Tranquility Veterinary Services
 

Loving & Private
At Home Pet Euthanasia

We all want to pass away at home, in our sleep, surrounded by family. With at home pet euthanasia, we can make sure that's exactly what happens for your special pet.

The decision to say goodbye to or euthanize a beloved pet is one of the hardest and most important decisions you will make for your dog or cat. When the time comes that your dog or cat is no longer comfortable and happy, compassionately allowing your pet to pass at home surrounded by their family and favorite things is great gift.

Their experience of the appointment will be meeting a new house guest and getting a small shot to help them slowly relax into a deep sleep before the final injection. No scary car ride or busy clinic waiting room. You won't need to squeeze your grief into a short appointment slot or drive home alone. Housecall vet Dr. Rathjens will come to your home for an unhurried, personal, and loving final appointment for your dog or cat. 

It is normal have strong emotions during this time or to struggle with knowing whether you are making the right decision. Dr. Rathjens will support both you and your pet every step of the way. She can be reach via phone, email, or the contact form below. Appointments can be scheduled via phone, email, or on the calendar at the bottom of the page.

Give us a call. We're here to help.

Contact information and scheduling
FAQs
Resources
Emergencies

Contact and Scheduling Information

Making the decision to reach out can be incredibly hard. We know how difficult this time is and will be with you every step of the way. We are always happy to discuss your pet's situation on the phone to help you determine if it's time to schedule an appointment with us or if there are other resources we can connect you with first. Appointments can be scheduled via phone, email, or online (see calendar below).

 
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Tranquility Veterinary Services, PLLC
phone: 202-559-9329
email: dr.rathjens@tranquilityvetservices.com

 
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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know when it's "time"?

This is a very important and personal question. There is a window of time in which pet euthanasia may be appropriate. In this window, a pet is stable but dealing with very serious issues that would warrent euthansia, but not yet in a crisis state where immediate euthanasia is the only humane option for a pet. With sudden or very serious disease or injury, that window is hours or days. Other times, such as with chronic issues like arthritis or dementia, that window is weeks to months. Within that window, consider your pet's quality of life, your own quality of life, your resources (financial, emotional, and time), and your personal philosophies to help decide if it's time to schedule a pet euthanasia appointment.

It can be helpful to use objective rubrics regularly to assess your pet's quality of life. Here is one helpful example from Ohio State.

Another, more subjective, idea is to mark a calender with good days and bad days for your pet to help evaluate how they doing over time.

What should I expect during an in home pet euthanasia?

Every pet is unique, and Tranquility Veterinary Services will always tailor our approach to meet your pet's individual needs. Due to the nature of your pet's infirmity, we may need to do things differently. That said, these are the typical steps:

Upon arrival, Dr. Rathjens will answer any questions, discuss your preferences for aftercare (transport for pet cremation vs making your own arrangments), ask if there are any particular rituals or ceremonies you would like to do during the euthansia process, complete paperwork, and collect payment.

Next, your pet will be sedated with injectible medications. Once your pet is fully sedated and you are ready, the final medications will be given as another injection. The final medications take your pet from a state of being unconscious to a very deep state of anesthesia which results in the brain function completely stopping and death.

After your pet has passed, Dr. Rathjens will give you whatever time and space you need to say your final goodbyes. When you are ready, Dr. Rathjens will transport your pet for aftercare using a basket or stretcher.

Should children be present during the pet euthanasia?

You know your child best. Most children handle seeing a pet euthanasia very well (especially a pet euthanasia at home where the child can come and go or play nearby as desired by the child), and seeing the process can actually help them to understand what has happened. It's ok to let your children see your emotions, but also important not to scare them.

Avoid saying that your pet will be/was "put to sleep" or other euphemisms, because this can confuse children and can even create fear of sleeping. Using the words "died" and "dead" is uncomfortable for us, but easier for children to understand. It is also normal for children to have lots of questions about death after their pet has passed, whether or not they are present at the time of death.

If you feel it would be best for your family to not have children present during the appointment, consider having a memorial service or even a wake afterwards. If you want to keep your pet's body at home for viewing, but do want cremation, we can arrange to have a local pet crematorium come to you (price depends on pet size and your location).

Here is a wonderful resource for parents and caregivers on dealing with pet euthanasia. It has specific information for children ranging from babies to young adults

How far in advance do I need to schedule an appointment?

The further in advance you call, the better the chance we will be available when you need us. Most appointments are scheduled 12-48 hours in advance, but if your pet is declining slowly and you know it's time before there is an emergency, it's fine to schedule a week or two ahead of time as well.

Every effort is made to see same day appointment requests, but when that is not possible, we will recommend another housecall vet or 24 pet emergency clinic.

My dog doesn't like it when strangers come in the house. Can I still have a housecall appointment when it's time to say goodbye?

Yes. As long as you let us know ahead of time, we can make safe and low stress plan to help your companion transition at home. Usually this involves feeding a medicated treat (such as peanut butter or cat food with medications mixed in) when we first arrive to help take the edge off. There is an additional fee for the oral sedation because much higher doses must be used. It is also possible to work with your regular vet to have oral medications prescribed ahead of time for you to give the night before and the morning of your appointment.

What types of pets will you see?

Generally, just dogs and cats. Pocket pets may be considered on a case-by-case basis. We do not see reptiles or birds at this time.

Grief and Bereavement Resources

Websites

Veterinary Wisdom Pet Parents Resource Center

Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement: information and chat rooms about pet loss and grief, including anticipatory grief

Pet Loss Helplines

ASPCA Pet Loss Hotline
877-474-3310

Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine Pet Loss Support
540-231-8038
www.vetmed.vt.edu/vet-memorial/support.asp

Tufts University Pet Loss Support Hotline
(staffed by trained student volunteers)
508-839-7966
www.tufts.edu/vet/petloss/

Full list of helpline numbers 

Children's books

Dog Heaven by Cynthia Rylant
Cat Heaven by Cynthia Rylant
The Tenth Good Thing About Barney by Judith Viorst

Emergencies

Dr. Rathjens will see same-day appointments for at home pet euthanasia whenever possible. However, if you believe your pet requires immediate help and we are not available, please call your regular veterinarian or go to a 24 hour pet emergency clinic (several local options available below):