Services at our VCA Canada Animal Hospitals

End Of Life and Cremation Services

The death of a pet is always difficult. Whether it happens tragically, peacefully at home or because of a decision to end their suffering, we feel the loss deeply. The staff at Green Acres want to help you through this situation.
Pre-Planning for Your Pet’s Aftercare

Pre-Planning for Your Pet’s Aftercare

Pre-planning for your pet’s after care allows you to know that everything will be taken care of when the time comes. It also means that when the time arrives, you won’t have to make these decisions while you are grieving.

When pre-planning you may find it is easier to discuss the details with your family members as well. If your pet is a senior now, it makes it a little easier for a child to understand that death is coming rather than to have to explain when their pet dies unexpectedly.
Cremation FAQ’s

Cremation FAQ’s

Making the decision to euthanize your pet is very difficult. It is just a little easier if you know what to expect. Here are some answers to questions we often hear.

1. How does cremation take place?
Cremation is a thermal process that reduces an animal’s remains to bone fragments. It takes 30 minutes to two hours for most pets. The final step is to pulverize any remaining bone fragments (they are not totally consumed), producing the finer ash that pet owners receive.

2. What will my pet’s ashes look like?
Ashes will usually be a gritty gray substance that comes wrapped in a plastic bag within a sturdy box. You can choose to bury the box as-is, spread the ashes in your pet’s favorite spots or transfer the remains to an urn of your choice for safekeeping.

3. How do I know the ashes I get are really my pet’s?
Most veterinary clinics depend on an outside company to complete pet cremations. Green Acres has it’s own professional crematorium. Your pet never leaves our clinic so we know exactly what happens during the entire process. Their body never leaves our care and we treat them the way we would want our pet’s treated. If you choose, you may be present during the cremation process.
Cremation Services

Cremation Services

Green Acres Animal Hospital is one of the only veterinary hospitals in Canada that is equipped with a professional crematorium facility inside the hospital, so your pet never leaves our care. When it is time to say good-bye, you can trust that your pet will be safe in our care until it is returned to you. If you wish to have your pet cremated you can know that they are not being sent away but are being handled only by our experienced staff members.

Our Cremation Services:

Our Cremation Services are available to anyone who has lost a dog, cat or small pet.

  • PRIVATE – their remains returned to you, in an urn of your choosing. This allows you to spread your animal’s ashes if you wish. A private cremation normally takes about 3-4 days. If you would like to see example of the urns we provide please click here.
  • REGULAR – If you do not want cremains (ashes) returned to you, this is a safe interment option.
    There are also pet cemeteries in Alberta, the closest of which is in Medicine Hat. We can provide their name and number if you would like.
When It’s Time To Say Good-bye

When It’s Time To Say Good-bye

We are never quite prepared for the loss of our pet. Whether death is swift and unexpected or whether it comes at the end of a slow decline, few of us are fully aware of what our pet means to our lives until our companion is gone.

Our involvement with the final outcome may be passive. We may simply decide not to pursue medical or surgical treatment for an aging pet. Perhaps the ailment is incurable and the best we can do is to alleviate some of the suffering so that the remainder of the pet’s days are spent in relative comfort. At the other extreme, an illness or accident may take a pet suddenly.

Everyone privately hopes their pet will have a peaceful passing when their time arrives. However, the impact of a pet’s death is significantly increased when we face the most difficult decision a pet owner can make: to have a pet euthanized.

Veterinarians do not exercise this option lightly. Their medical training and professional lives are dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of disease. And they are keenly aware of the balance between extending an animal’s life and prolonging its suffering. We need to understand that euthanasia is the ultimate tool to mercifully end a pet’s suffering.
Reaching the Decision

Reaching the Decision

To help you prepare for the decision to euthanize your pet, consider the following questions. They are intended only as a guide. Only you can decide what the best solution is for you and your pet. Take your time as these are not easy questions to face. Please feel free to discuss this with any of our team members.

  • What is the current quality of my pet’s life?
  • Is my pet eating well? Are they playful and affectionate towards me?
  • Does my pet seem tired and withdrawn most of the time?
  • Is my pet in apparent pain? Is there anything I can do to make them more comfortable?
  • Can my pet perform toiletry habits with dignity?
  • Are there other treatment options available?
  • Is allowing my pet to die at home with the appropriate medications for comfort an option?
  • If a behavioural problem has led me to this decision, have I sought the expertise of a veterinary behavioural consultant?

Here are similar questions that are set up as a survey. Sometimes attaching a number and seeing the total can help you make a decision. A veterinary oncologist in California namedDr. Alice Villalobos has designed this questionaire to help owners determine their pet’s overall quality of life.

  • CanineQualityofLifeScale
  • FelineQualityofLifeScale

Speak to all family members regarding this decision. As each family member shares the care giving responsibilities for your pet, each member should have a say in the decision to have the pet euthanized. An honest approach is best when dealing with a child, who also needs to know that his or her feelings and opinions have been listened to before a pet is put down. Children need time to say good-bye.

The Euthanasia Process

The Euthanasia Process

When you are ready, the doctor will administer the injection of the Euthanasia solution which results in a rapid and painless overdose of anaesthetic.

Usually within seconds after the solution is injected, the pet will take a slightly deeper breath, then grow weak and finally lapse into what looks like a deep sleep.

The pet, although completely unconscious, may continue to take a few more breaths, may twitch or gasp. These effects are common. The animal’s eyes also usually remain open.On occasion, when the muscles relax, the bowels and/or bladder may void.

If you would like, a hair lock can be collected for you as a keepsake.

As pet lovers and owners we understand how devastating it is when we have to say goodbye.
Children and the Death of a Pet

Children and the Death of a Pet

For many children, the death of their pet is their first experience with grief and loss. Losing a pet deserves very special attention and adults should not try to hide their sorrow.Talking about the pet afterwards is also wise because the pet deserves to be remembered as a part of the family and one of the child’s most wonderful friends. A child is prone to certain misconceptions about the subject of death and is often keenly aware that something is not right with his or her pet.

When a child experiences the death of a beloved pet, he or she may experience emotional reactions that can be painful and frightening. Here are several ways to help children cope with these reactions in a healthy way.

Find a quiet place where you can talk without interruption. Tell your child in simple language that their pet has died and what caused the death. If necessary, explain what the word “death” means. Avoid overloading your child with details.

Answer all questions truthfully in words children can understand. Inconsistent or incomplete answers may leave your child more unsettled and upset than hearing the truth itself.

Encourage the expression of feelings. Children will model their behaviour after their parents.

Try drawing, writing and talking together about the pet with your child.

Share your beliefs, hopes and faith about the soul or spirit of pets.

Children younger than five years have difficulty understanding the finality of death. They may need several explanations, long after the pet is gone, as to why he or she does not come back. This age group also takes words literally, so it is best not to use the phrase “put to sleep” with young children. From ages five to nine, children tend to perceive death as a punishment. They must be reassured that the pet did not die because of something the parents or they did or did not do. After age nine, children have a more realistic concept of death and can understand religious or philosophical ideas about it. Participating in a burial or memorial service for the pet, if possible, can make the child feel better. As well, you might:

  • Create a keepsake box or album with pictures, stories and mementos of the pet’s life.
  • Light a candle, place fresh flowers and a special framed picture near it.
  • Plant a tree or a garden in memory of the pet.
  • Donate money to a favourite charity in memory of the pet.
  • Your veterinary staff can help by giving you a lock of their fur as a keepsake.

Children process their thoughts and feelings by “doing”. By helping to guide your children, you will be giving them an important life tool: a model for how to say good-bye and a framework for dealing with death and other significant changes or losses they will experience in the future.



If you would like another resource to help you cope with the possibility or reality of the loss of your pet please click on this link for the Argus Institute. The Argus Institute is part of the vet teaching hospital at Colorado State University. They have some great articles and information on their website or you can order a downloadable copy of their book called “What Now? Support For You and Your Companion Animal”.
Memorial Products

Memorial Products


We have many urns and photo boxes available to you if you would like to have your animal’s ashes returned to you after cremation. You are also welcome to bring one to us. Please review the Memorial Products page for more information.


In most cases, we do provide ink paw prints included in the services provided.

Other options for making memories of your pet is to have a clay paw print or paw pals paw print made. This can actually be done at any time of life – some people like to make one when they get a new puppy so they can remember how small they really were, and some like to have one made at the end of a pet’s life as a keepsake of a favorite pet.

To learn more about our paw print options, please visit the Memorial Products page.

Get to Know Our Team

Get to know our knowledgeable veterinarians and well-trained staff who are here for you and your pet.
Loading... Please wait