to focus on loving your pet. If you wish, you might consider having this visit in your pet's favorite place and some families like to have music, favorite toys, pictures, candles and other comforting items close by.
Hospice care can be started whenever your family has elected to cease curative options for your pet. Of course, this is different with each individual disease process (see Common Disease handouts). In veterinary medicine, most of our hospice patients are thought to have 2-3 months maximum left to live. This is very difficult to judge, however, and hospice care can be continued for as long as it is needed.
Pricing is different for each location. Please refer to the Pricing Information detailed on your Veterinarian's page. You can Find a Vet here.
Yes, there have been occasions when two or more pets in a household are very old or sick and have been euthanized at the same time. It is best if both pets are sedated at the same time so that neither one of them is actively alert for the other’s passing. This is a very difficult thing for families and we empathize with the need to say goodbye to multiple pets at the same time. We will try to make the appointment as smooth as possible.
Yes, however we may request that you obtain some oral sedation from your regular veterinarian to give to your pet before the veterinarian’s arrival. The veterinarian may also have to use a muzzle for everyone’s safety.
We would love for you to post a picture and memoriam of your pet on our Facebook page. Just go to Lap of Love Facebook page and simply “Share a Photo.”