The Part of Pet Ownership No One Wants to Talk About: End of Life Pet Care
When you look at your beloved family pet, the last thing you want to think about is his or her last days with you. While no one wants to think about end of life pet care, chances are that you will outlive your four-legged friend and it something you will need to address.
End of Life Pet Care
Like us, pets often need more and more care and attention as they age. Those who are near the end of their life often need extra special love and care.
It is our duty as responsible pet parents to make sure our aging pets receive what they need as they enter their final days. End of life pet care is aimed at improving a pet’s quality of life. It does not necessarily mean going to any lengths to treat or cure a disease or ailment, but rather providing appropriate medical and personal care to help your pet be as happy and comfortable as possible.
How to Help a Pet in the Twilight of Life
Every pet has different needs as he or she nears the end. We are happy to work with pet owners to design an end of life care program that specifically addresses each individual animal’s situation. End of life pet care may consist of:
- Management of pain/discomfort
- A nutritional program tailored to your pet’s condition
- Social interaction and mental stimulation
- Aiding in mobility
- Physical therapy
- Medications to manage disease symptoms
- Complementary or alternative care
Sometimes, when it is no longer possible to maintain an acceptable quality of life, difficult decisions must be made. Humane euthanasia is sometimes the best option for pets who are suffering, although it can be an extremely difficult decision for any pet owner to make.
Knowing When to Say Goodbye
Making the heart-wrenching call as to when to say goodbye is not easy for anyone. We must remember, though, that our pets trust us to make the best decision for them and to avoid hanging on for any reason but what is best for them.
We are always willing to guide pet owners in making that decision, but ultimately it is a choice that you must be at peace with. Some things to monitor that may help you to make a decision include:
- Whether your pet still enjoys his or her favorite activities
- If your pet is still eating and drinking
- Whether your pet is able to get around comfortably
- If your pet can eliminate without soiling him/herself
- Whether your pet is resting comfortably
- If your pet is in noticeable pain
Some people find it easiest to keep track on a calendar when their pet has a good day or bad day. This can help to objectively look at how your pet is doing.
Pets pass peacefully in their sleep far fewer times than we would like to think, and it is important for us as their advocates to be brave and make good decisions for them. End of life pet care is never the fun part of pet ownership, but it is important to be there for your loyal friend. When it is time, the Oakland Veterinary Referral Services team will be here to support you and your pet through it all.