FAQ’s About In-Home Mobile Veterinary Cat and Dog Euthanasia

How do we know when is the right time?

Choosing the time to say good-bye to a pet can be a heart-breaking experience, often accompanied by feelings of guilt.  There is no formula or precise calculation that can determine exactly when this should be done; the best way to make this decision is to consult with your regular veterinarian who will evaluate your pet’s medical history, physical condition, quality of life, and prognosis.  Most pet owners know their pet so intuitively that they develop an uncanny sense to know when it is the right time for themselves, and especially for their pet.

Because dogs and cats can be very adept at hiding their ailments, some physical signs to consider which may be indicators of pain/discomfort are increased respiratory rate, increased heart rate, loss of appetite, lack of mobility, incontinence, and disinterest in the family and/or things or activities that were important previously.

Two conditions that I will always recommend either taking the pet into its regular veterinarian or an emergency clinic immediately, or making the decision to let go are 1) when the pet will no longer drink water (dehydration will only worsen their condition and dehydrated pets feel very sick), and/or 2) when the pet is having difficulty breathing, especially open mouthed breathing or abnormally heavy panting.  Both of these conditions are very important to address immediately.

Please feel free to contact us if you require some guidance about making this important decision.

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 5-10 minutes, the medication takes effect and the 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 completely painless intravenous injection.  Within a minute or two after the euthanasia solution is given, your pet will peacefully and quietly pass away.  Most home euthanasias will range from 30-60 minutes from our entry into the home until exit.

Please note that we feel it is important to give pets and their owners as much time as they need during this very emotional and difficult time.  While occasionally we sense and respect that some owner’s preference is to complete the procedure expeditiously, we carefully evaluate the family’s comfort level at each step of this process, and are prepared to take as much time as is needed so that no one ever feels that they are rushed to say goodbye.

All euthanasia procedures are done by a veterinarian.  In home euthansia may only be performed by a licensed veterinarian with a current DEA license.

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

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

What about other household pets attending the euthanasia?

It may be a good idea to let 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.  In fact, many of our families have chosen 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 there is if they are the kind of pet that would be disruptive during the procedure, but most will settle down after the initial excitement of having a new person come into their home abates.

What about children and pet euthanasia?

We advise 1) giving children the chance to say goodbye to the pet, and 2) 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.  We have had children of every age present during euthanasia, and because we specialize in this procedure, we intend for it to be as peaceful as possible.   Most people, adult and child, find comfort in witnessing the alleviation of the condition that necessitates euthanasia, and the peaceful way in which it proceeds.

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

Please contact us regarding fees.  Because of the high credit card fees, we encourage cash or check.  However, we can accept credit and debit cards (VISA, Mastercard, Discover, American Express) or Paypal.  Payment may be done over the phone at the time the appointment is made, or when the veterinarian arrives.

CareCredit does not finance euthanasia, so unfortunately this is not an option for our visits.

What days and hours are available for appointments?

Yes, we truly are available 24/7.  To guarantee a preferred date/time, an appointment should be made at least by the evening before if possible.  However, same day, short-notice, and emergency vet requests are accepted and usually can be accommodated.  Please feel free to call us anytime.

What areas in Oregon and Washington does your mobile veterinary service cover?

We cover all Portland, Salem and Vancouver areas and suburbs, including west to Forest Grove, east to Mt. Hood, south to Salem, and north to Vancover.  We will consider all requests outside of these areas – please contact us at any time to inquire.

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

Most of our appointments are scheduled the same day, which means that our availability changes quickly on a day to day basis.  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 vet calls are accommodated on a first-come, first-served basis, but we make every effort to help every request.  Our primary goal is to help people and their pets at this difficult time , so please contact us no matter what the situation.

What if we prefer not to have the procedure done in our home?

Off-site euthanasia is also available in a designated “comfort room” at a local pet crematory if a pet owner prefers to have euthanasia performed in a neutral environment instead of their home or a veterinary clinic.

How do I make an appointment?

For fastest response, please call 503.880.1172 to make an appointment.  You may also use the form on the “Contact” page to email correspondence and/or an appointment request.  Email may also be sent directly to care@drlorigibson.com.  Please feel free to call or email us anytime – we are available to talk around the clock.