When is the correct time to think about euthanasia? When your pet has pain which cannot be managed or has been diagnosed with a terminal condition for which there is no further reasonable treatment available it is likely time. It may well be the most difficult decision that most pet owners will ever have to make. You will never make this decision lightly and may need some help deciding.

Two tools you could use are: “The Quality of Life Scale”, which was designed by Dr. Alice Villalobos; or the marbles in the jar method. These methods may or may not be able to assist you in the decision making process. In the end, it may come down to a family meeting.

The concept of “the marbles in a jar” method is as simple as placing a marble at the end of each day in two separate jars marked “good day” and “bad day”. This visual aid will help you to determine what may be best for your pet. When the bad days outnumber the good, you have to come to terms with the quality versus quantity of life. The “The Quality of Life Scale” is simply that. The scale will help you to determine the effectiveness of your pet hospice care.

When the time comes to book the appointment what should you expect? We have prepared a room especially for this purpose. Therefore you may take as much time as you need and should never feel pressured to exit before you wish to. Your pet will be taken to our treatment room where an intravenous catheter is placed. If required, a mild sedative may be suggested prior to the procedure to make your trusted companion less stressed. Your pet will then be returned to you. Some caregivers will want to stay in the room during the procedure, while others will want to step out. This is something that you may want to think about. Regardless it will not alter any steps in how the procedure is performed. An injection of medication is given that is similar to an anesthetic but more potent. This procedure can vary in the length of time, but is normally quite quick and is painless.

What will happen to my companion after? The body may be taken home for burial, or sent for cremation. If you wish to bury your pet at home, please check with your municipality. Private and communal cremations are performed by Veterinary Referral Cremation Services in Pembroke. If you choose communal cremation your pet’s ashes are distributed in a memorial “garden” that you can visit. If you are interested in having your pets ashes returned you will have the option of an urn, wooden box or satin pouch. These are available to view at the Veterinary Referral Cremation Services website or in our hospital.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call or contact us by email to help you through this difficult time.