Final Care and Grief Counseling

End-of-Life Care

It is never easy to make the decision to assist in the death of our companion animals, and we at AWVH are very sympathetic and are here to support you through this difficult time.  We have all faced the death of our furry friends and understand what you are going through although we know that each situation is unique and different.  Our doctors and staff can play a major role in your decision-making process when it comes time. The veterinarians are here to help give you all the information you need to make an informative decision.  Once a decision is made to euthanize your pet, there are a couple more decisions to make. We know this is difficult, but planning ahead of time can enable you to focus your energy and love on your pet.  You as the owner, as well as any additional friends or family, are welcome to witness or be present for the final goodbye.  If you feel that it is too much to witness, there is the option of the veterinarian taking your pet to the treatment area and performing the euthanasia, and then bringing your pet back to you so you may continue with your goodbyes.  Lastly, there is the option of leaving your pet with us, and we will honor your wishes and euthanize your pet.   Below are some questions to ask your veterinarian to gather information when planning for this stressful day.

Questions to Ask Your Veterinarian

• What are the details of the euthanasia procedure?
• What are options for the location of the euthanasia?
• How far in advance should the appointment be scheduled?
• Does the veterinarian you wish to perform the euthanasia have times or days that he or she will not be available?
• What is a backup plan in case your pet has an emergency? Who should your call or go to?
• What would a natural death look like for your pet, considering the animal’s disease process?

Questions to Ask Yourself and Your Family

• Who will be there?
• Where will the euthanasia occur? At your home, at a veterinary hospital, outside, under a favorite tree?
• Which veterinarian will help?
• What are your wishes for the care of your pet’s body? Some options may include private or group cremation, burial at a cemetery or home, or having your veterinary clinic care for the body.
• Would you like to have a necropsy, the animal version of an autopsy, performed? This can sometimes provide answers to questions you have about your pet’s illness or injury.
• How would you like to say goodbye and memorialize your pet? This is essential in helping you grieve, especially for children. Some people will hold a memorial service, read a poem, plant a tree, or write a story of their pet’s life. Perhaps you would like to make a clay or ink imprint of your pet’s paw or cut a clipping of hair to save. These can be placed in a special display box as a memorial.

Involving children in decision-making discussions can help them to express their wishes and encourage them to discuss their feelings.

Grief Counseling

Our staff is here to help any way that they can, whether it be a shoulder to lean on or a sounding board, we are here for you.  If you need more guidance than we can provide, we recommend contacting these great organizations for further support.



*Information is taken from “The Argus Institute”

The team at Arvada West Veterinary Hospital is here for you and your pet. Have a question? Please fill out the form below and a member of our team will get back to you as soon as possible!