Help & FAQs


Have a Question?

Have a question that’s not answered here? Give us a call!

Frequently Asked Questions

We understand that you may have questions about the euthanasia process. Here are a few of the commonly asked questions we receive.

Euthanasia is the act of providing medical assistance in death, to relieve pain and suffering.
By having a vet come to your house, you will not have to worry about the stress that transportation may have on your animal bringing them into a vet clinic. You also do not have to worry about having to be in public or having to drive home while grieving. Your pet can be on their favorite bed or in a place where they are most comfortable, free of any
anxiety. You will not be limited by space constraints of an exam room, and your pet can be surrounded by the ones that they love.
A highly concentrated dose of pentobarbitol (an injectable anesthetic agent) is used for Euthanasia.
A sedative to relieve any pain and anxiety is often administered to make the pet feel comfortable and relaxed prior to euthanasia. This also allows for easier placement of an intravenous (IV) catheter.
An IV catheter is important to make sure the entire dose of pentobarbitol is administered. If a needle is used to administer the drug without a catheter in place, there is a chance the vein can become compromised, or that the animal could move through administration, reducing the chance the entire dose can circulate and reach the heart.
Older animals (especially ones with severe illness, severe dehydration, or heart disease) can have smaller and harder to find veins than healthy animals. In a case where an IV catheter cannot be placed, a specialized butterfly needle can be used instead.

Once a pet is sedated with an IV catheter in place, an anesthetic agent called propofol is administered that will cause the patient to fall asleep, in the same way a patient would fall asleep prior to surgery. Once the patient is completely asleep and in an anesthetic plane (with no awareness or sensation), the pentobarbitol is administered. Because the pentobarbitol product that is used is highly concentrated, it will immediately stop the heart as soon as it circulates. In most cases, the heart stops before the time it takes to administer the injection. However, in rare circumstances where circulation is compromised and slow (as it can sometimes be with severe illness), it can sometimes take up to a few minutes for the heart to stop. Because the patient is already asleep and has no awareness, it is a very peaceful process. The veterinarian will confirm death upon listening to the heart with a stethoscope.

The eyes will often roll down and sometimes the eyelids will close with the administration of propofol, but they usually reopen or remain open once pentobarbitol is administered.

We will arrange for the compassionate transport and cremation of your pet. If you would like to bury your pet on your own private property, please contact 311 for City of Edmonton Bylaws for pet burial after euthanasia.

Please reach out if you are experiencing overwhelming grief. Allow yourself some solitude if needed, but also make sure to spend time with friends and family and to continue to do things that you enjoy. Treat yourself kindly with patience and self-compassion and take things one day at a time. Sometimes it can help to write a tribute to honor your animal and to express your gratitude for the happiness they brought into your life. If you email your tribute to us along with a favorite picture of your pet to, we would love to share it on our facebook page. Please see below for a list of counsellors that can empathize and support you through your loss, seeing how they are animal lovers themselves. Reach out to those you know will understand.

How do I know when it’s time?

For dealing with loss

Support Resources

People you can talk to

“I have worked as a Registered Psychologist for over a decade supporting people with numerous concerns. Myself and my therapy dog (or rather co-therapist ) Effie are here to offer guidance and support for those who are grieving the loss of a beloved pet and companion. Please reach out if you are struggling or simply need a safe space to share.”

Dawning Willow Counselling & Psychology Psychologist in Edmonton

“Grief and loss is an area that I routinely support in my practice. In my personal life pets are family and after experiencing my own grief following the loss of a pet, I would be honored to help anyone else that may be experiencing stress, grief or loss concerning their pet. I work with children, adolescents and adults, and hold an additional designation as a Registered Play Therapist with the Association for Play Therapy.”

Edmonton Psychologist | Sherwood Park | True To You Psychology

“Saying goodbye to your pet is a challenging and emotional experience for you and your family. At Solace Psychology, we are pet lovers and we understand the heartache that comes along with losing a furry friend. We are here to guide you and your family through the process of grief and healing in a safe, supportive environment by using evidence-based therapeutic modalities. When working with children, we offer play, sandplay and art therapy to help your little ones make sense of their feelings and experiences. Healing truly happens when you are able to share your experiences and make sense of the emotional pain.”

Psychologist South Edmonton | Therapy & Counselling for Children, Adults, Couples & Families (

Barb is a long time animal lover, and is currently guardian to two cats, two dogs, four fish and a handful of snails. She has had experience grieving pets after both tragic deaths and more natural deaths due to age. She has also had the privilege of walking with clients on their grief journeys as well. Barb is trained in animal-assisted psychotherapy, and has worked with several species of animals, while supporting her clients in achieving their goals.

Steadfast Psychological Services

“I am a Registered Provisional Psychologist, Professional Art Therapist, and fur-mama to a feisty Yorkie! I believe that animals play an integral role in our lives, from providing us with comforting silence to helping us engage in unabashed play; they become part of us. I offer a warm presence and safe space for you to process your loss, honour your pet’s memory, and move toward healing. In addition to talk therapy, I provide alternative ways to explore your experience and express yourself through art and play therapy.”

Yellowtree Therapy Services | Edmonton, Alberta | Evangeline Barrow

Recommended Books

For Children
  • The Invisible Leash, by Patrice Karst
  • Ida Always, by Carol Levis
  • The Goodbye Book, by Todd Parr
For Adults
  • When Children Grieve: For Adults to Help Children Deal with Death, Divorce, Pet Loss, Moving, and other Losses, by John W. James and Russell Friedman With Dr. Leslie Landon Matthews
  • Losing a pet: coping with the death of your beloved animal, by Jane Matthews
  • Just One More Day: A Dog lovers Guide to Quality of Life and Healing from Pet Loss, by
    Geoffrey Bain
Quick Support

Still Need Help?