As much as we wish they could, our pets aren't going to live forever. Today, our Cave Creek vets discuss hospice and end-of-life care for pets.
Hospice Care for Pets
Cats live an average of 12-18 years, and dogs live an average of 10-13 years. Nearing the end of your pet's life (whether they are a senior pet or has a medical issue), hospice care could be necessary to keep your pet as comfortable as possible.
Hospice care is administered when the decision is made that there are either no more viable medical options or that further treatment is causing more suffering with little to no chance of recovery.
Hospice care is made to make this easier for both pets and their owners during a very difficult time.
When to Seek Hospice Care
This type of care is normally set aside for animals, those with medical conditions that are not treatable, those whose condition affects their quality in an extremely negative fashion, and those who are at the end of their lifespan.
What Does Hospice Care Include
Hospice care involves making your pet as comfortable as possible during the last stage of their life. This can include a comprehensive quality-of-life exam, prescribing medication and food for pain management, and finally offering humane euthanasia.
This is a hard issue to talk about due to the emotional weight of the topic. The choice is yours if you prefer to have your pet pass away naturally in the comfort of their own home or painlessly at your vet's office. Your vet team will do their best to accommodate your choice.
If you are choosing to make use of the painless method by taking your pet to your vet, you will need to make some decisions. The first decision is when to have the procedure done.
Your next decision is who will be in office when it happens. Some people want to be with their pets until the end and some people cannot handle that type of situation. There is no judgment for your level of comfort with the concept of death.
Sometimes if there are multiple pets in the house some owners find that it helps to bring their other pets so that they can sniff and understand that their friend has passed on.
After Your Pet Has Passed Away
Because this is an emotional time, we recommend planning for this step in advance. There are several options for what to do with your beloved pet's remains including burial, cremation, and aquamation. You may wish to have a memorial service for your beloved pet.
No matter what you choose to do, it is important that you have a support network to help you through the grieving process.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.