Planning ahead – preparing for a peaceful experience
The day of the loss of a beloved pet can be very difficult. For many, the emotions and heartache are unbearable. It is a poignant day all pet owners remember.
The experience will be more meaningful, peaceful and easier for you and your pet if you are well prepared, and if you create an environment that is conducive to having a peaceful experience.
We know that attention to detail and having your wishes met can mean a lot at this precious time. So we have compiled a comprehensive list of things you may wish to consider when preparing for your pet’s final days.
Who would like to be present for the euthanasia visit?
What family members or friends would like to, and are able to, be present?
Would family members or friends like to say their goodbyes to your pet prior to the final day, and if so, when will this occur?
Please note that depending on your pet’s condition, rapid declines can occur, so bear this in mind when arranging family and friend goodbyes.
Who would be good emotional support for you?
The support of others can be invaluable at this very emotional time.
If you have other household pets, would you like them to be present?
We support other pets being present, however if they become disruptive and not conducive to a calm and peaceful experience, they may need to leave the room for a period.
For families with children, will they be present?
If they are old enough to understand what will be happening, have a discussion with them about whether they would like to be present or not
Do you wish to be present for the entire procedure, or for just some, or none of it?
In-home euthanasia is typically a very peaceful process and most people are present for the entirety.
When would you like to schedule the euthanasia visit?
Will you prefer a daytime, evening or weekend home visit?
Out-of-hours visits can be arranged when booked in advance.
Can you arrange to take time off work or other commitments for the entire day, and perhaps the day after?
Grief can be overwhelming and it is advised to plan to have the time that you need for yourself.
Euthanasia is often considered urgent, once a tipping point in the pet’s symptoms has been reached, and a same-day appointment is requested. We can usually accommodate same day appointments, but timings may be limited, particularly out-of-hours. To avoid the stress associated with an emergency visit, we urge pet owners to monitor their pet’s symptoms closely, stay in regular contact with your vet (or us, if we have already seen your pet before) and make contact with us before a crisis occurs.
What special considerations are there regarding your pet?
Are your pet’s symptoms (particularly pain, nausea, anxiety and distress) supported as well as possible? If your pet is on important medications, do you have enough supplies until the scheduled day?
Do you have an emergency phone number or an emergency medication and comfort plan if your pet has a crisis out-of-hours?
Is your pet nervous of injections or anxious being touched? Is your pet potentially difficult to handle? Would your pet benefit from calming medications given prior to the visit?
Would you prefer for us to take away unused medications or food / litter supplies (to be donated to a local charity). You may want to arrange this in advance of the visit, so you do not have to think about it at the visit.
Would you like to keep your pet’s collar and tag? If so, remove it prior to, or at the time of the visit
We routinely bring ‘puppy pads’ with us for body leakage that may occur after your pet’s passing. If you have a medium or large dog that has been unable to get up to toilet, you may like to have extra towels at hand.
Which aftercare (bodycare) option do you wish?
Options include: individual cremation with ashes returned, communal cremation (ashes not returned) or a home burial.
For individual cremation, will you want to scatter, bury or hold onto the ashes (in a casket, urn, personal container, or have them incorporated into a memento)?
We have a range of options of scatter tubes, caskets and urns that you can view in advance.
Will you want to have your pet wrapped in/covered with a special blanket of yours, or one of ours, to if taken away in? Or, if we are arranging cremation, would you prefer one of our blankets be used? We do carry blankets with us.
Will you want a favourite toy or personal item to go with your pet?
If you would like us to handle cremation, your pet will be placed in a basket or on a stretcher (unless you would rather carry your pet in your arms) to be carried to our vehicle. We will need assistance in carrying dogs greater than 15kg.
Are you able to and will you feel comfortable helping (carry a basket or stretcher)?
If neither you nor another present is able to help, please let us know in advance.
If you plan for home burial, certain criteria need to be met and considered
For a home burial, what would you like your pet to be buried in?
Simple examples include a blanket, scarf or a cardboard box for cats and small dogs. (You may prefer high end options, including arranging a casket).
What ambience would you like for the home visit?
Lighting – would you like dimmed lighting, candles or natural light?
Dimmed lighting is preferred by many. We may however need extra light accessibility if the room is particularly dark.
Music – if you wish to have music playing, soft, low-volume music is recommended. You may even like to plan your own music play-list in advance.
Mobile phones – we suggest these be on silent, or switched to vibrate if you are expecting messages you wish to take at the visit.
TV sound – we suggest the TV be turned off, unless you wish to purposely leave it on so as to be a ‘more natural home setting’ for your pet.
Washing machines – if running, please turn off for the visit.
Photographs – memorial
You may wish to have photographs of your pet or meaningful items out and nearby.
Where in your home would you like your pet’s passing to be?
In the living room, the bedroom, the garden?
On the sofa or on your pet’s favourite bed or resting place?
Would you like your pet on your lap or by your side?
Wherever your pet is most comfortable and happy can be a suitable spot.
When would you prefer to make payment?
Would you rather make payment in advance, or at the appointment?
Payment is usually settled at the home visit, alongside the paperwork (signing of the consent form) before the procedure.
You may prefer to pay at the end of the visit or in advance of the home visit. If so, just let us know.
What parking is available for PalliVet’s vehicle?
Do you have resident visitor permits (if required on your street)?
Most of the areas we service in London are controlled parking zones, thus we rely on resident visitor permits. If you do not have any available, or if you live in a housing development without visitor parking, let us know ASAP, to allow time for contingency planning. Please note that home visits might not be able to be arranged or additional fees may apply if nearby parking is not available.
How much time would you like to schedule for the appointment?
Our home visit euthanasia appointments are one hour in duration, which allows adequate time for a calm, peaceful experience. Many people value extra time – before, during or after the euthanasia – especially if they wish to discuss their pet’s illness, or are struggling with the decision – and just need as much time as possible. We offer 2-hour in-home euthanasia appointments as well (additional fees apply) to cater for those who require as much time as they need.
Practical points for the day of euthanasia
As long as your pet is tolerating food, they can be fed their favourite foods or treats that day, and even at the time of the home visit.
For medium/large dogs – if they can walk or be assisted outside, and if it does not disturb them and is not painful for them, try to take them out to empty their bladder within a few hours of the visit. If moving is uncomfortable for your dog, do not disturb them.
Keep your mobile phone on and nearby – we will text you (with an arrival ETA) when on our way. Consider switching your phone to silent or vibrate once we have arrived.
Do you have a preference of how we announce our arrival to your home?
Either ring the doorbell, knock, text or phone you?
We routinely ring the doorbell or knock, however if you have any preference, do let us know.
Please have a visitor permit ready (if required) for when we arrive.
We will explain what the euthanasia process is and what to expect at the visit. You may wish to familiarise yourself with it beforehand – read more on What to Expect
To help facilitate a smooth, peaceful home visit appointment, just as you wish it to be, the main points to consider in advance are:
Who would you like present (family, friends, children, other pets)?
Who can provide emotional support for you at this time?
When would you like to schedule the appointment?
Is parking for the vet’s vehicle going to be difficult?
Does your pet have special needs?
Where in the home would you like the euthanasia to take place?
Would you like a particular ambience (lighting, music, photographs)?
Consider unwanted noise distractions (phone, TV)
What bodycare option would you like?
Is there a special blanket or item you would like to wrap, cover, have go with, your pet?
If we are handling bodycare and your pet is over 15kg, is somebody able to assist us with carrying your pet to the vehicle?
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need further guidance or if you have special requests or needs.
We are here to help make this day peaceful and meaningful for you and your beloved pet.