What does the euthanasia process entail? 

The process varies slightly if the pet owner chooses to be present or not, but in general, the veterinary team will place an iv catheter while the pet owners signs paperwork, chooses burial or cremation options and pays for the procedure and other services.  Pet owners are then given time to say goodbye. Many bring a pet's favorite toy, blanket or "forbidden" foods like cheeseburgers and french fries.  When the family is ready to say goodbye, they alert the veterinary team and the veterinarian gives the euthanasia solution Iv through the catheter.  After confirming that the heart has stopped, the family is given more time to say goodbye if desired. Then, based on what the family has decided to do, the family will take the pet home in a small coffin or the veterinary team will take the pet to prepare the body for cremation.

What is the euthanasia solution exactly?

The solution is pentobarbitol which is a barbiturates class drug that in high doses will depress the brain centers that control respiration and cardiac activity.  It will rapidly and gently cause unconsciousness at the doses used for euthanasia.

In some cases, the veterinarian will inject a pet with an anesthetic of sedative before the injection of pentobarbitol. This sedative will usually be given in the rear leg muscle and will take about 5 to 10 minutes to become effective. This will make your pet feel very calm, warm, and drowsy and, in some cases, unconscious. This allows your pet to feel calm during the process and allows the veterinary team to more easily perform the IV injection.

What to expect during the procedure.

Once the injection is given, the drug begins working almost immediately.  Your pet will become completely unconscious within a few seconds and death will occur within only a few minutes or less. The most common things veterinarians see are some light moving (pulling arm away, etc.) when the injection first starts. Pets also sometimes have gaspy sorts of breaths after the heart stops, these are agonal breaths and are scary to many owners but are not a sign of distress, just the breathing centers shutting down.  Finally, the eyes do not close after death which may be bothersome to some people. Many pet owners like to assist their pets in closing their eyes by gently sliding down their pet's lids with their fingers.