End of Life Services

Without a doubt, the decision to euthanize a dearly loved pet is one of the most emotionally trying moments experienced by any devoted owner. We understand this and make every effort to guide you through the process of end of life decisions, while always ensuring your pet’s final days are as comfortable as possible. When faced with the final decision of humane euthanasia, our staff will strive to show you and your pet the reassurance and compassion you both deserve.

What to expect on the final day:

  • We will schedule a quiet time, preferably at the end of a shift, to ensure you have as much time as you need to be with your pet both before and after euthanasia.
  • A staff member will guide you to one of our consultation rooms and discuss aftercare options, along with obtaining signatures to authorize the euthanasia procedure.
  • A licensed veterinary nurse and their assistant will be in shortly after to place an i.v. catheter. This process is no more uncomfortable for pets than a standard blood draw. Sedatives and pain control measures will be instituted as needed with the ultimate goal of your pet’s comfort during this entire process.
  • The DVM will enter the room and discuss any final questions you may have and initiate the final phase of euthanasia. This will consist of a single intravenous injection of drugs that quickly stop the heart and brain activity. Your pet’s body will immediately relax as the injection is given and the veterinarian will confirm the cessation of life by auscultating the heart. It is not uncommon for some involuntary muscle movement and deep breaths post-euthanasia. These are transient and will cease within a few minutes, they are not a sign of struggle or continued life.
  • You may be with your pet through this entire process if desired. It is perfectly ok to request to step out of the room at any time and we will invite you back in to visit with the deceased pet. You may stay with your pet in privacy until you are ready to leave.
  • If electing to take your pet home for burial, we recommend a large blanket to wrap your pet in and we will assist in loading the body into your vehicle. We have a rear entrance that we will direct your car to so that the entire process is private.
  • For many people, cremation services are the most popular option. We partner with the local service, Life Cycle Pet Cremation. They are located right here in Bellingham and provide a tremendous comfort for clients during the aftercare process. We will make arrangements for the body to be transported to Life Cycle within a few hours of service completion. The company will contact you to discuss which options you wish to pursue. Please refer to their link below for details.
Losing a companion pet can be a very devastating experience; as animal lovers ourselves we have all lost pets and fully empathize with the grief you feel. The bereavement process is different for all of us and there are resources that Life Cycle can provide along with the WA State University Vet Med Pet Loss Support Hotline.