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Quality of Life Questions/ Making the Decision to Euthanize


“How will I know?” is one of the most common questions we get asked when someone is trying to determine if is time to say goodbye to their beloved pet.  There are several criteria used in evaluating life quality and it important to remember that each pet is an individual, and what constitutes a poor quality of life for one pet (such as lying around all day) may be normal for another.  Some pets make it very clear to their owners when it is time. Other pets may try to hang in as long as possible for their family. In either case, there are questions that you can ask to help you and your family reach a decision. We have found the following questions to be helpful to pet owners during this very difficult time.  We understand that these questions may be difficult to answer, and Braelinn Animal Hospital is committed to providing compassionate, empathetic, and non-judgmental assistance.

  • Is your pet eating? Or will your pet only eat when force fed?
    •  Quality life involves eating or at least interest in food. An animal that is hungry has vitality that must be considered, though this is not the only consideration.
  • Is your pet comfortable? Is your pet’s health, mobility or comfort declining?
    • Elderly or ill pets, much like humans, have good days and bad days. Marking these good and bad days on a calendar can help determine if the bad days outnumber the good days.  It may be also helpful to view photos or videos of your pet before the illness to assess how your pet looked, behaved, and interacted with you versus how the pet is presently.
  • Does the pet still enjoy their favorite activities?
    • While elderly or ill pets do not necessarily need to continue chasing balls or jumping after discs in order to be happy, they should enjoy sleeping comfortably, favorite resting spots, the company of family or playing with other pets, etc.

As hard as it may be to consider quality of life questions, you know your pet better than any one and only you can truly answer these questions.  If possible, we recommend that you start thinking about these issues early in the process, when your mind may be clearer. Decisions may seem forced or pressured if you wait until there is a crisis.


Saying goodbye to your pet is one of the most difficult decisions you may ever make in your life.  As veterinary professionals, we understand the progression of diseases and the suffering that is usually inevitable.  We will assist you in making the decision that is best for your pet and ultimately for your family.  At Braelinn Animal Hospital, euthanasia services include consultation, sedation and humane euthanasia. Cremation services and memorial items are also available.

Planning Euthanasia: If you are able to plan for your pet’s final appointment, we will explain what to expect if you have not experienced the loss of a pet before. If you have any questions, special desires, or need any help in your decision making, please do not hesitate to ask. Please think about any arrangements you would like to make beforehand, such as family or friends that would like to be present or be allowed an opportunity to say goodbye prior to the appointment.

You can have your pet cremated privately and receive the ashes, or communally with no ashes returned. Burial at home may be an option. Please be sure to check any local regulations and by-laws about the burial of animals on residential property.

If you elect to privately cremate your pet, you will have the remains of you pet (ashes) returned to you in an urn of your choice. You may also select a keepsake or memorial item of your choice. The cost of your pet’s aftercare depends on the type of service you choose, and memorial items or keepsakes you would like for your pet. We are able to provide costs to you as part of your decision about your pet’s aftercare.

Please ask to see our catalogue in the clinic, or you may view all of your options at:


The Appointment: You will have the option to be present for the appointment or not – rest assured that your pet will receive compassionate care either way. You can remain present throughout the entire procedure, leave once you pet is sedated or not be present for any of the procedure. It all depends on your comfort level. If you choose to be present, you will be transferred to an exam room or a quiet environment for the appointment. We offer euthanasia appointments in our outdoor space surrounding the clinic, as well.

Prior to beginning the two injections of euthanasia, you will be asked to sign a euthanasia consent form. This consent form is required by law. Once you have formally consented to euthanizing your pet, you may select your desired aftercare for your pet’s remains, if you haven’t already done so.

The euthanasia process at Braelinn Animal Hospital involves two injections. First, your pet will be given an intramuscular injection of a surgical level sedative that will make him/her sleepy and relaxed. This first injection will take effect within five to ten minutes and your pet will not be aware or feel any pain or stress. Next, the veterinarian will administer a second injection of fast acting euthanasia solution intravenously that will stop the heart from beating.  After the veterinarian has confirmed that your pet has passed away, you may choose to leave immediately or stay with your pet’s body for your final goodbye.


What Will Happen After My Pet is Euthanized? / Aftercare:  Once a pet has been humanely euthanized and you have said your goodbyes, we will make complimentary ink paw prints of your beloved pet. These may be taken home the day of euthanasia, or mailed to you at a later date. Next, the pet is placed in a cadaver bag and either prepared for burial at home or prepared to be held in frozen state until it is time for cremation. We do offer to hold pets in a frozen state for 5 days, if a family needs more time to decide what to do with their pet’s remains.

Braelinn Animal Hospital uses Pet Angel Memorial Center as our pet aftercare provider. Pet Angel uses Paws e-tracker, the leading web-based tracking system for pet aftercare. Their system of tracking pets throughout the entire aftercare and cremation process ensures 100% traceability and transparency.

If you selected private cremation and/or keepsake items from Pet Angel, we will contact you once your pet’s remains are returned to us for you to pick up from the clinic.