Dealing with the impending loss of your pet can be very difficult. Most pet parents go through anxious moments when their furry family member is approaching their final moments. Has your pet been diagnosed with a terminal illness, or are they in their golden years? You should consider the best way to reduce distress or discomfort for you and your pet. Learn more about end-of-life care for your pet and what to expect.
The first thing to consider when your pet’s life is drawing to a close is whether they are in pain. Remember, your pet may not show outward signs of suffering, such as crying or whimpering. Your pet may continue to perform its daily routine while in pain.
Learn how to identify behavioral and physiological signs of distress or pain. Look out for reluctance to move or play, reclusiveness, gasping for breath, food pickiness, and excessive panting.
Caring for your pet during the final weeks or days involves ensuring they are not in pain or distress. Consult your vet to make sure there are no underlying health issues that require treatment.
Your pet may spend most of their time lying down, so ensure the bed is well-cushioned and comfortable. It will help prevent pressure sores. Check frequently to ensure the beddings are not wet or soiled. Surround your pet with comfort items or favorite toys.
If your pet has a terminal or incurable disease, consider pet hospice or palliative care. The care can make your pet’s final days or weeks more comfortable. Your pet can access dietary strategies, pain medications, constant supervision, and human interaction. Hospice care works on the principle that death can be dignified. When choosing care, ensure you are not prolonging the suffering of a pet experiencing poor quality of life.
Euthanasia ensures your pet will not continue to suffer. It offers a painless and peaceful end for ailing pets. Your veterinarian has relevant training to ensure your pet experiences a gentle and humane death.
The vet will inject the pet with a sedative and special medication to induce death. The pet will be unaware of the end of life during the procedure, which takes several seconds. The veterinarian will offer advice on the best time to euthanize your pet.
Observing your pet’s behavior can help you determine if they are comfortable. It helps keep an accurate record of their daily activities. If you determine their moments of discomfort are increasing and outweigh the moments of pleasure, consider your options.
The goal of end-of-life care is to minimize suffering. Your vet can guide you if you decide to keep your pet at home, euthanize it, or get palliative care. Each case is different, and you should choose what is best for your situation.
Feeling grief from the loss of your pet is normal. Determine how you want to deal with the remains before the end comes. Most people find that memorializing their pet can help bring closure.
For more on end-of-life care for your pet, visit The Pets Place Animal Hospital at our Riverside, California office. Call (951) 684-2181 to schedule an appointment today.