End of Life Planning

The most difficult decision a pet owner faces is when to proceed with end of life planning.  In most cases it is considered a thoughtful and humane decision when the quality of life is no longer there for our beloved companion.  For many families there are spiritual, religious or personal beliefs which will influence the decision for humane euthanasia.  We are here to support and assist you with these difficult decisions of end of life care, euthanasia and aftercare.

How Do I Assess My Pet’s Quality of Life?

Quality of life can be difficult to assess in cats and dogs as many can hide their symptoms of pain or discomfort.  As our companion’s guardians, it is up to us to listen to those subtle signs and see the changes in their daily routine.  A quality-of-life scale can help with an objective look at how they are doing.  You can help your pet maintain a good day-to-day life experience by using this scale to regularly measure the parameters that evaluate how well their basic needs are being met. This scale can also help you clarify the decision for euthanasia, hopefully relieving any anxiety about your beloved pet’s final days.

Assessing your dog’s quality of life: https://ildertonpethospital.com/pet-health-resources/pet-health-articles/articles/?rid=6751

Quality of life score for dogs: https://my.vetmatrix.com/0033049/storage/app/media/5c2145cb7e460_QualityofLifeScale.pdf

Assessing your cat’s quality of life: https://ildertonpethospital.com/pet-health-resources/pet-health-articles/articles/?rid=6752

Quality of life score for cats:  https://my.vetmatrix.com/0033049/storage/app/media/5c2145cbe2c49_FelineQualityofLifeScale.pdf

End of Life Planning

We are here for you to answer any questions you may have about end of life decisions for your beloved pet.  This is one of the most difficult and emotional decisions we face as guardians of our pets.  Relief of suffering and passing with dignity and peace are gifts that we can offer our pets when planning for the end of their life.   Questions to ask during planning include:

Are all of the family members in agreement with the decision?  
Are there any questions or concerns you would like to discuss with our team to assist in planning?
Would the family like to be present for the procedure or not?
Which veterinarian and staff member would you like to assist you?
What are your wishes for your pet’s aftercare? Some options include home burial, communal or individual cremation or cemetery burial.
How would you like to say goodbye and memorialize your pet?  

We understand how difficult booking an appointment for euthanasia can be.  If you prefer, you may submit an email request for your appointment from our website and we can communicate with you via email.    If you have any questions or would like further assistance, you can call anytime to talk.   If you prefer to have all of the arrangements made prior to the appointment, please don’t hesitate to call and we can discuss your wishes and make your arrangements ahead of the day.   

We are always here to help if you have any questions or would like to talk.

What will happen at the appointment?

Once the decision to say goodbye has been made, we will schedule an appointment time.  We will usher you and your family into a private room and the veterinarian will review your pet’s case with you and answer any questions that you may have. If your pet is anxious, a sedative may be administered to ensure they are comfortable throughout the procedure. An intravenous catheter is placed in preparation for the injection. The veterinarian will discuss the procedure in detail and what to expect. For some clients, they wish to be present for the procedure, while others prefer not. We understand that it is a personal decision and support your wishes fully.  Euthanasia is a very humane, painless and peaceful procedure that involves the administration of a concentrated anesthetic drug by injection into an intravenous catheter.   Your pet will feel no pain or discomfort during the injection and peacefully passes within seconds of completing the injection.  If cremation is elected, we partner with Gateway Pet Memorial Services to honour your pet’s aftercare wishes.   We invite you to view Gateway’s website at https://ontario.gatewaypetmemorial.com for the aftercare options available or contact us to discuss any questions you may have.

Other aftercare options can include home burial (provided it adheres to bylaws) or cemetery burial. Please contact us with any questions you may have or if you need assistance with assessing your pet’s quality of life.

Resources for pet loss

Coping with the loss of a companion is one of the most difficult times as a pet parent.  Grieving is a normal process.   For resources on pet loss and grief, please don’t hesitate to contact us or visit the links below:

Visit our website lifelearn library at the link below and enter grief into the search for articles about grieving for children, grief for remaining household pets, bereavement and memorializing your pet

https://ildertonpethospital.com/pet-health-resources/pet-health-articles/articles/

If you feel you need support in your grief, please contact your family doctor or click on the following links for additional support materials and contacts:

https://ontario.gatewaypetmemorial.com/pet-aftercare/grief-support/

http://ovc.uoguelph.ca/petloss