End of Life Care for Pets FAQ
Is Hospice Care the Right Course for My Pet?
Although hospice care is a growing area of veterinary medicine, we need to be very careful not to prolong the suffering of pets who are in pain or experiencing poor quality of life. It is very difficult to face losing a pet, but our choices must not be clouded by fear of the grief we will experience.
If you are considering hospice care, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I have a local veterinarian whose expertise includes the most advanced techniques in pain management, alternative treatments, oxygen and hydration?
- Do I have a veterinarian available 24 hours a day to provide emergency euthanasia if my pet’s suffering gets out of control, such as the sudden onset of seizures?
- Do I have adequate resources to provide constant care for my pet, even when I am out of the house?
- Will hospice home care for my pet seriously disrupt my regular family and work obligations?
What Role Do I Play in My Pet's Hospice Care?
Hospice care requires an active commitment from pet parents, who work with their veterinary team to make sure their pet’s life ends comfortably. Your pet will require your constant supervision-from assessing his condition to pain management or, if necessary, making the final decision to opt for euthanasia.
If you decide pet hospice care is the right course for you and your pet, you will become your pet’s primary nurse and caregiver, as well as the link between your pet and the veterinary team.
How Is Pet Hospice Different from Human Hospice Care?
Human hospice care is available to people who have accepted the fact that they are terminally ill and want to stop further medical treatment aimed at a cure. Hospice care allows a person to be relieved of pain in a more comfortable and less expensive setting than a hospital.
Human patients and their families who opt for hospice care have a more developed support system than pet parents. When a pet parent chooses hospice care but cannot care for his pet at home, there are few places that will board and nurse the animal. It may also be more difficult to find a local veterinarian who is an expert in pet hospice care.