Euthanasia is a sad but necessary decision when our dogs or cats enter their final days. While its difficult to see them in pain and discomfort, it’s often more emotionally stressful to transport them to the veterinarian’s office to put them down. So, it’s understandable that pet owners might seek an alternative venue for a pet’s final good-bye.
To free ailing pets from the additional stress of transport, some veterinarians are encouraging hospice and euthanasia services in the comfort of the pet’s home. These are the surroundings where they feel the most comfortable. So, this alternative makes a lot of sense, and its growing popularity is becoming pervasive.
Th growth of in-home hospice and euthanasia services for pets has been increasing steadily. Kathryn Jennings, the International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care [IAAHP] executive director, calls it an “up-and-coming field” in which even brick-and-mortar veterinary clinics are adding these in-home services. Over the past four years, IAAHP membership has grown from 75 to 450.
There are several of these type of services to choose from. Elizabeth Benson, a former emergency-care veterinarian is a strong proponent. She launched started Paws Into Grace in 2008, providing in-home hospice care and euthanasia for dogs and cats after years of having to put down pets in busy clinics.
When Dr. Joe Rosenberg commenced his practice, Go In Peace, 13 years ago he recalled being one of only a few veterinarians who regularly provided the service in the San Diego area. He notes that now there are over 20 local listings for such services.
While there is a growing preference for this type of care, it’s important to note that it is a more costly proposition than seeing a veterinarian. In-home euthanasia have been reported to costs approximately $250 (usually more than twice the cost of an office visit). Plus, vets can add on a mileage fee for visiting your home. In addition, these services most often arrange for the pet’s body to be taken away for cremation, which is an add-on to consider.
On the other hand, the benefits may justify the costs. Proponents note the following as the major considerations for choosing in-home euthanasia:
- It eliminates the animal’s stress of travel to the vet. “For many cats, the cycle of stress begins the minute the family gets out the carrier,” says Ellison. “When you think about it, in a hospital or clinic, most of the time a pet has had something happen there they didn’t appreciate.”
- It may be hard on older, disabled or injured pets to be transported.
- Owners who are elderly or disabled might have difficulty picking up their pet (especially a large dog) or driving
Readers, what are your thoughts on euthanasia in the home? Wise choice? Or should the traditional visit to the vet be the go-to method?
Primary Source: In-home Euthanasia