Frequently Asked Questions
The team at Caring Pathways understands that the end of your pet’s life is a difficult time and we are committed to answering all of your questions and providing the support you need. We invite you to browse through the questions listed below and click on your question to find the answer. If you don’t see your question listed or you need more information, please contact us so we can assist you further.
What makes Caring Pathways special?
Here at Caring Pathways we treat you and your pet like family. We know that this decision is difficult and near impossible to make so we want you to feel that you are not alone. We will partner alongside you through the entire process and make sure that you and your loved one are supported. We also understand, firsthand, how difficult grief and transition can be, which is why we continue to offer our support after the appointment.
How do I know if my pet is in pain?
How do I know if the time is right for euthanasia? Am I making the right decision?
This is probably one of the most difficult questions to answer. As their owner, you know your pet the best and what kind of quality of life they have remaining. However, we have different resources and services that may help in guiding you through the question of timing. Visit our Pathway to Care Assessment or call our office to discuss options of hospice or tele-advice appointments.
Do I need to set up an appointment to meet the doctor prior to scheduling a euthanasia appointment?
In short, no. Since we understand that you know your pet best, we know that you are making what you feel is the best decision with them in mind. Additionally, our veterinarians will always spend time at the beginning of the appointment to get to know you and your loved one. This helps to ease your pet into a comfortable situation and helps our veterinarian to understand and reassure you that you are making a kind choice for your loved one. In addition, this time with your loved one ensures that our veterinarian is able to make them as comfortable as possible.
I am traveling soon and my pet will be with a pet sitter. In the case that they are needing you while I am not here, can I already have a file started?
Yes. We know that timing is not always on our side, but we are happy to prepare you and your loved one for this difficult decision so that you are ready when it’s time to say goodbye.
My pet gets very anxious and does not like veterinarians or strangers. How can we prepare for this?
Our goal is to make this transition as peaceful and comfortable as we can for everyone involved, especially your pet. If our team feels we are unable to move forward while keeping our veterinarian safe, we are able to discuss options available which can include pre-medications, gentle restraining techniques, and/or postponing the appointment.
Will my pet feel anxiety or pain during euthanasia?
Our veterinarian will provide your pet with gentle yet profound sedation prior to the euthanasia injection. This means that your dear companion will be in a deep, peaceful, pain-free, and unresponsive sleep prior to administration of the euthanasia injection. For more details and information please see our In-Home Pet Euthanasia page.
Where will you take my pet after he/she has passed?
When your pet has passed and you have had time and privacy to say goodbye, we will transport the body to Lasting Paws or Guardian Pet Aquamation. Beyond the trust with these two partners, there is communication through identification that stays with your pet as well as identification and instruction forms to ensure that your wishes are followed exactly, whether you request that your animal’s ashes are returned to you or not.
You may also choose to make your own arrangements for aftercare such as burial, transport for burial at another location, or transport to a cremation service of your choice.
Should my child be present for euthanasia of our pet?
You know your child best, but we will always recommend that they be given the opportunity to say goodbye and to grieve. Linda Goldman, author of Life and Loss, has said, “If a child is old enough to love, he or she is old enough to grieve.” Children can understand that existence consists of beginnings and endings—the start and end of a book or a playdate, sunrise and sunset. Death is a part of our lives and should be shared with children as well. That being said, if a child does not want to be present for euthanasia of a pet, they should not be forced. What you choose to discuss with your child regarding what happens during and after death is very personal and will depend on the child’s age. Our veterinarian will take the time and do their best to explain the process to your children at an age-appropriate level and answer their questions about the loss of their family pet.
Should my other pets be present for euthanasia of their companion?
We recommend that housemate pets are present for euthanasia of their companion. The process is very calm, quiet, and peaceful. Dogs and cats will know that their friend has passed. Perhaps the most important aspect is that they have time afterwards to say goodbye so that they are not looking for a “lost” companion. For example, families with a young pup who may be a distraction or an anxious dog who may be distressed by the presence of a guest in the house might choose not to have that pet present for euthanasia, but it is suggested that they be allowed to come in to visit the deceased pet before transport to the veterinarian’s vehicle. Our veterinarian will always give you and your pets the privacy and time you need at that point.
How will my other pets respond to the loss of their friend?
Your other pet(s) will very likely have a time of “mourning” when they lose their friend. Depending on how close the pets were, there may be a time of adjustment for the remaining pet(s). A number of things you may notice are:
- Clinging to you
- Decrease in appetite
- Looking for their friend
- Restlessness or depression
- Wandering aimlessly
These behaviors will gradually decrease and be resolved over time. It is interesting to note that dogs often grieve for the loss of a cat, and a cat may grieve after losing their dog friend. At the time of an in-home visit, we will provide handouts that address common characteristics that some pets may exhibit when losing their pet “friend.”
How can I be sure that the ashes returned to me belong to my pet?
We are confident that the ashes you receive are those of your deceased pet. In addition to our long-standing trust in the crematorium, we now have a digital tracking system in place, which tracks your loved one through the pet aftercare journey. Your pet is assigned a unique identification number that is electronically scanned at multiple points through out the aftercare process, from our office and throughout the cremation facility.
What if I don't need cremation or ashes back, are you still able to take my pet after the appointment?
If you are wanting our assistance to transport your loved one after they have passed, we handle all body care through cremation. If you are not wanting ashes returned we will coordinate a communal cremation in which your loved ones’ ashes will be scattered along with others on the crematory’s private property.
My pet has passed away on their own at home. Can you help me with after care of the body?
We understand that life is not always gracious with time and planning. If your loved one passes naturally and you would like assistance with coordinating transport and cremation, we are able to assist you. If a veterinarian is already scheduled to come to your home, but your pet passes before our arrival, we are still able to assist you in coordinating aftercare.
Am I able to bury my pet?
Home burial laws and regulations can differ between counties. Although we are happy to allow you to memorialize your loved one in the way you wish, we ask that you first check with and defer to your local county laws along with any HOA and/or landlord agreements.
How do I cope with the loss of my beloved pet, companion and friend?
Any of us who consider our pet a friend, companion, or family member, knows the intense pain that accompanies the loss of our pet.
Our Grief Support Specialist, Mandi Browning, is a great resouce if you are struggling with the loss of your pet. We also have a Pet Loss Grief Support Group on Facebook where you can join a community of pet lovers for support.
Please see our Grief Support page for more information.