What happens at a home pet euthanasia appointment?

The decision to have your sick or suffering pet put to sleep can be a difficult but humane one to make. But a home pet euthanasia service can help you and your family to say goodbye to your furry family member in their most loving environment, in the place that feels most comfortable. Our caring vets aim to facilitate an end-of-life service that reflects the love and care shown throughout your pet’s life.

Understanding what happens at a home pet euthanasia appointment can help you and your family prepare for what to expect. In this article, our vets explain the eight-step process of home pet euthanasia

It is important to note that every animal’s condition at the time of a home pet euthanasia will vary. Our vets will always prioritise the service to be what’s in your beloved pet’s best interest, which may alter some of the below steps.  In any case, the vet will always explain the process before proceeding with the euthanasia, to ensure owners are comfortable at each step.

Home pet euthanasia: 8 steps

Step 1: Preparing to say goodbye 

Once the vet arrives for the home euthanasia appointment, they will spend the first 10 minutes assessing the pet and explaining the process to the owners.

The vet will introduce themselves and discuss the pet’s condition and symptoms. They will usually reassure the owners that they are making the right decision for their pet.

Next, the vet will provide an overview of how the euthanasia appointment will work, including the sedation and pain relief medications.

Step 2: Administering sedation

Before the euthanasia medicine is administered, the vet will give the pet a sedation injection. This is a mixture of pain relief and relaxation to prepare them for the next steps.

Step 3: Inserting the catheter

Once the pet is comfortable and relaxed, the vet will usually insert an IV catheter. There may be circumstances where the vet will choose not to use an IV, including smaller or struggling animals. In these cases, the vet may give the medication by intrarenal injection instead. 

Step 4: Preparing for pet’s last breath

To prepare the family for what happens next, the vet will explain the usual breathing patterns associated with euthanasia. They will also advise of the common events that may happen either as the pet is passing, or just after the pet has passed away.

Step 5: Saying goodbye

The vet will instruct the family to take as much time as they need to say goodbye to their little mate. The family can let the vet know when they are ready to put the pet to sleep.

Step 6: Administering the euthanasia

Once they have let the vet know they are ready to put the pet to sleep, the vet will give the euthanasia medication slowly through the IV line and the pet will pass away peacefully. 

Step 7: Listening for the heartbeat

Once the euthanasia medication has been administered, the vet will listen for the pet’s heartbeat with the stethoscope. They will let the family know when the pet has passed away.

Step 8: Waiting for the transport service

Before the euthanasia appointment, the owners would have discussed with Goodbye Good Boy their preferences for waiting for the cremation transport service to arrive. The vet will usually give the family privacy before the aftercare team arrives to transfer your pet into their care. 


What happens after a home pet euthanasia appointment?

Prior to the home pet euthanasia appointment, families should have decided on their pet’s aftercare (cremation with Goodbye Good Boy, or a burial arranged by the owner). Depending on the family's wishes, the pet will either be transferred into our care for cremation or stay at home for burial. To learn more about the cremation process, read our article Dog cremation and what to expect.

If you are arranging a cremation, it can be helpful to ask yourself the following questions before your home pet euthanasia appointment:

  • Do you want the cremation transport team to collect the pet as soon as they have passed?
  • Do you want to spend any time alone with the pet in private? If so, for how long? Owners will usually say a few minutes, but some families may prefer to spend hours together.


Once the pet has been put to sleep, the vet will usually leave the home to give the family some privacy while they either wait for the transport service to arrive, or prepare for the burial. 

How long does a home pet euthanasia appointment go for?

When booking a home pet euthanasia appointment with Goodbye Good Boy, allow for around 45-60 minutes. The duration will depend on how many questions the family has for the vet and how much time they want to spend with their pet during each step. The benefit of an in-home service allows you to move at the pace you and your family are comfortable with.

However, in cases where the attending vet assesses that the pet is really suffering or in pain, they will usually move through the steps quickly. If our initial assessment is that the pet is very sick or in pain, we will communicate this to the owner. In that scenario, the euthanasia appointment will usually take just 15-30 minutes.

To make a home pet euthanasia appointment, visit our website here, or give our arrangers a call on 1800 573 186.

Our blog page also has additional resources like What happens during euthanasia for dogs?