Setting up and running a home pet euthanasia service is quite a step for veterinary professionals whose priority is always to help and heal. But in truth, home euthanasia is a dedicated part of helping pets and their families at the most difficult time.


After experiencing pet euthanasia from both sides: professionally as a vet and personally as a pet owner losing my own dog, Dolly, it’s a subject very close to my heart and a big reason why I founded Home Goodbye, my home euthanasia service in London.


And it turns out, other vets also feel this way. In a recent podcast, I chatted with Rob Haselgrove, founder of family-run Pets at Rest, a home pet euthanasia service in Sheffield, sharing our experiences of pet euthanasia at home. 

Want to hear the whole podcast?

Like me, Rob’s worked in both the veterinary and the charity sectors, including running the PDSA hospital in Sheffield. But, after recognising the difficulties pet owners experienced with their pets’ last journeys, Rob decided to set up Pets at Rest.

I initially started it off partly just to help a lot of friends, family and acquaintances with this difficult time. But I happened to land upon this at a stage where things were changing quite dramatically in the market as well, with a bigger demand for home service. 

Obviously it’s extremely important to be able to say goodbye at home – a lot of my colleagues including myself would want that for our own pets so it was really important to try to deliver that service for people who needed it. Unfortunately a lot of vet practices became less and less able to provide that service as well, so all of a sudden the demand has grown quite dramatically.’

In London the situation was similar, with my own experience with Dolly highlighting a mismatch between what pet euthanasia options were available and what pets (and owners) actually needed. Alongside this, distressing circumstances in the pandemic, where owners could not be with their end-of-life pets, really cemented my feeling that vets could do more and should look at the experience of euthanasia as a whole – and make it better. 

Rob agrees: A lot of my colleagues, as well as myself, we’re all wanting to put our pets to sleep at home but we’re not offering the same level of service for all our clients unfortunately.’

Home euthanasia services

Although Sheffield and London are very different locations, our respective pet euthanasia services are run similarly, with pet wellbeing and client support right at the centre. This starts with initial contact from the client and a phone consultation to review both the situation and the decision.

On the day, there’s time for an initial chat and occasionally an examination of the pet, which often helps to address any uncertainties, before a discussion about the procedure. Rob stresses how important this time is:

‘It just gives everyone some time to settle down because obviously everyone’s quite stressed and upset. It also gives time for that pet to get used to me being in the house as well.’ 

The procedure, outlined in the podcast and in a separate blog here, is then carried out in a step-by-step way, allowing pet and owner calm, dignity and peace. 

Home comforts

In the podcast, Rob and I each share deeply personal accounts of how losing a much-loved parent makes passing peacefully at home so important. 

For humans, being at home in comfort, rather than in the hospital, is what many regard as a ‘good way to go’. Whilst medics are amazing, most of us recognise hospitals as less than peaceful – being busy, noisy, stressful environments which can make patients and their families anxious. 

So it’s interesting that veterinary practice has adopted this hospital model, despite many veterinary professionals recognising that home euthanasia must be better for pets than going to a veterinary practice.

Rob agrees: ‘I’ve seen many pets just terrified of going to the vets, even if nothing bad has ever happened to them in the vets before. I think a lot of cats hate going into a basket, they hate going into the car and then obviously you’ve got that waiting room which is stressful. So, for a lot of pets, I think it really minimises a lot of that stress and upset. 

On the client’s side I’m sure I’d have hated to be sitting in that waiting room, knowing what’s coming, trying to put a brave face on things in front of the public – an impossible situation really. So I think it’s probably equally important for the families and humans as much as it is for the pet.’

The veterinary model 

All of which highlights benefits of a pet euthanasia service too rarely available in general veterinary practice – and Rob identifies a solid reason why: 

‘I think it’s a time problem primarily. I think vets are under more and more pressure to try to see the growing pet population that’s boomed since Covid – and obviously there are fewer vets around as well, so there are time pressures. But even before then, you might allow half an hour for a euthanasia which is a good chunk of time in that veterinary diary but it still feels quite rushed when you’re doing that procedure in the clinic really. So often they (clinics) are going to struggle to get a vet out to people’s homes.’

This is definitely true for my own practice in London, where crossing the city to a home visit may take an hour. So, within the normal vet clinic working environment, it’s clear there’s neither the time or resources to spare a vet for the 2 hours a home pet euthanasia trip may take. 

The lack of vets and how this affects home euthanasia services as part of the veterinary model is discussed in more detail in the podcast – have a listen to find out more.

Better for pets 

The podcast shares touching stories where home pet euthanasia offered a better experience for pets, particularly:

  • Allowing end-of-life pets to stay alongside owners with disabilities, who might not otherwise be able to attend the clinic with them.
  • By considerably reducing stress for elderly, unwell pets.
  • Reducing risks for pets unable to cope with transportation to vet clinics – which can be traumatic and even fatal, depending on the condition of the pet.

Rob also shares how home euthanasia reduces the risk of stress-induced aggression in pets, something which can add trauma to that final visit:

‘As a vet in a clinic, some of these dogs when they’re very very stressed, we struggle to get them to sleep with the sedative because the adrenaline is so high it actually fights that sedative! But in the home environment, the same stressed animals in theory would go to sleep much quicker and much more effectively, with the same or less sedative, just because they are that much calmer, so it does make a big difference.’ 

Client considerations

Pets are of course the priority, but there’s no question that home euthanasia services benefit owners too. Rob finds it’s flexible booking which helps his clients:

‘I think a lot of vet clinics can only fit visits in – or could only even fit appointments in – at certain points in their day. It’s really important obviously because these are family animals and the family wants to be there, so I can normally be much more flexible and available at a time that suits owners. There are many people who are working, need to have a late appointment or first thing in the morning appointment and so I can certainly be much more helpful and available – even at weekends.’ 

Alongside flexible scheduling, Rob feels his clients also appreciate the extra time built into pet euthanasia at home:

‘’These are our family members, it’s a big loss and you need to be able to have the time to say your goodbyes as you want really. And we’re all very different: some people don’t need as much time and others need quite a lot of time to say their goodbyes. These pets are here to see us through all types of good times and bad times and so yes, it really is something you really don’t want to rush.’

At Home Goodbye we’ve also seen how home services support clients who are unable to visit clinics through mobility and accessibility issues. Recently, in the case of an owner who was severely agoraphobic, her cat was her absolute companion but the prospect of taking the cat to the vets was terrifying for her. This owner was so grateful to have a caring home service which supported all their needs.

The vet perspective

And alongside owners and pets are the vets delivering these services. Grateful clients frequently say ‘I don’t know how you can do this’ but of course, we can and we do. For Rob, it’s all about helping: ‘I just actually get a lot of reward from each visit, because I know I’m helping, giving that pet a really happy, peaceful farewell without any stress or worry. And I know that I’m giving that client a lot of help and support, both during the visit and afterwards so, although it’s a horrible thing for the clients, I think for me professionally it’s a good thing to be doing.’

From my perspective, I tell clients that I would have been doing this anyway but in a veterinary practice or hospital situation, probably in a short, rushed consultation, where they and their pet would potentially be quite stressed. Whereas, at their home, the animals are much more relaxed, with no rush, so I can give people time and personal space to grieve.

Preparing to say goodbye

Other podcasts and blogs from The Consult Room explore how to know when it’s time to let go but, this time around, Rob shared his tips for preparing to say goodbye: 

  • Contact the home pet euthanasia service and / or crematoriums in advance. Because, when the time comes, it’s extremely stressful, making it hard to know what’s happening or what to do.
  • If possible, book appointments in advance. Sometimes, if you leave things too late, it’s hard to get an appointment and you’re not able to say goodbye as you want – especially if you end up rushing to an emergency service. 

Having other pets around can also be a concern – many owners ask if other pets should be present. Although it’s hard to gauge this, Rob suggests: 

‘I do think they (other pets) get an idea or sense of the pet’s passing, so it’s nice to consider allowing the pet around if they’re able to. But if it’s a dog that’s particularly barky or unsettled then maybe consider planning whether that dog should be in a different part of the house, or even for someone else to take that dog out for a walk whilst we’re there.’ 

Cost of living, cost of dying 

Although home pet euthanasia services help many pets and owners, these are sadly not affordable for everybody. Where the only option is a final trip to the vet clinic, Rob shared tips for making this as stress-free as possible: 

  • Ask for an appointment at the start or the end of the day, to make the wait as short as possible.
  • Ensure the clinic staff know it’s the final visit, as they may be able to offer a private space or a room before or after the procedure.
  • If costs are tight but you’d really prefer pet euthanasia at home, consider cutting other costs. For instance, by swapping cremation for a garden burial you can concentrate costs on the visit itself.

Ideally though, both Rob and I agree that affordable home euthanasia services should be available for everybody. But how this might work, whether through funding or subsidy, is uncertain because, as we’ve highlighted, it’s a time-consuming service. 

It’s additionally problematic because only vets can provide this service. With the veterinary sector already struggling with recruitment and retention, finding enough vets to provide pet euthanasia services for everyone at an affordable price could be challenging.

But because we do so much for our pets all their lives, it feels important to give them a peaceful, comfortable send off with minimal stress, as Rob sums up:  ‘I mean, if anyone could pick how you choose your pet to pass, this does certainly seem like the much, much better way all round.’ 

Identifying the ‘right’ time to let your pet go is hard but in my experience people never regret making the decision sooner, but they often regret leaving it too long. Information and advice is out there to support you, so please check out The Consult Room blogs and articles.

To find out about home pet euthanasia in Sheffield, visit 

To find out about pet euthanasia at home in London, visit


Dr Paul Manktelow is a vet who’s worked for almost 20 years on the front line in some of the UK’s busiest veterinary hospitals. As Chief Vet in the Charity Sector, he leads a team of vets and nurses that treat thousands of pets every year.  Paul also appears regularly in the media as a TV and radio presenter, writer, public speaker and podcast producer.