My first experience with euthanasia was when I was only five years old and my grandmother’s beloved Malamute, Holly, had become too sick to go on. I remember Dr. Barney, the vet who had become a family friend by then, coming to their home, giving his condolences and offering some head rubs for the old girl that he could see was ready to pass on. Dr. Barney knelt by Holly’s side as she laid on a woven blanket in her spot on their sunporch. There was plenty of room for my grandma and her daughters to lie next to Holly resting their faces in her fur. The procedure was fast, almost unnoticeable. But we were allowed to stay with her for as long as we needed, because even after 14 good years, we weren’t ready for it to come to an end. After some time, the vet wrapped her in her blanket and carried her off to be cremated and eventually buried with my grandma.
Putting a pet to sleep is heartbreaking no matter the circumstances. I’ve been to vet clinics that have a lovely room dedicated to these final moments, furnished with couches and a fireplace and plenty of time for pets and their people to snuggle and let the tears fall before and after the pet passes on. But, regardless of the comforts in place, there’s something unfamiliar and unsettling about even the most comfortable vet office. The car ride there, the smells of other animals, and the strangers around them can be stressful for a pet. In-home euthanasia is much more peaceful and allows pet owners more time to say their goodbyes in privacy and with dignity.
While the era of house calls for pets is mostly past, an increasing number of vets are doing house calls specifically to allow pet parents to euthanize their pets at home where their pet is comfortable and surrounded by familiar smells and faces. Many pet parents find that in-home pet euthanasia offers pets and their families a more comfortable and peaceful opportunity to say those last goodbyes with no transporting, waiting, or unfamiliar environments. Vets offering in-home euthanasia often specialize in home hospice, palliative care, and comfort during these final moments, making the experience more natural and comfortable. Putting your pet to sleep at home is also better for pets with mobility issues, serious illness or injury, or anxiety or aggression around other animals or vet staff.
The Cost of In-home Euthanasia
In-home euthanasia is typically available seven days a week by appointment. Costs vary by the size of your pet, just as it would in a practice setting, but usually range anywhere from $85 to $250, depending on location and services. There may be additional charges for mileage, additional time spent by the staff, or fees to cover burial or cremation of your pet. You may be able to keep your pet at home for a short period of time, or even bury them yourself if your local laws permit.
If you have a pet that is particularly defensive of their home territory, or feel that you will be traumatized by associating your home with the death of your pet, having a house call may put additional stress on you or your pet, and your regular vet can discuss the in-clinic options available. But, if you would like to give your pet the final gift of a peaceful passing, in-home euthanasia is a blessing for many pets and their families.