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Frequently Asked Questions

Please ask if you have any other questions or special requests.

  • How much notice is needed to make an appointment?
    Usually, four days notice is enough to schedule an appointment. If you need a particular time of day, more notice may be needed. Next-day, same-day and emergency appointments are often available, but cannot be guaranteed. There will be some days that Dr. Ivey is not available; it is highly recommended to call and ask about the schedule as you feel the time to make an appointment is drawing near.
  • What types of pets does Peace for Pets help?
    Peace for Pets provides home euthanasia service to all types of house pets. This includes dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, other small mammals, parrots, and backyard birds. Dr. Ivey cannot help with mini pigs, goats, horses, or other hoofed animals.
  • What is the best way to schedule an appointment?
    Scheduling over the phone is best. This way, the details of your pet’s unique situation can be discussed, your questions can be answered, and availability can be relayed in real time. Please call 916-250-3239 to ask questions or to schedule an appointment.
  • How long does a visit take?
    On average, the entire visit takes about 45 minutes. Some people need more time during or after the euthanasia, while others prefer not to prolong the process. Dr. Ivey will do everything possible to proceed at a pace that feels right to you. The important thing is that your pet will be comfortable, and there will be all the time you need.
  • Should I feed or medicate my pet on the day of the appointment?
    Food, treats, and medication will not interfere with the euthanasia process. Please give any food or treatments that provide comfort (especially pain and heart medications). For medications that are stressful to give, some of these may be discontinued before the euthanasia appointment - please discuss this with Dr. Ivey.
  • What are the hours and costs?
    Service hours and fees are listed HERE.
  • Can I cancel an appointment?
    Yes, absolutely. If the day of the appointment arrives and your pet or your family is not ready, it is completely ok to cancel or reschedule. There is no fee.
  • How do I know that my pet is ready?
    Knowing when to end a pet’s life can be very hard, more information is HERE. Please call Dr. Ivey to discuss your pet’s unique situation. Your pet’s quality of life can be discussed in detail and evaluated during a phone consultation. Phone consultations are complementary.
  • Can I set up an evaluation for my pet?
    Peace for Pets provides consultation over the phone, but does not perform in-home evaluations. There are many reasons for this. A thorough examination involves things making the pet walk, looking in the mouth, and feeling the abdomen; putting the pet through a physical exam will make the euthanasia less peaceful. Pets usually become more energetic in the presence of a stranger: what is seen during a vet examination is often not representative of what the pet looks like all day or at night (nights are often the worst time). Almost all of the Quality of Life parameters (especially appetite, mobility, comfort, intermittent problems like vomiting or seizures, percent good days, trends over time, and overall joy in life) are best evaluated by the pet’s family over a period of several days or more. Also, should the decision be made to postpone euthanasia, hospice treatment options should be considered, and Peace for Pets does not provide hospice care (see below). If you are uncertain as to whether euthanasia is the best option for your pet, please call Dr. Ivey to discuss this.
  • Can I schedule hospice care for my pet?
    Peace for Pets does not provide hospice care (ongoing home treatment/comfort care for terminally ill pets). If you decide that home hospice care is the best option for your pet, please see the list of Pet Hospice Providers HERE.
  • What are the options for care of my pet’s body?
    Please see the Information on Aftercare HERE
  • If I choose private cremation, will I really receive my pet’s ashes?
    Yes. Heaven’s Gate Pet Memorial Center has the highest standard of pet and family care. Your pet’s body is carefully tracked at every step of the body care process; ashes, paw prints and other keepsakes are 100% guaranteed to be your pet’s and ONLY your pet’s. Heaven’s Gate offers witnessed cremation and values your trust in their loving care.
  • Should Children be present?
    Children who are old enough to understand and accept euthanasia as a loving gift (typically kids 9 years and older), are old enough to decide for themselves if they wish to be present. Some kids will want to be present for the sedation steps, but not the final euthanasia injection. Some children, particularly in the 6 - 8 year range, may have great difficulty understanding euthanasia as a loving act of kindness. For these kids, observing the euthanasia may be distressing, both for the child and the rest of the family. Very young children (typically 3 years and younger) usually do not understand what death is. These kids are not usually upset by euthanasia, but they may react to strong emotions from parents and siblings. Young children may need attention, ask lots of questions, or create other distractions when the rest of the family would prefer to quietly connect with the pet. It is OK to consider your own emotional needs when deciding whether to have children present.
  • Should other pets be present?
    Dogs, cats, and other pets will not be traumatized by being present. Most pets do not seem to understand what is happening, but some will react to the family’s emotions. It is absolutely ok for other pets to be present for the entire visit, or to allow them to have a viewing/sniffing of the euthanized pet afterward. More information on pet grief is HERE.
  • What is the drug used for euthanasia and how does it work?
    The drug used for the final injection is Pentobarbital, a barbiturate anesthetic. While this medication is being given, unconsciousness is ensured after injection of a small amount. During or shortly after the injection, it stops the heart by putting the brain stem to sleep. There is never any feeling or awareness of this transition to a peaceful end.
  • Why don’t the eyes close? Can we make them close?
    Many people ask about the eyes during sedation and after death. The reason the eyes usually stay open is that the eyelids relax along with the rest of the body when the sedation is given. With deep sedation or anesthesia, even during surgical procedures, pets' eyes are almost always open; the eyes are lubricated to keep them moist. For humans, about 2/3 of people do not close their eyes during general anesthesia, and doctors tape the eyes closed to protect them from injury and drying. After death, there is no muscle strength to keep the eyes closed - that is why there is an old tradition of placing coins on the eyelids. Today, in funeral homes, plastic contact lenses with tiny spikes are placed to keep the eyes closed (these are called eye caps). Sometimes, the eyes do close during sedation, and they may stay closed or they may open again after death. But even if the eyes are open, the pet is not aware and does not actually see anything. You will be able to see that your pet no longer reacts to visual stimulation. Your pet may be able to blink as a reflex, but he/she will not be responsive to any other stimuli at the time the euthanasia is given, and he/she will not be aware of the final injection. Unfortunately, there is no drug to give that would make the eyes close on their own; adhesive drops can be placed in the eyes afterward to keep them closed.
  • Should I get ashes returned?
    This is a difficult question for some people. Your bond with your living pet is so very strong, but how will you feel about having their ashes? Some people feel a very strong connection to these last remains; they may keep them, scatter or bury them at a special place, or even inter them with human remains. For other people, having ashes at home is only a sad reminder of loss. As with human body care, there isn’t a right or wrong answer to this question, and your pet’s comfort or legacy will not be altered by this decision. Parting with your pet’s body does not mean you loved your pet any less; this decision is about what brings you comfort (your pet doesn't care one bit about what happens to their ashes). Other options for keepsakes include a lock of hair, tags, special photos or artwork, or a paw print. Of course, if you are really not sure, you can have ashes returned and scatter or bury them later.
  • Does Dr. Ivey offer other mobile veterinary services?
    No. Peace for Pets provides euthanasia only.
  • Does Dr. Ivey have an office I can bring my pet to?
    No. Peace for Pets provides mobile euthanasia only.
  • How does Dr. Ivey cope with the sadness of her job?
    This question is frequently asked by concerned pet people. We all love our pets and wish for them never to leave us. Saying goodbye is the saddest part of life, but it is part of life. But when incurable illness or pain is present, what choices do we have? When euthanasia is the best option, helping pets pass peacefully, in the comfort of home, surrounded by love, is a great gift. People who seek home euthanasia are the most devoted pet people anywhere - Dr. Ivey celebrates the love her patients have shared with their humans, and the wonderful lives they have led. She is honored to help your beloved pets transition as peacefully as possible.
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