Here are some answers to common questions that you may have.
Please call our office at (970) 250-8493 with any questions or concerns.
When is the right time to call for euthanasia services or to “put my pet to sleep” as it is commonly called?
Answering the questions below may help you with the decision:
- Is your pet eating and drinking normally?
- Is your pet able to urinate and defecate normally and in the appropriate place or is assistance needed? Are you physically able to continually provide the assistance necessary?
- Is your pet able to participate in their favorite activities?
- Is your pet in pain or having difficulty moving?
- Is your pet coughing or having difficulty breathing?
- If your pet is having any of the above problems, have they been examined by your regular veterinarian to determine if there are treatable causes?
- Are treatment protocols or medication dosages no longer helping control the pain?
- Is your pet no longer getting up to greet you when you arrive back home?
- Is your pet suffering from an illness or disease in which recovery is not likely?
- Are there more bad days than good days? A journal may help you determine this.
- Is your pet’s declining health having a negative effect on you or other family members?
Every case is different and the above questions are provided here only to help guide you in your decisions. If you are still unsure that your pet’s quality of life warrants euthanasia, call to have a consultation appointment with a staff veterinarian. There will be a charge for this service but a professional opinion will be given to you following a physical exam in your home.
What can I expect during the euthanasia appointment?
Payment will be taken before the euthanasia process begins so that everyone present will be able to focus on saying goodbye during this stage of the journey. In acknowledgement of the various ways individuals grieve, you will be given the option of being present for the actual euthanasia injection. At this point, your beloved pet will have already received the first injection containing a muscle relaxant, sedative, and pain reliever and will be in a deep plane of anesthesia and unaware of their surroundings but they will still be breathing and have a heart beat. You may want to step out of the room at this time. However, if you choose to stay for the second and final injection, it is a peaceful and intimate time where your pet will slip deeper and deeper into unconsciousness before their breathing and heartbeats stop. When a heart beat is no longer detectable, your precious pet will have passed away and we will let you know this has occurred. If you remained present for these events, you are welcome to stay with your pet for a comfortable period of time following their passing and at this time, anyone that did not wish to stay for the passing may come back into the room to view their peaceful body and say their final good bye.
Where and when will the euthanasia take place?
If prior arrangements are made, the body can be left in your home for several hours and River Valley Gateway will return at the requested time for body aftercare.
What can I expect after my pet passes, how is the body cared for?
As we make the decision for euthanasia, we must also decide how to care for the body afterward. There are burial and cremation options.
burial is prohibited inside the city limits there are established pet cemeteries where you may choose to bury your pet
county regulations exist outside of the city limits, please check with your local officials regarding these laws
Cremation (private or communal)
River Valley Gateway will personally transport your pet’s body to a local crematory private cremations are individual cremations usually chosen when the family wishes to have the ashes returned communal cremations are group cremations where your pet’s body will be cremated together with several other pets and the ashes will be scattered on a field designated for this purpose.
Who should be present?
Should children be present?
The death of a family pet is often the first death experience many children encounter. Children have very special relationships with their pets and we believe they should be present, but that is entirely up to your discretion as every situation is different and as a parent or caregiver, you know your child best and should make the ultimate decision. We will spend extra time prior to the euthanasia explaining what is happening in a way children will be able to understand. We will be honored to answer their questions directly if you desire. Children experience grief differently than adults. River Valley Gateway requires training for employees in this area so that we can be sensitive to the needs of children during these situations. We will offer special gestures of remembrance to leave with each child that is
Should my other pet(s) be present?
Yes, if you wish other pets to be present we welcome them. Each pet grieves differently also, so we discourage having expectations for them to do certain things. We believe everyone should be present at some, if even only a small portion, of the service including all the household pets.
What can I do to remember my pet?
- clay paw print
- ink paw print
- pewter necklace paw print
- create an online memorial on our tribute page
- write a poem or story
- religious customs and practices
- scrapbook or journal
- keep a collar, toy or blanket
- volunteer at or contribute monetarily to a rescue, shelter or other animal care organization/charity in your pet’s name
- light a candle
- paint their name on a commemorative rock
- donate bedding, dishes or food to an animal shelter in your area
- others-we encourage creativity in this area
- DONATE UNUSED MEDICATIONS TO RIVER VALLEY GATEWAY OR YOUR REGULAR VETERINARY CLINIC.
When is the right time to get another pet?
If or when you have reached the decision to add a new pet to your family, you may find it helpful to use our “Pet Finder” link under the “Veterinary Topics” tab on our home page. The information you will find there will not provide help in finding a specific pet but rather a specific type of pet that you may be searching for. We understand that our pets which have passed on can not be replaced however we do recognize that there will be opportunities for other pets to find their way into our loving homes when the time is right.
The following list is a brief summary of what can be expected when choosing to have us care for your pet in his or her final minutes.
- Sedation prior to euthanasia
- Aftercare arrangements for burial or cremation
- Gentle, painless euthanasia
- Customized memorial ceremony