In-Home Veterinary Care and End of Life Services

What We Offer:

In-Home Veterinary Care & Consultations • Palliative and Hospice Care • Quality of Life Discussions • Comfort Care • Medications • Dignified Body Care & Cremation • Grief Support Resources

What to Expect During a Home Euthanasia?

Dr. Kramer (occasionally with a veterinary technician) will travel to your private home to support your family through this difficult journey. Please inform Dr. Kramer of any medical conditions or medications that your pet is taking. After getting to know a bit more about your pet and talking about any questions or concerns, Dr. Kramer will give your pet an injection of a calming sedative & allow your family privacy for your pet’s final moments before they fall asleep. Once your pet is completely at rest, a second injection is given to assist your pet in a peaceful passing. You may be present through some or all of this experience with your pet. Some families choose to remain with their pet until the sedation has taken effect and then step away as the final injection is given. Some family members choose to hold their pet through the entire journey or may stand at a distance. Whatever your family feels comfortable with is the right thing to do. It’s encouraged to allow children to be a part of some or all of the visits with Dr. Kramer. Please let us know who will likely be present at the visit.

The sedation will allow your pet to fall asleep within 5-10 minutes. Occasionally, it may take a little bit longer, depending on your pet’s health conditions. Regardless of how long it takes, most pets just begin to relax a bit, lay their head down, and fall asleep. We allow them to embrace the process and take the time they need to relax. Once completely at rest, the second drug is given – this one will put your pet into a deeper sleep before they pass away. This can take effect within 60 seconds to a few minutes.

After your pet passes, you may take additional time with your companion to say goodbye. Dr. Kramer will transport your pet when she leaves or leave your pet with the family if other arrangements have been made.

Can I stay with my pet during the euthanasia?
You may be present through some or all of this experience with your pet. Some families choose to remain with their pet until the sedation has taken effect and then step away as the final injection is given. Some family members choose to hold their pet through the entire journey or may stand at a distance. Whatever your family feels comfortable with is the right thing to do. It’s encouraged to allow children to be a part of some or all of the visits with Dr. Kramer. Please let us know who will likely be present at the visit.
Will you have your pet cremated or buried?
Your pet will be cared for with dignity & respect from the first to the last journey with Peaceful Paws. You will be asked if you would like to arrange for cremation, home burial, or use a pet cemetery. Cremation options include Private Cremation, Individual Cremation, or Communal Cremation.

Our standard of care is to transport your pet back to our hospital, where we make arrangements for Pets At Peace Crematory to transport and care for your pet through cremation at their private facility. We have a 20+ year relationship with Pets At Peace, have visited their facility site, and trust them with cremation and handling of our personal pets. However, if you wish for other arrangements, we will ensure those are followed.

Private Cremation – After your beloved companion is transported to a local crematorium, they will be given an identification tag number that stays with them through the entire cremation process. Your companion will be the only pet present in the crematorium. Upon completion of cremation, the remains will be placed into an Antique Copper Rainbow Bridge Urn (or a separate urn purchased by you) and available for pick up within 2 weeks.

Individual Partitioned Cremation – Your beloved companion will be transported to a local crematorium. They will be given an identification tag number that stays with them throughout the entire cremation process. Because the crematorium uses state-of-the-art cremation equipment, they can perform partitioned cremations using steel separators without the risk of compromising your beloved companion’s remains. Due to the nature of this process, there may be a very small amount of commingling of ashes. Your pet’s remains will be collected individually and placed in an Antique Copper Rainbow Bridge Urn (or an urn purchased by you) and available for pick up within 2 weeks.

Communal Cremation – your pet will be cremated with other pets and their collective ashes will be spread back into the earth in a respectful manner. Ashes are not returned to the family.

Private Home Burial – Review Home Burial Guidelines to ensure you follow private burial rules. Dr. Kramer is unable to assist with burial on private property.

Pet Cemetery arrangements should be made ahead of time if possible. A cemetery can be used for burial alone, or additional funeral arrangements (ceremony, memorial, etc) can be made with the cemetery itself. Arrangements to transport your pet can be made with the cemetery or Dr. Kramer. Please request additional information if desired.

When will the euthanasia be scheduled & who will be present?
Choose a time in which you & your pet are ready for euthanasia. This may be very short notice or planned weeks ahead of time to allow certain family members to be present. Decide which family members will be present for some or all of the visits from Dr. Kramer. Dr. Kramer encourages families to give all children a chance to say goodbye and even include children for some or all of the visits if you feel it is appropriate. Please have an area in your home or yard ready, perhaps your pet’s favorite spot, where you & your pet will be comfortable. Also, choose a space where your family and & Dr. Kramer may gather comfortably together. You may have your pet’s favorite toys or treats. Avoid allowing your pet to hide in difficult-to-reach areas or dark areas of the home so that they do not have to be chased or caught for the visit.
My pet is fearful, protective or aggressive. How can we manage this peacefully?
For pets with fearful or aggressive behaviors that require special attention – this includes pets with fear, aggression, biting, protective behaviors, etc. Please be sure to provide this information ahead of time. There are ways to help make sure Dr. Kramer’s visit is comfortable & peaceful for your pet & family. Options include giving an antianxiety to the pet a couple of hours prior to the visit or having the family give a medicated treat before Dr. Kramer even enters the home. Only if necessary will Dr. Kramer ask to place a gentle muzzle only while giving the first injection, and then the muzzle may be immediately removed. Communicating any behavior concerns is in the best interest for the pet and the safety for the family and Peaceful Paws members.
Consider how you would like to memorialize your pet?
If you would like to memorialize your pet in some way, please let Dr. Kramer know your wishes. One complimentary clay paw print is included. Additional paw prints, ink prints, etc., are available on request. Depending on the request/time needed for additional memorialization, additional fees may apply.

Peaceful Paws provides palliative & hospice care to pets with terminal or degenerative illness. This includes arthritis, cancer, organ failure, cognitive dysfunction, senior pets near end of life, or any life-limiting condition in which caregivers could use extra support. We believe all pets should be comfortable, no matter their age or disease. We can support your pet with comfort care medications, therapeutic recommendations, and a quality-of-life assessment. We also provide caregiver support and guidance for this difficult journey.

What is a Quality of Life Consultation?

If you’re not sure if euthanasia is the right choice, or you’re simply not ready yet, a Quality of Life Consultation can be scheduled in your home or in clinic. Dr. Kramer will examine your pet, listen to your concerns regarding your companion, and review any medical records that you may already have available. In your home, Dr. Kramer can also assess the environment to ensure that the main part of your home is arranged for your pet’s special needs. If needed, medications can be prescribed to help your pet remain comfortable.

Quality of Life Scale
Feline Quality of Life Scale

In-Home Veterinary & Hospice Care Services
Although our primary focus is on comfort care for patients with a terminal or degenerative illness, we still want to maintain some routine wellness care. We offer wellness care on a limited basis, as most patients can visit their regular veterinarian for vaccines. But, when our pets have mobility or anxiety issues, then sometimes the home visit is better for everyone. Bloodwork is important at least once yearly to monitor any organ dysfunction and drug metabolism. As a team, we prioritize their needs at this time of their life. Vaccines are not often the top priority in geriatric or terminal patients, however, vaccinating against the Rabies virus is important from a public health standpoint. Although most of our pets would not bite, many sick or painful pets may react to handling and unintentionally bite someone. Illinois mandates that all dogs and cats be vaccinated against the Rabies virus, despite their health status. One important reason to consider this is because any pet that is euthanized within 10 days of biting someone is required to be tested for rabies. If Peaceful Paws is not available for the routine services due to travel time, other resources would be provided.

Photobiomodulation Therapy (PBMT, or Class IV Laser Therapy) is a non-invasive treatment used to focus on certain areas of inflammation and discomfort. Other than eyes and cancerous tissue, PBMT can be used almost anywhere on the body to reduce pain and enhance healing. We often use this in pets with musculoskeletal disease such as arthritis, back pain, or muscle sprains. We can also use it around wounds, ear infections, and dental disease. Treatments start 2-3 times weekly for a few weeks, then taper down to every 1-2 weeks as needed.

Medications – We want your pet to be comfortable every single day while taking the least number of medications. Unfortunately, there isn’t one magic pill to help with pain, appetite, inflammation, appetite, or cognitive dysfunction. We address each concern as they arise, and alter medications as things improve and/or if they get worse. There are many combinations of medications to safely use in geriatric or ill patients.

Whether in your home or in-clinic, Dr. Kramer will listen to your concerns regarding your pet’s health & day to day challenges. She will review any prior medical records to learn of any old or new diagnoses and ensure you understand your pet’s condition(s). Along with this consultation, a comprehensive examination of your companion would allow Dr. Kramer to assist your family in creating a plan for your pet’s day-to-day lifestyle. This may involve making some simple adjustments to your pet’s bedding and environment, stair access, or food placement. Oftentimes our sick or senior pets need medications to help keep them comfortable, sustain their appetite, or improve their cognitive function.

Fees for Services

Hospice & Quality of Life Consultation
In-Clinic Services/Exam – $125 for initial 50 min consult/appointment at Perryville Pet Hospital.

In-Home Services/Exam – $220 for initial 1-hour consultation in your private home. Full deposit is collected at time of scheduling to secure appointment time. It will be applied towards the balance of the full appointment. Nonrefundable fee if canceled. Additional fees for travel >30 minutes, any testing, medications, or treatments.

After-hours services are not available for consultations.

Home Euthanasia
$275 – Home Euthanasia consultation, services & sedation. This includes a home visit with the doctor, sedatives, euthanasia, pet transport or consultation for home burial, and a clay paw print.

Peaceful Paws / Pets At Peace Cremation Service Fees determined by pet weight:

Common Cremation $45-85
Partitioned Cremation $85-190
Private Cremation $300-430

Additional fees for travel >30 minutes, after hours, additional clay paws or memorial products, and holding/transport of pets for non-affiliated cemetery/cremation services.

Credit card payments are preferred. Cash payments may be made in person, at Perryville Pet Hospital, before the appointment day. Cash/change is not carried to home visits.


Exceptional. Very caring.

Everyone from the receptionist to the vet who came out were compassionate, respectful, and professional. The process was 1000% more peaceful and dignified than transporting my old friend to a strange office. We were able to say goodbye in a calm, familiar space with helpful and competent professionals.

Morgan J.

Had an awesome experience in a very difficult time having to put my best friend down. Dr. Kelli and Brittany are the greatest to work with thank you again for everything you have done for us.
Armand D.

Have Questions?

Pet Loss Support Groups & Helplines
The human-animal bond is unmeasurable. Losing a pet can be devastating to an individual or family. The anticipation of pet loss can also cause much heartache. There are many resources for individuals and families that experience heartbreak from the loss of a beloved pet. Fortunately, there are several resources that are ready to listen to your story and help guide you through the feelings you have about this experience.

Pet Loss Books

Books About Pet Loss

  • Coping with sorrow on the loss of your pet (3rd ed.) – Anderson, M.
  • Goodbye friend: Healing wisdom for anyone who has ever lost a pet – Kowalski, G.
  • Good-bye my friend: Tributes, poems, prose, and other ways to remember your pet – Lanci-Altomare, M.
  • Coping with the loss of a pet – Lemieux, C.
  • Goodbye, my friend: Grieving the loss of a pet – Montgomery, M. and Montgomery, H.
  • A final act of caring: Ending the life of an animal friend – Montgomery, M. and Montgomery, H.
  • Healing Pet Loss – 10 tips for coping with the loss of a pet – Soucy, M.
  • When your pet dies: A guide to mourning, remembering, and healing – Wolfelt, A.

Books For Children and Parents

  • Talking about death: A dialogue between parent and child – Grollman, E.
  • When children grieve: For adults to help children deal with death, divorce, pet loss, moving, and other losses – James, J, Friedman, R, and Matthews, L.
  • Pet loss and children: Establishing a healthy foundation – Ross, C.B.

Books For Children

  • When dinosaurs die: A guide to understanding death – Brown, L.K., and Brown, M.
  • Why did you die: Activities to help children cope with grief and loss -Leeuwenburgh, E. and Goldring, E.
  • Lifetimes: A beautiful way to explain death to children Mellonie, B. and Ingpen, R.
  • Dog Heaven – Rylant, C.
  • Cat Heaven -Rylant, C.
  • I miss you: A first look at death – Thomas, P.

Pet Loss Hotlines