Primary Care

Pet Loss Support

At VCA New Hartford Animal Hospital we recognize how difficult it is to say goodbye to our beloved pets. Below we discuss the options available for end of life care and euthanasia offered at our hospital.

How Do I know When It’s Time?

It’s difficult to know exactly when it’s the right time to euthanize a beloved pet. If necessary, we will set up a Quality of Life consult to assess whether euthanasia is the right decision for you and your pet.

What does a "euthanasia" look like?

When the decision is made to say goodbye, you and your pet will be brought into our euthanasia room which is more comfortable than our normal clinical exam rooms (maybe we can include a picture of the euth room on this page). We have a call button available so you can let us know when you are ready to proceed to the next stage of the process, and can take as much time as you need at every step. An IV catheter will usually be placed to allow access to your pet's vein, and euthanasia solution will be given through this port. This is the most Fear Free method to ensure minimal pain and stress to your pet. 

Is euthanasia painful for my pet?

Euthanasia is not a painful process. The process essentially involves giving a sedative so your pet will slowly fall asleep, and then the euthanasia solution which works to stop the heart and the lungs. Your pet will not be conscious during this process, so they will not feel any pain. The process generally takes between 30 seconds and a few minutes depending on the drug combination used and the individual pet.

What are the aftercare options available for my pet?

We offer three options:

  1. Sending your pet home for burial with a provided burial box
  2. Communal cremation (cremains are not returned to you)
  3. Private cremation (cremains are returned to you)

What resources are available to support owners through pet loss?

Losing a pet is a difficult experience and is a little different for every owner and pet. Dr. Cornelius and Dr. Brown are certified Pet Loss Support Specialists, which means they have a certification in pet loss and bereavement. Grieving often starts before we say goodbye to our pets, especially when pets become ill or elderly - this is known as 'anticipatory grief.' Our team is here to support you through end-of-life care and decision-making, and are honored to help guide you through this difficult process. The Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement also provides resources and free online support groups which can be found at