July 20, 2016 Uncategorized

Home Euthanasia: The Pros and Cons

Home Euthanasia: The Pros and Cons

A hand holding a dog's pawThe decision to euthanize a beloved pet is one of the most heart wrenching decisions pet lovers have to make. I am quite certain every pet family with an ill, aging pet hopes their pet will die peacefully asleep curled up in their bed. I am also certain pets rarely die peacefully in their sleep, forcing most pet families to make a decision to euthanize their favorite fur baby. Not only do they have to decide when, but also where. I frequently talk with pet families about the pros and cons of home euthanasia.

The Pros

As someone who needed dark glasses and a hat to cover up my swollen eyes and generally disheveled condition when I had to euthanize my own cats, I understand completely how others don’t want to be seen in a public place, like the veterinarian’s office, in that state of disarray. A home euthanasia prevents a rickety pet from making one more trip in a car or taxi while allowing the family to stage a peaceful and loving goodbye for their pet – something more difficult to do in the sanitary and stainless environment of a veterinary hospital. For pets with an aversion to the veterinarian’s office, a home euthanasia allows them to spend their last minutes in comfortable and familiar surroundings.

The Cons

Not all pets can or should be euthanized at home. If your pet is critically ill and in the hospital, a home euthanasia might be more stressful. Take for example the dog or cat in heart failure requiring oxygen therapy. Removing a pet in respiratory distress from the oxygen cage and heading home is a really bad idea. I would argue this decision borders on selfishness. A dog that protects your home against strangers may come unglued when a veterinarian and assistant arrive for a home euthanasia. Unless you corral your scaredy cat before the doorbell rings, she is likely to hide. Extracting her from under the bed with brooms or other long handled appliances could end up being worse than simply putting her in her carrier and driving to the veterinarian’s office. Lastly, ask yourself if you can walk by your sofa every day if the last memory of your dog is him being euthanized there.

Sage Advice

Plan ahead. As maudlin as it sounds, investigate home euthanasia services. Does your regular veterinarian provide this service? Is there a veterinarian who specializes in home euthanasia? Ask how much lead time they need to schedule an appointment. If your dog or cat takes a sudden turn for the worse, does the veterinarian have a flexible schedule? If you decide home euthanasia is not right for you or your pet, ask your veterinarian if they have a room specially designed for families who are saying goodbye. If not, take your pet’s favorite blanket or bed and treats along. Throw some candles in your bag and add an iPod with downloaded music to match the mood of the day. These steps will help to make the sad day just a bit more bearable. If you have children, it may not be appropriate for them to be present at the euthanasia, so create a memory for them with your pet’s paw print using a handprint kit.

Are you struggling to make the decision on when to euthanize a beloved pet? Read my thoughts on when to euthanize.

Tags: amcny, animal medical center, animals, ann hohenhaus, cats, dogs, euthanasia, NYC, pets,

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