Many beloved pets live to old age, and older pets are more likely to develop illnesses or chronic conditions that will eventually take their life. Even younger dogs might develop an illness that has no cure, such as canine distemper. Some pets might have cancer that cannot be treated successfully. Others might have kidney or heart problems that will get worse over time.
Whatever condition your pet has, you must make provisions for their care knowing the end is near. If you are the primary caregiver for your pet, keep reading to learn what you need to know about making decisions for your pet’s future.
Your veterinarian may talk to you about whether or not you want to continue with any further medical procedures. In some cases, your vet might still be able to operate and medical intervention might extend the time your pet has with you.
As the pet’s owner, you will decide if you want your pet to continue to undergo any further treatments. Treatments can be stressful for pets, and when animals are in declining health, they may not recover as fully or as quickly from surgery. Treatments for terminal illness can also be expensive.
Be sure to weight the pros and cons of any treatment before continuing with care.
Many people might turn their attention from medical treatments to pain management, with the intention of making a pet as comfortable as possible as their health declines. Your veterinarian might prescribe pain medications to help keep pain at a manageable level. Never give your pet pain medication made for human use; they are very dangerous for animals.
You also might decide to do physical therapy treatments that help with pain, such as water therapy for a sick dog that also has arthritis. You can even use animal acupuncture or a massage as a way to help your dog get relief from pain.
Pets and pet owners alike can get comfort during this trying time by focusing on making each day as comfortable and happy as can be. If your dog loves to be outside, for example, but is no longer able to go for walks, you might still go to the park and let your dog rest on a blanket or pillow.
Give plenty of favorite foods as long as they are compatible with your pet's medications and treatments. Allow yourself to spend more quality time with your animal. If your dog or cat was a working animal, such as a guide dog or farm cat, reward them for a life of service with extra love from every member of the family.
Try not to leave your pet alone when they are ill. If you go to work, you might consider hiring someone to stay with your pet while you are gone, or you can talk to your vet about hospice care.
Hospice care is there for pets when the pet’s caregivers are not able to provide the daily attention necessary to keep a pet happy and comfortable. You can visit your pet who is in a veterinarian hospice program, but the burden of providing pain medications and tending to other special needs will not be on you. You can just focus on quality time if you decide hospice care is for you.
Some families might decide to put their pet to sleep through compassionate euthanasia. If a pet's condition causes depression, great pain, and costly treatments, euthanasia can provide relief for both animal and animal lover.
Deciding to let your pet go is a personal choice and a difficult one, but the option is something that pet owners should consider to save an animal from weeks or months of pain.
For more information, contact us at Rodney Parham Animal Clinic.