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End of Life and Euthanasia

Quality of Life and End of Life Decision Making

How do I know when it is time to say goodbye to my pet?
This is a personal decision for every family. We recommend several family discussions to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Sometimes loss comes rapidly and the family doesn't get any choice in the matter, but for older or unwell pets you can take your time and try to choose the best time for both your pet and yourselves. Your vet can give recommendations, feel free to book a consultation if you would like your pet assessed and an opinion from your vet.

The 'three things' approach
What are your pet's three favourite things in life?
Food? Walks? Jumping into bed with you? Beach trips? Interacting with the family? Chasing a ball? Pats and scratches?
If your pet can still enjoy these things the vast majority of the time, their life is probably pretty good
If their favourite activities are being impeded by pain or illness more than 30% of the time then their quality of life is starting to suffer and we need to be making plans to say goodbye in the near future.

The Quantitative Approach
Sometimes your heart wants to take over your head in these decisions. Or different family members are seeing your pet at better or worse times of day. Maybe one family member's life is being turned upside down by caring for your unwell pet and it is becoming unsustainable. 
In this situation we recommend printing out several copies of the Lap Of Love Quality of Life Scale and each completing the questionnaire. This scale assesses both the pet's and the family's quality of life and makes suggestions based on your findings. It is worthwhile comparing notes as you may not be aware of some of your family member's concerns. 
The scale can be found here- 
lap-of-love-quality-of-life-scale.pdf (

We think it's time. Now what do we do?

Contact your vet to make an appointment. They will want to know the following to allow them to book an appropriate time for the euthanasia.

- Would you like to be present at your pet's passing or would you prefer to say goodbye and leave them with us? 
- Do you desire a home euthanasia?

In clinic euthanasia can usually be done same day but home euthanasia will need to be prebooked, usually some days out, as it will take staff members away from the clinic for an extended period.
If you need a home euthanasia on short notice, please feel free to call us but be aware that we may recommend a home euthanasia service as we may not have staff free to come out.

- What would you like to do with your pet after their passing?

a) Burial at home- you can do this so long as you are not in a catchment area. If you have a home euthanasia then you will need to bury your pet or arrange pickup by a cremation company as we do not transport remains in our personal vehicles. 

b) Group cremation. This is performed by a private cremation company (we use Passing Paws). In this situation the pets are cremated as a group and their ashes are spread on a farm in Bullsbrook.

c) Private cremation with ashes returned to you. We routinely use Passing Paws but there are other cremation companies in Perth if you have a preference. Passing Paws will collect your pet from us within 24 hours and will call you within the following 48 hours to discuss your wishes. They do also offer an expedited service on request. Passing Paws contact information can be found at Cremation Of Pets | Funeral & Memorial Services Perth, WA ( and they can be called on 08) 9930 8316.  Passing Paws also offer a Bereavement Advice Service.

What will happen at the euthanasia?
If your pet is still eating, please bring lots of treats so we can make it as nice an experience as possible for them. 
There will be individual case to case variation, but the following is the usual approach to euthanasia at Mundaring Vets.

1. You arrive and are shown to a quiet space to wait with your pet. Where possible, we use the garden spaces or front office so you can take your time after your pet's passing and don't have to make way for the next client.

2. We will briefly take your pet to the treatment room to place an intravenous catheter (good for OH&S as better for our backs than crawling on the ground/ car and better lighting so we are quicker and keep things nicer for your pet). During this time the receptionist will be available to take payment if you don't wish to take care of things after your pet passes. An IV catheter allows us to perform the euthanasia without restraining your pet and in more privacy as we don't require additional staff in the space.

3. The vet joins you with your pet. This is your opportunity to ask any further questions and have a good cuddle. The vet can explain what to expect during and after the euthanasia and ease any concerns you may have about your pet's experience.

4. Your pet is sedated via the IV catheter using an intravenous anaesthetic called Propofol. This is administered slowly to effect so you can give cuddles and treats while your pet falls asleep. They will probably flush the catheter with some saline before and after the Propofol.

5. The green euthanasia solution is administered via the IV catheter. Generally the pet will slip away with no further signs. It is not unusual to take some big breaths and go to the toilet. They are not experiencing these movements, it is simply a part of the body shutting down. The vet will confirm your pet has passed before leaving you in privacy.

6. You can stay with your pet as long as you wish (until closing time). Please ask if you need a drink of water or more tissues. When you are ready, let the front desk know and a nurse will come to prepare your pet to take home for burial and help you to get them to the car. If staying for cremation then the nurse will move your pet to the treatment room to prepare them for collection. Special care is taken to ensure your pet is well identified, with both a handwritten tag and QR code so they can be traced throughout the transfer and cremation process. 

End of Life and Euthanasia: Resources
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