The Benefits of Having a Euthanasia Training Manual

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“Endings Matter,” explains Dr. Kathleen Cooney. Veterinary patients, clients, and team members deserve to experience and deliver a peaceful euthanasia service each and every time. The veterinary team that takes advantage of a Euthanasia Training Manual (ETM) will reap the benefits in delivering a consistent, gentle euthanasia. ETMs hold the hospital’s standard operating procedures (SOP) on everything from how to greet the client to proper burial guidelines.

Training manuals are a necessary part of the job, although in CAETA’s experience, very few veterinary services have them developed for euthanasia. Euthanasia is the one service with no do-overs which can cause significant moral stress when poorly handled. Giving attention to training and SOPs can help to alleviate the worry accompanied with scheduling, planning, and providing a peaceful death.

The Benefits of a Euthanasia Training Manual

A Euthanasia Training Manual will…

  1. Clearly communicate the desired experience for the pet, client, and veterinary team.
  2. Create consistency in the delivery of a gentle euthanasia from beginning to end, from appointment scheduling to the deceased patient’s aftercare.
  3. Outline sedation/anesthesia protocols and euthanasia method for each type of patient.
  4. Support veterinary professionals in feeling confident and assured that best medical practices are being delivered.
  5. Assist in having open and honest conversations, helping the client make the loving decision to euthanize, decreasing stress for all involved.

Review of the Euthanasia Training Manual is best done on a yearly basis, as trends and procedural practices are ever evolving. Clients have growing options in bereavement support, in-home services, and ways in which to celebrate their beloved pet’s life. Progressive veterinary services will want to keep up.

Example Categories in a Euthanasia Training Manual

Before Euthanasia

  • Preplanning
    • How do we invite clients to explore their options and indicate what they want?
    • What types of drugs do we prescribe for pre-visit pharmaceuticals?
  • Pricing
    • What do we charge for euthanasia services?
    • What is our policy on discounted services?

During Euthanasia

  • Comfort room features
    • What medical supplies are needed and presented in a gentle way with the client present?
    • Who is responsible for preparing the room and cleaning afterward?
  • Method considerations           
    • Which techniques do we perform in dogs, cats, and others?
    • How do we describe the technique to clients?

 After Euthanasia

  • Pet loss and memorialization
    • What types of grief support do we provide to every client?
    • Who signs the sympathy card and when is it mailed?
  • Body labeling and handling
    • Which containers do we use for dogs, cats, and others?
    • What kinds of personal pet items may go with the body for aftercare?

Hospitals can develop their own manual, or upon completion of CAETA’s Peaceful Euthanasia Certification, learners are granted complimentary access to the CAETA Euthanasia Training Manual for easy use, with over 60 items to determine with the team. It is a digital, editable pdf with space for veterinary teams to add their personalized standards. It’s designed to be completed by a few staff members with a passion for better euthanasia. All-in-all, adding euthanasia training to your team’s line-up is beneficial in delivering a consistent, peaceful service, giving your team peace of mind that they did things the right way.


1. Kogan, L. R., Packman, W., Bussolari, C., Currin-McCulloch, J., & Erdman, P. (2022). Pet Death and Owners’ Memorialization Choices. Illness, Crisis, and Loss, 105413732211430-.

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Rebecca Rose, RVT

Rebecca Rose, RVT, is a credentialed leader in the veterinary community with experience managing clinics, collaborating with industry partners, authoring articles and books, and facilitating engaging team workshops. The former NAVTA president's enthusiasm for professional development in veterinary medicine is contagious. She encourages and supports veterinary teams in reaching their highest potential to maintain a healthy, sustainable life and career.