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What is veterinary hospice?

Veterinary Hospice is a service provided by veterinarians and dedicated to maintaining the comfort and quality of life for the terminally ill or geriatric pet until natural death occurs or the family elects humane euthanasia.

Modeled originally from human hospice, this specific type of veterinary care is focused on the comfort of your pet, not on finding a cure or treating his or her disease. The goal is to focus on comfort and maintaining your special bond with your cherished family member.

What is Quality of Life?

What does “quality of life” really mean?  

How can I judge how my pet is really feeling?  Is he/she in pain?

Am I holding on for myself or for my pet? 

These are common and complex questions. The answers are not right or wrong and do not result in you being a good or a bad person. The answers are not straightforward and can vary with every situation.

Before making decisions about going forward with advanced diagnostics and treatments for serious medical conditions, or while considering hospice or euthanasia I suggest that you consider the following.

How much information do you need to have?

Some people need to have as much data as possible. These are people who couldn’t rest if they made a final decision without exhausting all reasonable possibilities. For others, this is not as important.

What would you do with the information gained from the diagnostic test if you had it?

Would you consult with a specialist? Would you consider a treatment or surgery? If you would consider having a consult or pursuing a treatment you will need to have the information.

Think of 2-4 things your pet loves about life

Is it a walk? A toy or game? Just sitting with you? Eating?  Can he/she do these things? If not, is it likely that a treatment would result in this joy returning?

Is your pet in pain?

Do you have the time, emotional, and financial resources to manage your pets’ health problems? Now? and ongoing future needs?

Quality of Life Checklist

Euthanasia at Fieldstone. What to expect?

Once you and our veterinarian determine that euthanasia is the best choice for you and your pet, our goal is to have the process be as peaceful as possible for your family.

We start by administering a combination pain medication and sedative to your pet by injection under the skin. This should not hurt anymore than a quick vaccine. Many pets do not react or only briefly. This medication usually takes about 5-15 minutes to take full effect. The result should be that your pet is asleep and very comfortable.

The euthanasia medication is an overdose of an anesthetic. It is not a poison. It should not hurt or burn or sting. It is administered into a vein like getting blood drawn. Once administered its effects are fast. Usually your pet will pass in 1-2 minutes.

You and your family members may choose to be present for all, only the time your pet is becoming sedate, or you may choose to say your goodbyes before. It is truly what is right for you.

Clay pawprints

You may opt to have us make a clay paw print of your pet. Photo


You may opt for a Euthabag which is a respectful and ecological pet body bag that brings dignity to your pet.

Options for Aftercare

Home burial
Cremation Services

We work very closely with and can arrange for cremation services which could include

An individual/ private cremation where your pet is cremated would receive your pet’s ashes returned to you in a decorative wooden box.

A group cremation is where your pet is cremated with others. With a group cremation, you are not receiving your pet’s ashes back. It is, however, a more cost-effective option if this is not important to you.


Terrapin Glass – Memorial Glass Jaffrey, NH

Terrapin Glass

Local Hospice Resources and At Home Euthanasia Options:

Empathy Vet Care

Grief and Support Resources

Children and Pet loss

Support Center of Lap of Love

Veterinary Care Coordinators across the United States are offering guidance and support for one of the hardest phone calls that we, as pet parents, may ever make.

You are not alone – we are here for you every day of the week to coordinate and assist you every step of the way.

(855) 933-5683

Rainbow Bridge Pet Loss Grief Support (families)

The Pet loss Support Page-Ten Tips on Coping with Pet Loss (families)

The Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement (families and veterinary teams)

End of Life Care I ASPCA

Pet Loss Hotline: (877) GRIEF-10

Best Friends-resources across the United States

Colorado State
Argus Hosts a Friends of Friends

Pet Loss Support Group

See the group meeting schedule here.

Facilitator: Leigh Ann Gerk, MA, LPC
(970) 412-6212

A support group for pet parents with “special needs” pet.

 Two Hearts Pet Loss Center

Pet Burial Information

Burial should only be performed per your local and state laws and when applicable, with the landlord’s authorization.

There are no official guidelines for the proper disposal of dead animals. However, to protect human, animal, and environmental health please follow these guidelines:

  • Before you select the location of the burial site please ensure that you are aware of the location of any underground utilities such as electric, fuel, and gas lines.
  • Ensure that the top of the body is covered with at least 2 feet of earth. If this depth is not attainable, consider cremation or it is important to cover the hole with a large rock to prevent digging by wildlife or domestic animals. Euthanized pet remains are potentially poisonous and could cause illness or death to animals who ingest them.
  • Pets that died of some contagious diseases should be cremated rather than buried to prevent further transmission of disease.
  • Animal graves must not be located within 200 feet of any lake, river, stream, or groundwater and 500 feet from a well used to supply potable drinking water as the deceased animal may leak body fluids after passing.
  • It is also recommended that burial sites are not close to home foundations.

It is recommended to place a layer of lime at the bottom of the hole and on the body. Lime aids in decomposition as well as reduces odors.

Compress the earth and level the soil.

Take a moment to yourself…

Finally, if you ever sell your property, it is important to notify future buyers of the presence of any animals that may be buried on the land.

Please accept our most heartfelt sympathies for your loss…

our thoughts are with you and your family during this difficult time.