FAQ & Resources

Comfort and Support for You and Your Pet

During the Covid-19 pandemic, we are still helping families and will be observing all CDC recommended safety measures.

If your pet is experiencing an emergency, please call the Veterinary Specialty Center of Tucson at 520-795-9955 or Southern Arizona Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Center at 520-888-3177.

FAQ

Why choose in-home euthanasia?

More and more people are learning about the beautiful option of in-home euthanasia for their pets. Although hospitalization is necessary for treating some conditions, most pets would prefer not to be there.  The comfort of home is a wonderful gift to give your pet. There are many benefits of in-home euthanasia.

  • Your pet can rest at home with no unsettling car ride.
  • Family and friends and other pets can all be present.
  • You can have the opportunity to grieve in the privacy of your own home.
  • You can choose the setting – inside, outside, on their bed, in a favorite place, wherever everyone is comfortable.  You also have the ability to set a calming atmosphere i.e.     candles, music, pictures, if you so choose.
  • There is freedom, without judgement, to practice religious beliefs.
  • If you are choosing home burial, transport of the remains will not be necessary

In-home pet euthanasia opens up many wonderful possibilities for you, your family, and your beloved pet. Together, you can decide when the time is right.

How do we know when is the right time?

Making the decision to say goodbye to a pet is one of the most difficult decisions there is and is often accompanied by feelings of guilt.  There is not one set of criteria that can be used to determine exactly when is the right time.  Every pet and every family has different circumstances that need to be taken into account.  The first step usually is to consult with your regular veterinarian who will evaluate your pet’s medical history, physical condition, quality of life, and prognosis.  If you do not have a family vet, please feel free to give us a call. 

 

Most pet owners know their pet so intuitively that they have a sense for when it is the right time for their pet, and also for themselves and their family.  If you are uncertain though, some physical signs to consider which may be indicators of pain or discomfort are:

  • increased respiratory rate
  • increased heart rate
  • loss of appetite
  • lack of mobility
  • Fecal or urinary incontinence, and
  • disinterest in the family and/or things or activities that were important previously

 

The most important thing is to recognize what is normal and abnormal for your pet.  Please feel free to contact us if you need some guidance about making this important decision.  We can discuss the changes you see in your pet and help you determine if euthanasia is the best choice.

How much does a home euthanasia cost and what methods of payment do you accept?

Please contact us regarding fees.  Cash, check or credit card payments can be accepted when we arrive.  All major credit cards and Apple Pay are accepted.

What areas in Tucson does your mobile veterinary service cover?

We cover all of Tucson and surrounding areas.  There may be additional fees for travel times over an hour.  All requests will be considered, so please contact us at any time to inquire.

How much advance notice do I need to schedule a home euthanasia?

We are available by appointment 7 days a week for in-home euthanasia.  Most appointments are scheduled the same day, which means that availability changes quickly.  Because we are aware of the difficulty in making a decision to euthanize, as well as sometimes the time-sensitivity of the physical condition of the pet, we make all efforts to accommodate the needs of each family and pet. 

Typically, appointments that are made at least the day prior or earlier can be scheduled at the your preferred time.  Same day, short-notice, and emergency appointments usually can be accommodated, but not guaranteed. We make every effort to help every family.  Our primary goal is to help people and their pets at this difficult time , so please contact us no matter what the situation.

How do I make an appointment for in home euthanasia?

For fastest response, please call or text (520) 346-5566 to make an appointment for in-home euthanasia.  You may also use the form on the “contact us” page to email correspondence and/or an appointment request.  Email may also be sent directly to drv@pawprintstucson.com  Please feel free to call, text or email anytime.

Who comes to my home?
Euthanasia must be conducted by a licensed veterinarian. At times an assistant will accompany the veterinarian to help with euthanasia. Our goal will be to make you and your pet feel comfortable and supported throughout.
What can I do to prepare for the visit?
Before the appointment, it may be helpful to consider where you would like the euthanasia to take place, who will be there and if there are any other needs you may have.

For example, would you like to be inside, on a favorite bed, with a favorite toy? Is there a special place in the yard that brings you and your pet comfort or has special meaning? Would you like to prepare a note to read to them? Would you like to keep some hair as a remembrance? There are many opportunities to make this as comforting and individual as you would like for both you and your friend.

Even if your pet is not eating, it can be helpful to have their favorite treat and toys handy. These things can bring them additional comfort.

What about children and pet euthanasia?
Having your children present for the euthanasia is a very personal decision and depends on how you feel about having them present. We are here to help support your decision and will follow your lead.

You may consider asking them if they would like to be present during the procedure. Each individual child, just like each individual adult, may have strong feelings one way or another, and there is not right or wrong answer to whether someone decides to be present or not. The most important thing is to let them chose the option that they are most comfortable with.

If your children are planning to be present, you may wish to prepare answers to questions about death, why the decision to euthanize your pet was made, and what you feel will happen with your pet once they have been euthanized. It can also be helpful to explain what they can expect to happen and that if at any time they are not comfortable, they may leave the room.

What about other household pets attending the euthanasia?
We recommend that other pets in the household see the pet that has passed away, especially if they seemed to have a close relationship. While we think it is less important for the other pets to be in attendance during the procedure, they are welcome to be there. Many people choose home euthanasia in part so that other pet family members may be present.

The only time it may not be advisable for the other pet(s) to be in the room during the procedure is if they may be disruptive, but most will settle down after the initial excitement of having a new person come into their home abates. Allowing the other pet(s) the opportunity to be present during or after the procedure can reduce their anxiety and help them with their own grieving process.

How is the euthanasia done?

It is our commitment to make euthanasia as stress-free and painless as possible.  A potent sedative and pain medication is administered in a single injection.  Within about 5-10 minutes, the medication takes effect and your pet is relaxed and comfortable. Most pets will be completely sedated and non-responsive at that point. 

When the pet and their family are ready, a concentrated euthanasia solution is administered in a second completely painless injection.  Within a minute or two after the euthanasia solution is given, your pet will peacefully and quietly pass away.  The entire procedure should take around 30-60 minutes.

We understand it is important to have as much time as needed during this very emotional and difficult time.  While some owner’s preference is to complete the procedure expeditiously, we are prepared to take as much time as is needed so that no one ever feels that they are rushed to say goodbye.

What can I expect during or immediately after my pet’s passing?

It is good to know what to expect in the moments following your pet’s passing to have a better understanding of what’s going on as well as to alleviate some anxiety and fear that can be associated with losing a loved one.  Most often, the pet’s eyes will remain open, even if we try to close them. 

In the majority of cases, the pet will simply pass quietly.  However, it is important to note that they may lose bowel and bladder control, vocalize and/or they may have tiny muscle tremors. Occasionally diaphragmatic contractions can cause the pet to appear to be taking a breath or make a noise. These things are nothing to be alarmed about and are all completely normal part of the process of death in many cases.

If you want to bury your pet, we recommend checking local ordinances, bury the same day as the euthanasia, and bury at least six feet deep as the euthanasia solution can be harmful to wild animals should they dig up the remains.  It is also recommended to find out where utility lines are buried to avoid any injuries while preparing the burial site.

Can challenges come up during euthanasia? Will there be complications?

We all want euthanasia to go smoothly and with the information you provide about your pet’s physical health, knowledge of the drugs being used, and taking the time to assess your pet’s needs, the risk of a bad experience is lessened. 

Even with all the best intentions, preplanning and exceptional attention to detail, challenges may happen.  Euthanasia is a medical procedure and sometimes complications occur that could not be predicted.  Since every pet is an individual, there is not necessarily one “normal” response to drugs and there is a possibility of unexpected physical reactions, or the process taking longer than desired.  We will do everything we can to minimize potential adverse reactions and strive for a gentle experience for everyone.

What are my options regarding my pet’s remains after euthanasia?

Options include burial in a cemetery or at home, and individual cremation (your pet’s ashes returned to you) or communal cremation (group cremation/ashes are not returned).  We can assist you in making the right choice for your family, and if you choose, will transport the remains for cremation.  We will discuss aftercare options when making the appointment.

What do I do if my pet has passed at home and I need to arrange cremation?

If your pet has passed at home, you may call for help with aftercare.  Your pet can be transported for cremation.  A fee for transport and cremation will apply.  Transport for burial can also be done as long as arrangements for burial have been made prior and transport fees will apply.

What is your cancellation policy?

We understand that this is an excruciating decision, and also that the condition of a pet many change quickly.  Although there is no cancellation fee, to help ensure that we can be available to other families that need our assistance we ask that you please contact us as soon as reasonably possible so that our appointment times are available to other families that may need us.

Grief Support and Other Resources
What resources are available for Grief Support?

The death of a pet can have a huge impact on one’s life. Pets are a part of our families and we have very special bonds with them. When a pet dies, it can be hard for others to understand our grief. This can cause our grief to become complicated and take much longer to work through.  There are many feelings associated with the death of a pet and all of them are normal. You may experience anger, denial, guilt, and great sadness and everyone processes their grief differently.  Help is available if you are having an especially difficult time dealing with the loss of your pet.  If you feel you are in need of immediate crisis help, please call 1-844-493-8255We are always here to help you any way we can.

Helpful Books for Adults

  • The Loss of a Pet by Dr. Wallace Sife
  • Grieving the Death of a Pet by Betty J. Carmack
  • Coping with Sorrow: On the Loss of your Pet by Moira K. Anderson M ed.

Helpful Books for Children

  • Dog Heaven by Cynthia Rylant
  • Cat Heaven by Cynthia Rylant
  • When a Pet Dies by Fred Rodgers
  • The Heaven of Animals by Nancy Tillman

Online Support

  • Morris animal Foundation link

  • International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care

  • Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement link

  • American Veterinary Medical association (avma.org/HumaneEndings)

How can I honor my friend?

For many, honoring a friend is an important part of both grieving and healing  and can be approached in many different ways. You already honored your pet by giving them the best quality of life you could and by making the decision to give them a dignified and peaceful passing.  That is what matters most to your pet. 

It may help you to do other things that bring you comfort as well and can be as simple as telling a story about the good times you shared together, making or purchasing a keepsake, drawing pictures, planting a tree, or making a donation. There are also many memorial websites out there where you can send in a picture and story of your pet to share and honor your friend. The most important thing about any memorial is that it helps you feel good about the time you and your pet shared together.