Lifting Stars Veterinary Homecare


There is no question too big or too small for our veterinary team. Below are some answers to our most common questions.


What are the advantages of veterinary home care for my pet?

There are many! At-home visits allow pets to avoid a stressful trip to the hospital. These journeys can be difficult for timid cats, nervous dogs, or pets with underlying health conditions that can be exacerbated by stress. Veterinary home care is less taxing than in-hospital care for pets that are in pain, or for those having laboured breathing or difficulty walking.

Hospitals do their best to make visits as comfortable as possible. However, unusual sounds, clinical smells, and memories of previous visits nonetheless contribute to our pets’ anxieties, despite our best intentions. In the home environment, pets are relaxed and comfortable. Because of this, a home visit allows for a more accurate assessment of your pet’s condition.

What are the advantages of veterinary homecare for me?

Pet homecare alleviates stress for you just as much as it does for your pet. It isn’t always easy to put your cat in a carrier or to move a large and potentially immobile dog. Home visits eliminate the stress associated with the journey and the anxiety of waiting in a busy veterinary hospital for your appointment to begin.

At end-of-life, you can rest assured that your pet is in competent and compassionate hands, in the privacy and comfort of home. Homecare simplifies the complex end-of-life process and allows you to focus on being with your loved ones until the very end.

When is it time to consider euthanasia (“putting my pet to sleep”)?

Deciding when to say goodbye to your pet is a tremendous responsibility, and it is understandably one of the most difficult decisions you will ever make. Often, the only advice that owners are given by their veterinarian is that “when it’s time, you’ll just know.” Sometimes, this is true. Most of the time, it is not that simple.
Many factors affect your pet’s quality of life and the bond you share with them. Is your pet’s pain adequately controlled? Can they breathe normally? Are they still enjoying interactions with you, with other animals, and with their environment? Are they tolerant of supportive care? Are you equipped with the financial and physical resources to provide them with an easeful quality of life?

We are here to help you answer these questions. If necessary, we will walk you through every step of the euthanasia process and leave the ultimate decision in your hands.

How can I accurately assess my pet’s quality of life?

Here are two tools that you can use to assess your pet’s quality of life:

  1. Start a daily journal of good and bad days when you begin having concerns about your pet’s quality of life. Highlight how your pet is feeling over time. When there are three or more bad days in a row or consistently more bad days than good, contact your veterinarian to discuss this with them.
  2. Make a list of three to five of your pet’s favourite activities. For example, cats could enjoy being groomed, laying in their favourite sunny spot, eating meals and treats, or chasing a laser pointer. Dogs could enjoy playing with their ball, attention from family members or friends, eating meals and treats, going for walks, or playing with other animals. When advanced illness begins to impede these enjoyments, it is time to think about your pet’s quality of life. Ideally, we do not want to wait until our pets’ favourite things cease to offer any pleasure for them.

Dr. Alice Villalobos, DVM, has published a scoring system for the quality of life called “The HHHHHMM Scale”.  According to this scale, a pet’s quality of life can be assessed in seven categories: Hurt, Hunger, Hydration, Hygiene, Happiness, Mobility, and More good days than bad. Our survey is an adaptation of this scale and addresses these by asking guiding questions.  

Below you will find additional guiding questions that may be helpful in assessing your pet’s quality of life.

  • Is your pet suffering from a terminal illness or a debilitating disease?
  • What is the realistic ability of your family to provide the supportive care necessary to maintain your pet’s comfort and hygiene?
  • Has the normal aging process progressed to a stage where the pain is interfering with your pet’s ability to enjoy life? 
  • Are pain medications no longer helpful, or are their side effects outweighing the benefits?
  • Is your pet still eating enough to maintain their strength and energy?
  • Can your pet still walk with a reasonable degree of comfort and eliminate inappropriate areas?
  • If incontinence or inappropriate elimination is an issue, are you able to maintain the hygiene of your pet and home while still preserving your pet’s dignity?
  • Have they lost their appetite?
  • Are they very thin, or in poor body condition?
  • Are there more good days than bad days?
  • Is your pet no longer doing the things they used to love to do?

What is the humane euthanasia process like and how can I prepare?

The first step in an at-home Humane Euthanasia appointment is a consultation in which our mobile veterinarian will review your pet’s health condition, discuss considerations for palliative care, and the appropriateness of humane euthanasia. If you decide that humane euthanasia is the best course of action, the veterinarian will review all the steps involved in the process with you. There will be time for any questions you would like to address. Our main goal is to make the entire process calm, comfortable, and relaxed for you and your pet.

If your pet is a dog, please take them for a short walk before the doctor arrives so they can eliminate if needed. We understand that this may not be possible if your dog has severe mobility concerns. If your pet is a cat, please keep them in an area where it is easy to find them when we arrive. Some cats have a tendency to hide when visitors arrive, so please close doors to areas where it could be difficult to find and gain access to them (for example, close doors to bedrooms so your cat cannot hide under the bed).

Next, there will be some paperwork and consent forms to sign. This will also be the point at which payment is taken. You will need to decide on the type of cremation that you would prefer. Options for keepsake memorabilia including clay or ceramic paw prints and fur-trimming will also be discussed at this time.

It is a good idea to have your pet in a favourite location near the main entryway to your home. For example, in a comfortable and familiar bed or blanket. You are welcome (but certainly not obligated) to light a candle, play relaxing music, read a poem, say a prayer, or share some fond memories you have with your pet. Consider turning off cell phones or unplugging landlines for added privacy and to minimize disruption. Please review the COVID-19 restrictions prior to the appointment and notify us if there are any concerns.

The euthanasia process itself is performed in two steps. First, your pet will be given a combined sedative and pain injection with a small needle, so that they enter a state of deep sleep and relaxation. This typically takes about three to ten minutes.

The second step is the administration of the euthanasia solution. This injection is usually administered into a vein and is facilitated by the placement of an intravenous butterfly catheter. The final euthanasia injection typically takes approximately five to twenty seconds to take effect, depending on the size of your pet.

Once your pet is confirmed deceased, we will leave you to some private time with your pet for your final goodbyes. In most cases, we will return in approximately ten minutes. If more or less time is required, please discuss this with us before the procedure.

We will make arrangements to transport your pet for cremation at Until We Meet Again Pet Memorial Centre in Surrey. In most cases, we will take your pet with us directly after the euthanasia. For medium to larger sized dogs, we will require assistance to move your pet into the vehicle.

If you select “Private Cremation” for your pet, the ashes will be available for you to pick up in approximately five to ten business days. There are three options for picking up your pet’s ashes. First, the ashes can be delivered to your regular veterinarian as a courtesy service. Second, you can pick them up at Until We Meet Again Pet Memorial Center in North Vancouver, or third, you can pay an additional fee for home delivery.

If you elect “Communal Cremation,” the ashes are not returned to you and are spread on a permanently designated meadow in the Fraser Valley.

We will notify your veterinarian of your pet’s passing. We also have grief support material available upon request. Please visit the Grief Resources page of this website for links to online resources for pet loss and grief management.

Is an appointment needed before the euthanasia appointment?

Appointments ahead of a home euthanasia visit aren’t always required. However, when you get in touch with us, we kindly ask for your primary Veterinarian’s information. One of our support specialists will reach out to them to gather your pet’s medical history, ensuring we’re fully prepared to provide the best care during this sensitive time.

During the appointment, the veterinarian will discuss your pet’s health concerns and may conduct a gentle physical exam to help make the most appropriate decision for both you and your pet. If there are other ways we can assist, we will discuss your pet’s quality of life, guide you in palliative care suggestions and refer you back to your regular veterinarian for ongoing care. Our aim is to offer compassionate guidance and tender care for your beloved pet and you during this difficult period.

Will you sedate my pet before administering the euthanasia injection?

Yes. All pets receive an initial injection for sedation and pain relief before the final euthanasia injection is given. This injection with help your pet relax and be as comfortable as possible, and will induce a relaxed and often sleep-like state before the final euthanasia injection is given.

Can my children be present for my pet’s euthanasia? How about my friends?

Yes. Friends and family members, including children can attend the euthanasia appointment.

Being present at the procedure can be an important emotional experience for some children. However, it can be traumatizing to others. The Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement provides a succinct guide which outlines key considerations for helping children through the loss of a beloved pet:

Children and Pet Loss

Additionally, please review our Grief Support resources for further guidance on the subject. These guides can help you decide whether your children are ready to attend the euthanasia appointment and to help you prepare them if they are.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a maximum of two family members will be allowed within six feet of the euthanasia, and all observers will be required to wear masks for the duration of the procedure. Please consider that children present will be asked to adhere to these guidelines as well.

How much time is allowed for euthanasia or quality-of-life consultation appointments?

Euthanasia and quality-of-life consultation appointments are scheduled to allow up to one hour of time with our doctors from start to finish. We understand that sometimes a full hour is not needed, while other times a little more time is required. Our goal is to help give families and pet’s the time they need without feeling rushed while also keeping our doctors on schedule for the multiple families we are helping each day. If you have any special timing requests or concerns, please reach out to us, and we will try to accommodate your needs as best as possible.

Can the doctor euthanize my pet outside?

To honour the peaceful transition of your beloved companion, we understand the importance of providing a private and serene space for the euthanasia procedure if it’s to be conducted outdoors. This should be within a private area, such as your own home or a space where you have permission to ensure confidentiality and comfort. Our aim is to create a quiet, intimate environment away from public view or any potential disruptions for your pet and your family during this heartfelt goodbye. If you have a specific setting in mind or any further questions regarding this, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll be more than happy to discuss your individual preferences and concerns.

How and when can I book an appointment?

The most efficient way to book your appointment is by calling 778-840-5438. Our Care Coordinators are available to answer your calls Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm. You can also fill out our online Request An Appointment form. We will respond to out-of-hours enquiries as promptly as we can.

Please provide us with as much notice as possible before your desired appointment date. We understand that advance notice is not always possible and will try our best to accommodate you.

Lifting Stars Veterinary Homecare is not an emergency service. If your pet is in a state of emergency, please contact your regular veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency clinic.

Hours of Appointments:

Monday to Friday: 9am to 5pm

Evenings and weekends: Limited availability, call for details
Statutory Holidays: Limited availability, call for details

Do you provide after hours appointments on evenings, weekends and statutory holidays? Is there an additional fee for this service?

Our doctors’ regular hours of service are Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. We occasionally have availability on evenings, weekends and statutory holidays and we are currently trying to increase our availability. If you are interested, please call or submit our online form for more details. When available, there is an additional charge of $100 for after hours appointments or $150 for statutory holiday appointments.

Do you offer cremation services and what are my options?

Yes we do.
Quality aftercare is important to pet owners, and honouring your pet is a responsibility we take seriously. We partner with Until We Meet Again Pet Memorial Services in North Vancouver to provide cremation and memorial services after euthanasia. We provide options for delivery services, as outlined below.

There are two options for cremation: private or communal cremation. With private cremation, your pet is cremated separately from other animals, and the ashes are available in three to five business days. With communal cremation, your pet is cremated with other animals, and the ashes are not returned to you. Ashes from communal cremations are spread in a private country meadow in the Fraser Valley. Information about fees can be found on our At-Home Euthanasia page.

Can I bring my own pet to the cremation company?

Yes, you’re welcome to bring your pet directly to the Until We Meet Again Pet Memorial Center, which is located in Surrey, BC. This option allows for a more personalized arrangement where you can spend more time with your pet after they have passed and ensures your direct involvement in the transportation process. To organize this, please contact Until We Meet Again in advance at 604-924-1160. They will be able to assist you in scheduling your visit and discussing any specific requirements you may have.

I would like to arrange for the burial of my pet. Is this possible?

Burial of pets that have been humanely euthanized by your veterinarian is not advised. The medication used for euthanasia is potentially fatal to wildlife and harmful to the environment. The medication can take several years to become benign once your pet is buried. Cremation deactivates the harmful medication immediately.
If you wish to bury your pet, it is your responsibility to check with your local municipality for up-to-date regulations on burial for euthanized pets. Please ensure that you follow these regulations. Pets can only be buried on private property that you own or have permission to use. If you are interested in arranging for the burial of your pet, please let us know in advance.

Where is your service area?

Lifting Stars Veterinary Homecare is based in Vancouver, BC, and serves clients in Greater Vancouver. Service areas include North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Richmond, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, and Surrey.

How much does it cost and how do I pay?

Humane Euthanasia appointments usually require about one hour and include a house call, a consultation with the veterinarian, the humane euthanasia procedure, and the cremation fee. The fee does increase for larger-sized pets and for clients living further away from central Vancouver. For a detailed estimate of our services, please call or email us for further information.

Contactless payment by e-transfer is preferred and can be emailed to If needed, we can also take personal cheques (discuss details with the veterinarian), credit cards ($15 processing fee will be applied), or cash (exact change is required).

Do you have a cancellation policy?

Yes. We ask for a minimum of 24 hours notice for cancelling or rescheduling appointments. There is a $157.50 (includes GST) cancellation fee for any appointments that are cancelled or rescheduled outside of this window. If you have further questions, please contact us for more information.