Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

How will I know when it is time?

Making the decision for humane euthanasia of your special pet, your companion, is one of the most difficult and emotional times for pet owners. A consultation with your regular veterinarian may help guide your decision, and we also recommend How Do I know When It’s Time?

Here are some pointers that may help you evaluate their quality-of-life.  It may help to keep a calendar of ‘good days’ and ‘bad days’. Is your pet having more ‘bad days’ than good?  A ‘bad day’ may include some of the following:

  • Your pet is not wanting to eat or drink much, or at all
  • Your pet seems weak and lethargic.
  • Chronic or intractable pain that is not being relieved by medications
  • Your pet is having trouble walking and getting up, even when on prescribed medications
  • They no longer greet you when you arrive home and/or are isolating themselves in parts of the house they don’t usually frequent
  • Not grooming themselves (especially cats)
  • Having trouble breathing
  • There is frequent vomiting or abnormal bowel movements which cannot be resolved by veterinary medications or treatments.
  • Often our pets will adjust and hide signs of pain and discomfort until the late stages of illness.  Often, by the time the signs are very noticeable, the pet’s condition can be at an advanced stage.  Humane euthanasia can be a loving decision made to ease the suffering of a pet whose quality of life is declining and may only continue to deteriorate.

What is the process for arranging an In-Home euthanasia visit?

How do I pay for Euthanasia Services?

  • To pay for the initial Telemedicine Consultation with Dr. Speizer:
    • Complete the New Patient Form
    • To pay for Initial Telemedicine Consult click on the link on the Thank-you page that you receive after completing the New Patient Form
  • To pay for the In-Home Euthanasia +/- Cremation, +/- Specialty urns, keepsakes and pendants:
    • During the Telemedicine Consult, Dr. Speizer will discuss your choices for Aftercare for your pet. If you wish, she can create the invoice and send it to you with your choices. You may pay from the link on the sent invoice. Or,
    • You can go to the “Available Pet Euthanasia Services” tab and choose the service you want (For example, In-Home euthanasia with Private Cremation), that item will be added to your Cart. You may also select a Specialty Urn/Keepsake/Pendant or a Clay Paw Print and add it to your cart.
    • “Proceed to Checkout”
    • Enter your billing information, and “Place Order”
  • You can pay by Interac E-Transfer to kind@khearted.ca (and save $15.00).
  • We will send you an email with directions to pay with a credit care or Interac E-Transfer.
  • Once payment has been received, we will send you a receipt.

What Happens during the Euthanasia procedure (see the Euthanasia process)?

The euthanasia process involves giving an overdose of a concentrated anesthetic. Your pet will experience a relaxing sleepiness and will be calm and pain-free during the actual euthanasia. You and other family members may gather around your pet, comfort it, and say goodbye to your companion and friend.

  • We will be at your home for 30-60 minutes.
  • Dr. Speizer will first give a sedative injection under the skin to help your pet feel sleepy and relaxed. Sometimes this injection can sting for a few seconds, so if your pet is still eating, we may encourage them to eat a yummy treat or meal at the time of the sedative injection. For dogs, sliced meat, cheese or bacon can be a good distraction. For cats, tuna, cheese or meat flavoured baby food will sometimes work.
  • Once your pet is sedated (another injection may need to be given to get your pet to a level of deep sleep/anesthesia), Dr. Speizer will shave a leg to access a vein. A waterproof pad or blanket will be put under and around your pet as sometimes as your pet relaxes, there can be leakage of urine and feces.
  • For the final euthanasia solution injection, Dr. Speizer will give the injection in the leg or the side. Your pet will receive a concentrated anesthetic. This drug goes first to the brain and shuts it down (this is pain-free). Sometimes the breathing rate can speed up and then slow and then the heart will slow to a stop. This can happen over a period of 2-15 minutes depending where in the body your pet receives the final euthanasia injection.
  • After the heart has stopped, there are a few things that can occur that are sometimes unnerving to witness. Sometimes, the skin can twitch and rarely there can be a ‘Gasp’ / Reflexive Breath or movement. Please rest-assured that your pet does not feel any of these things and they are happening after death has occurred. Finally, please prepare yourself for the eyes to remain open.

What Aftercare options are available?

See Euthanasia Services for a list of options for cremation and urns

  • Home burial – please see recommendations/regulations regarding burying your pet on your own property. In winter months, where digging in frozen ground is not possible, consider Individual (Private) Cremation where your pet’s ashes are returned. Then you can bury the ashes when the ground is no longer frozen.
  • Individual (Private) Cremation – Cherished Pets will perform the cremation on your pet individually in the crematorium. You will receive the ashes back in a wrapped box or in a specialty urn (see catalogue for options and fees for urns). KindHearted Pet Euthanasia will transport your pet for cremation and will return the ashes to you or your regular veterinarian in 10-18 days.
  • Communal (Group) Cremation – Cherished Pets will cremate your pet with other pets in the crematorium. You will not receive your pet’s ashes; they are buried on the site with other animal’s ashes. KindHearted Pet Euthanasia will transport your pet for cremation.
  • Other aftercare services – you may contact a different company to handle the aftercare.

What are the options for Urns, Keepsakes and Pendants to hold my pet’s ashes?

  • When you choose to have your pet’s ashes returned to you (Individual (Private) Cremation), your pet’s ashes will come back in a wrapped box from Cherished Pets that we will deliver to you or your regular veterinarian in 10-18 days.
  • If you would like the ashes to be returned in an Urn, and/or receive a Keepsake or Pendant in which a portion of the ashes may be placed, please select these options from the Cherished Pets Catalogue. You can order the Specialty Urns/Pendants, as well as a Photo Case Paw Print, on the Available Pet Euthanasia Services page. Cherished Pets will put the ashes in the Specialty Urn, Keepsake or Pendant and wrap these products before delivery to you. Our fees reflect the prices of Cherished Pets’ products. To order these, visit the Available Euthanasia Services page.

How can I prepare my home for the Euthanasia Visit?

  • Please choose an area that has enough room for your family and Dr. Speizer to move around in. That may involve moving your pet’s favourite bed to the middle of the room.
  • For cats, especially those cats that tend to disappear as soon as guests arrive, please confine them in a small room prior to the visit so you know exactly where they are when Dr. Speizer arrives.
  • Have your treats and distracting foods ready as we will give the sedation injection very shortly after arrival in order to reduce anxiety for your pet.
  • If you have other pets in the household, it may be best to confine them in another room so that we may focus our attention on the one pet. Some recommend allowing other pets in the household to see the deceased pet after euthanasia. This may shorten the period of adjustment following the loss of your pet.

Should children be present during the visit?

  • It is often valuable for a child to be present during the euthanasia process so that they have a better understanding of their loss. Children learn from their parents how to handle stress and grief. You know your child best and ultimately will make the best decision you think is right for them.
  • Books on pet loss for children:
    ‘When a Pet Dies’, by Fred Rogers
    ‘Saying goodbye to Lulu’, by Corinne Demas and Are Hoyt

Will you notify my regular veterinarian?

  • Yes, we can send a note to your regular veterinarian to let them know after the Euthanasia.
  • Sometimes, in complicated medical cases, we may contact your regular veterinarian prior to euthanasia to review multiple medical conditions and medications. We do this in order to ensure that we choose the best medications for a smooth euthanasia.

Will I grieve the loss of my pet?

Most pet owners grieve the loss of a pet. Many of us share a strong bond with our animal companions. For us, a pet is not “just a dog” or “just a cat,” but rather a beloved member of our family, bringing companionship, fun, and joy to our lives. A pet can add structure to your day, keep you active and social, help you to overcome setbacks and challenges in life, and even provide a sense of meaning or purpose. So, when a cherished pet dies, it’s normal to feel racked by grief and loss. Grieving, then, is perfectly normal, and not to be hidden. Here are some resources to help you with the loss of your pet:

A POEM FOR THE GRIEVING…
Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn’s rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there, I did not die…

–Mary Frye