COVID-19 Update:

At this time we are available for In-Home Euthanasia visits and Virtual Quality of Life Consultations. Dr. Ravina has been vaccinated for COVID-19, and we are taking all appropriate precautions regarding sanitizing carefully between appointments. We are comfortable coming inside your home, although outdoor appointments are still recommended and encouraged. Given the latest data on the Omicron variant, Dr. Ravina will wear a mask for every visit. We strongly recommend, but don’t require, that everyone in attendance above the age of 2 wear a face-fitting mask, regardless of vaccination status. If you are scheduling an indoor visit, we recommend opening windows and doors as possible/practical, to improve ventilation. Please inform the doctor if you or any other member of your family is experiencing any COVID-like symptoms or have had recent exposure to a COVID-positive individual, and we will touch base with you to discuss a plan.

Upcoming Closures:
Wednesday, July 6th – Tuesday, July 12th
Thursday, July 21st – Saturday, July 30th

We want to hear from you!

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some answers to our most common questions.

owner petting dog

Peaceful Paws FAQs

We get a ton of interesting questions from pet parents. Below are some common FAQs that might help answer any questions or concerns.

What types of companion animals are you able to provide service for?
At this time, our service is limited to dogs and cats. 
What locations do you serve?

Our regular service area is Santa Cruz County, within 20 miles and 35 minutes drive time, and includes the following areas: Aptos, Ben Lomond, Bonny Doon, Boulder Creek, Capitola, Corralitos, Davenport, Felton, Freedom, Happy Valley, La Selva Beach, Scotts Valley, and Watsonville.

The following locations are outside of our normal service area, but may be accommodated if time allows, on a case by case basis, and with an additional fee: Aromas, Campbell, Castroville, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Prunedale, Redwood Estates, Royal Oaks, Saratoga, Summit Area.

If you do not see your city listed but are interested in our services, please contact us to see if we are available to travel to your area (additional travel fee will apply if you are outside our service area).

How far in advance do I need to schedule an appointment for in-home euthanasia?

By the nature of what we do, the notice required varies from day to day, and week to week. In general, 24 to 48 hours notice is the minimum recommended. There are certainly times when Dr. Ravina can accommodate a same day request, and there are other times when she is fully committed for several days or even up to a week in advance. The more notice you can provide, the more likely Dr. Ravina can be available when needed. That being said, we completely understand these situations sometimes don’t lend themselves to advance notice. Dr. Ravina will do the best she can to accommodate your needs, based on availably, and can discuss other options if for some reason she is not able to be available.

Why choose in-home euthanasia?
Choosing in-home euthanasia allows your pet to make this final transition in the place where they are most comfortable, surrounded by family, and without the added stress and anxiety of a car ride and in-clinic procedure. They can relax, surrounded by their favorite blankets, toys and familiar smells, and your loved one can spend their final moments in their bed, in your arms, or in a favorite spot, be it indoors or out. A home visit also affords more time for the procedure itself, so you have the opportunity to say goodbye the way you want, and are never rushed. If present, other pets in the home also have the chance to say goodbye and acknowledge their companion’s passing. Your family may grieve openly and privately in the comfort of your own home.
What happens during an in-home euthanasia visit?
These visits typically last 30-60 minutes, but we schedule every patient for 90 minutes, just in case you need additional time, and so you never feel rushed. When Dr. Ravina arrives, she will give your pet some time to become accustomed to her, as well as answer any remaining questions. She may perform a brief physical exam if indicated or requested. When you give permission to proceed, the doctor will administer a sedative to allow your pet to relax, and alleviate any pain or discomfort. The sedative may be given by subcutaneous injection (“under the skin”), orally (“by mouth”), or a combination of both, depending on your pet’s individual situation. If your pet is still eating and not vomiting, you may have some special treats available to distract them during this process. After that, your pet will fall deeply asleep over about 5-10 minutes (sometimes they even snore). Once they are sleeping and you are ready to proceed, the final medication will be given. The breathing may become deeper and quicker at first, but then slows down and stops. Shortly after, the heart follows. This usually only takes a few moments, but can sometimes take longer, depending on your pet’s disease process(es). The doctor will listen to your pet’s heart to confirm with you they have passed away. A keepsake paw print will be provided, as well as a lock of fur upon request. If aftercare services are chosen, we will offer you some private time with your dear friend to say goodbye before making the transition to the vehicle. 
How should I do prepare for in-home euthanasia?
  • Consider who should be present. Has your pet bonded with or touched the lives of other family members, friends or neighbors? Do you wish to have your children or other pets present?
  • Consider how you would like to care for your pet’s remains. Do you wish to have them cremated? Would you like to have their ashes returned to you? Do you wish to bury your pet at home or on a family member or friend’s property?
  • Choose the spot where euthanasia will occur. This should be a place that is familiar to your pet and where they feel comfortable. You will also want to be sure you will have enough space for all family members who wish to be present.
  • Prepare the area and create a comfortable space. You may want to have a comfortable blanket or bed for your pet to lay on, or a comfortable place to sit if you plan to hold your pet through the process. You will also want to be sure you have a towel or pee pad to collect any leakage from the bladder or bowels that may occur when the muscles relax. Aside from these basic preparations, you may want to have special music playing, low lights, flowers, candles or photos on display, or perhaps read a poem or something similar.
  • If your pet is still eating and not vomiting, it may be helpful to have special or favorite treats on hand.
  • Be sure to silence phones (unless there are family members who wish to attend virtually), and consider any other ways you might minimize interruptions.
  • Have a box of tissues readily available.
Should my child(ren) be present for in-home euthanasia?
It depends, and there is no hard and fast rule. You know your child, what they can handle emotionally, and the decision is entirely up to you. For many children, losing a pet may be their first experience with death and loss. Allowing children to see their parents’ emotions can help children learn to express their own emotions openly, and without shame. Children under age six may not fully understand what’s happening or be able to grasp the permanence of death, but can still reflect the emotions of those around them. If they are old enough to be given the choice to be present, most children can handle the intense emotional experience of euthanasia if well supported. In general terms, being open and honest about what is happening and educating them about what will happen, in an age-appropriate manner, can provide a good foundation for their experience. It’s important to avoid euphemisms like “put to sleep”, which can be confusing and frightening, especially to younger children. Instead, you can use simple, honest phrases, such as”Fluffy’s body is very sick and can’t get better, so we are going to help her die with comfort because we love her.” Younger children may have shorter attention spans, so, it’s a good idea to have another person available to care for them if needed, so that the older children and adults can focus on their companion’s transition. Children also need to know that if they are feeling overwhelmed at any point during the euthanasia process, they can take a break or step away to their room or other “safe space”.

Children don’t often express their grief in the same way as adults, so it’s important to provide alternate routes for children’s grief, such as making drawings or writing poems, creating a photo album, sharing favorite stories and memories, and involving them in planning a memorial. For more information about supporting children through the grief process, please see our Resources page.

Should I have my other pet(s) present for in-home euthanasia?
We cannot know for sure, but I do feel there is value in having companion pets at least have the opportunity to acknowledge their friend’s passing. That may mean having them there throughout the process, or allowing them to be with their companion afterward. In most cases, they already understand their companion ill, and this gives them the opportunity to know their friend has died, and isn’t just “missing”. 
Many times, the other pets don’t appear to be doing anything but avoiding the pet or just taking a sniff or two. That may be all your pet needs to process the information. Don’t force them to be nearer to the pet just because you expect “more” from them. Aside from that, you know your companions, so it’s completely your call whether you have them present for the entire process or not. Oftentimes, the companion pet(s) seem to sense the emotions in the room (they “get it”) and lie down quietly near the family. Occasionally the companion pet may be a distraction, particularly if it’s a young puppy, or one who is especially interested in a new visitor at the house. Conversely, sometimes a pet sequestered away from the family in another room can be a distraction if they are upset and very vocal in their confinement. The bottom line is – it’s your call. The only reason to definitely not have the companion present is if they have any aggression towards “strangers” in the home. 
Can I bury my pet at home?
Depending on your location, it may be possible to bury your pet at home or on property owned by a friend or family member. You must own or have legal permission of the property owner where your loved one will be buried. Even with permission or on your own property, burying pets may not be legal. Regulations vary from place to place, sometimes even within the same locality, so it’s important to check with your local Public Health Department and/or County Animal Control agency to ensure that it would be allowed to bury your pet where you have planned. If you are choosing home burial we can will provide additional information to help you know what to expect and to ensure you are taking all precautions regarding safety.
What is animal hospice and palliative care?

Animal Hospice

When your pet is seriously ill, you want to do as much as you can to make sure they are comfortable and peaceful. Animal hospice, similar to human hospice, exists to provide supportive care to pets and their families when a terminal illness or permanently debilitating condition has been diagnosed. It is chosen when a family decides that aggressive therapies or invasive diagnostics are no longer in the best interests of their pet.  Hospice focuses on physical comfort, pain control, and quality of life, rather than a cure. The goal is to manage symptoms, as well as to provide education and emotional support for the family until natural death occurs, or euthanasia is chosen.

Palliative Care

Palliative care provides pain alleviation and/or relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness. It is appropriate at any age and any stage of serious illness, and can be provided even along with curative treatment or aggressive therapies.

What happens during the initial hospice or palliative care house call?

Dr. Ravina will come to your house and meet with your family and your pet. We will review and discuss your pet’s medical history. She will observe your pet in your home environment and perform a physical exam. We will discuss what to expect with your pet’s condition, how things may progress, and answer any specific questions you may have.  We will also discuss what your hopes and wishes are for your loved one as he or she approaches the end-of-life. We will educate your family on how to assess comfort and quality of life. Together we will formulate an individualized treatment plan for your pet, focusing on providing comfort and taking into consideration your family’s values, beliefs and resources.  

Your pet’s care plan will be personalized to his or her condition as well as to the preferences of your family. Treatment may include many of the following: pain management, wound care, infection control, mental stimulation and enrichment, household modifications, and nutritional therapy. Please note we have limited ability to perform testing or diagnostic services. Should that be recommended or desired, we will refer you to the guidance of your primary care veterinarian.

What happens after the initial hospice house call?
We realize this can be a frightening and difficult time for many pet owners, so the initial house call is followed by continued communication for up to one month by phone, video, text, or email. This allows us to adjust for changes in condition, keep the treatment plan current, and help you make the best decisions for your pet and your family. After one month, if appropriate, we will schedule a follow up visit to continue care for your pet. If you are considering euthanasia, Dr. Ravina will provide you with the tools to help you decide when the time is right, and will support your decision with your loved one’s comfort in mind, and without judgement.