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Our Euthanasia Process

What is Euthanasia?

Euthanasia is the process of ending a pet's life with painless and peaceful procedures. Euthanasia is often sought after when a pet is suffering from an incurable disease. We take pride in how we conduct our euthanasia process and believe in using techniques that ensure a safe and pleasant passing for your fur baby. Saying goodbye to your pet and the companionship they carry is a hard thing to go through. Each euthanasia process is a difficult emotional journey for the pet parent(s). Because of this, our team makes it a top priority to give you a metaphorical soft pillow for the hard mattress that is death.

Our Euthanasia Process

First and foremost, we pride ourselves on making our euthanasia process an experience to cherish. To our team, our euthanasia process is much more than another appointment in the day. We strive to make each euthanasia experience one of remembrance, celebration, and thankfulness. Our 4-leggers give us unconditional love throughout their precious lives, they fill up our hearts with joy and peace, and because of this, everyone here at River Valley Gateway understands the importance of all of our pets, and what saying goodbye means. 

After scheduling your experience, what can you expect? Either a doctor or a doctor accompanied by an assistant will arrive at your home or desired location for the experience. They will then carry all supplies needed to the location and begin with a meet and greet. 4-leggers and 2-leggers alike are encouraged to be present for this. Our goal is to melt away any anxiety that may be felt by anyone participating in the experience. During this meet and greet, we will answer any concerns or questions anyone may have. Once greetings are completed, questions have been answered, and a calm environment has been created, the doctor will provide a sedative for the patient. Sedation is a state of partial-unconsciousness. In this state, the pet will be aware of its surroundings but unable to feel sensation in his/her muscles. This sedative is most-often given to the patient just under the skin and close to the shoulder area, however, every pet is different and it may be given in a different area depending on the patient's circumstances. During the sedation and throughout the remainder of the euthanasia experience, peaceful music will be encouraged to be played. This music will help maintain the peaceful nature of our process. The patient will be afforded the necessary time to gently and smoothly become sedate. After sedation is complete, your pet will be experiencing complete comfort and a lack of any pain or suffering. Once the doctor has determined that the patient is truly numb, sometimes by a toe pinch, the second phase of the experience may begin. The second phase, for dogs, consists of an IV catheter placement. This IV catheter will be the location where the euthanasia medication will be given. This medication will help your pet pass away gently into death. For cats, an IV catheter is usually unnecessary and a heavier anesthetic is given. Once the doctor has determined that the kitty is fully anesthetized, the pet will be able to receive the euthanasia solution directly into the abdomen, pain-free. For both doggy and kitty patients, the second medication takes them into complete unconsciousness in which the brain becomes inactive and stops telling the lungs to breathe and the heart to beat. This is a pain-free and peaceful event and can leave a sense of relief for all attending, knowing that the pet passed away with such tranquility. Preparations for aftercare such as burial or cremation are determined beforehand. If the pet is leaving with River Valley Gateway for cremation, either a basket or stretcher will be ushered to the euthanasia location to receive the pet for transportation. We handle the body after death, with just as much respect and care as they were treated during life. We cover the pet with towels and blankets and possibly even snuggle in a favorite toy if your family wishes. 

At the end of each euthanasia appointment, we hope to have created a calm and peaceful environment, carried out a successful euthanasia experience, and to have left you with a beautiful memory to remember your pet's life. After your appointment, our aftercare process will begin. You can find out everything you need to know about that process here. If you have any more questions, those can be answered on our website at


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