While we wish that our furry friends could be a part of our lives forever, one day the time may come when we need to say goodbye. Here, our Grass Valley vets talk about end-of-life care for pets and what your options are to help your companion pass peacefully.
Allowing Your Pet to Pass Naturally
As your beloved companion reaches the end of their full life, you will need to begin to think about how to manage their end-of-life care. While the most common option is in-office euthanasia, there are also the options of at-home euthanasia and also natural death.
When you allow a pet to experience natural death, they will pass in the comfort of their own home, without any veterinary care or intervention.
While this seems like a good, peaceful option for the last moments of your pet's life, there is more to it than that.
Through this process, you will begin to see their bodily functions shut down leading to decreased appetite, lethargy, difficulty breathing, loss of bladder control and loss of mobility. These can not only be uncomfortable for your pet but also difficult for a pet owner to watch.
When making your decision you should also think about how long it takes for a dog or cat to die naturally. There is no guaranteed timeframe for your pet to pass which means that they may suffer from the symptoms of their condition for an extended period prior to passing.
While natural death seems ideal, it can cause a great deal of unnecessary stress and pain, both physical for your pet and emotional for you. Euthanasia offers a quick and pain-free passing for your companion.
Making the Decision to Let Your Pet Pass Away at Home
Any decision you make about your pet's end-of-life care should be made in conjunction with your vet's recommendations and guidance. Speak with your vet about your hopes and concerns during this difficult time.
What to Consider With Natural Death
There are a few different factors that you should consider when deciding between euthanasia and natural death for your pet. These are:
Health & Prognosis of Your Pet
Discuss the prognosis and expectations for your pet and their health moving forward. This can help you to make a decision based on how much pain and discomfort your pet may experience through their final days.
Emotional Impact of an Animal Dying Naturally
You likely have a strong bond with your furry friend. Natural death can cause a great strain emotionally and mentally and if choosing this option you would need to be prepared for everything you will personally experience.
Natural death can be quite difficult to witness, especially when your heart is involved. Do you have support in place to help you through this time?
Financial Considerations for Natural Passing
There are no direct veterinary-related costs with natural passing but if any unexpected situation arises then you may find that your pet requires medical attention or pain medications which will incur fees.
Preparing for Your Pet's End-of-Life Care
Regardless of the end-of-life care you choose, you will want to take measures to ensure that your pet is as comfortable as possible. You can offer them their favorite things, such as toys, stuffed animals, blankets and bedding that is familiar to them. You may also want to turn on peaceful music to help them stay relaxed. You should try to reduce any loud or sudden noises or excessive stimulation.
Supportive Measures for a Peaceful Natural Death
When it comes time for your pet's passing you will need to prepare yourself for the emotional toll and grief that you will experience. It is important to seek out your support system when needed and allow yourself the time to grieve, knowing that whatever you are feeling is valid during this time.
Memorializing Your Pet
Saying goodbye to your pet is a very difficult decision. Although it may be the kindest choice you can make in your animal's final days if they are in pain or suffering, the process can still be heartbreaking.
You may consider memorializing your pet in a way that keeps them close to your heart. You may choose to hold a memorial service, create a living memorial with a tree or have an imprint of their paw print made, so you can keep a piece of them with you in your home.
Each pet is different, so do what feels right for you and your family to remember and honor your beloved companion.
Pet Hospice as an Alternative End-of-Life Option
Making a decision regarding end-of-life care can be one of the most difficult choices for a pet owner to make.
Whether your furry companion is in her golden years or has been diagnosed with an incurable or terminal illness, dealing with this impending loss can bring many emotions.
This is where pet hospice and end-of-life care from our vets in Grass Valley can help.
We will do everything we can to ensure your pet's final days or weeks are calm, comfortable, and as free of pain as possible. We offer quality-of-life exams, medication, and advice about pain management, and humane euthanasia.
End-of-Life Care at Grass Valley Veterinary Hospital
Hospice care begins when you decide as a pet owner to withdraw or decline the pursuit of curative therapy for illnesses that limit your animal's life. Hospice care focuses on making your pet's remaining time as comfortable as possible.
Our vets bring decades of skill and expertise in veterinary care to help you develop a compassionate end-of-life plan customized to your pet's needs.
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.