Skip to Main Content Skip to Footer

Palliative Care

A difficult decision.

At Polk Street Animal Hospital, we believe in maintaining the quality of life for our patients over all else. The concept of veterinary palliative medicine is a philosophy of care in which a decision has been made to decline or withdraw the pursuit of curative therapy for a life-limiting illness to ensure a patient does not suffer unjustifiably. Therapy becomes more targeted toward keeping our patients comfortable. Palliative medicine is, by definition, care that is delivered as a dog or cat approaches his or her end of life. The most common circumstances that lead up to the decision to initiate palliative care include:

  • The diagnosis or progression of a life-limiting illness
  • The decision not to pursue curative therapy
  • The progression of disease symptoms, so that they interfere with the activities of daily living


Making the decision to humanely euthanize a pet is never easy. Our veterinarians will help guide your decision-making so that when the time comes you make a well-informed decision that you are comfortable with. The Castro  Animal Hospital provides a quiet room for you to say your 'goodbyes' & allows owners to be present with their pets during the whole process if they chose to be. Our Veterinarians will place an IV catheter and typically give a small sedative to our patients to make sure they are calm and relaxed prior to putting them to sleep. 

Private Cremation

We provide private cremation services with Pets Rest for owners who wish to keep the remains of their pets. This is billed directly to you from their business. Your pet will receive an individual cremation with their remains carefully packaged and returned to you in a decorative box. We will contact you directly when your dog or cat remains are available for pick-up, within approximately 7 to 10 business days. 

Communal Cremation

For those who do not wish to keep the remains of their pet, we provide communal cremation services through the City of San Francisco.

At Home Burial

Some owners may choose to take their pet home and bury them. Though The Castro Animal Hospital can release your pet's body to you please keep in mind that there are some legal restrictions regarding pet burial pertaining to land ownership, burial depth, and proximity to residences depending on your jurisdiction and the circumstances of your pet's death. Alternative burial options can be arranged through Pets Rest

We strongly recommend contacting your local public health official for more information prior to burying your pet. 

Finally, we understand that some people may choose to euthanize their pets at home. Unfortunately, The Castro Animal Hospital does not offer At Home Euthanasia services but recommends the following mobile veterinarians that can provide this service.

Please reach out to us at (415) 877-1555 if there’s anything we can do for you.

Pet Euthanasia

Polk Street Animal Hospital