Hospice care for companion animals is very similar to hospice care for humans. It gives us time to adjust to the idea of saying goodbye, make necessary preparations, and perhaps do some final things together that make you both happy.
As with humans, hospice is an acceptance that:
- The patient is not going to get better
- They realistically have only a short time left
- And it's time to keep them as comfortable and happy as possible
Hospice generally involves a team of providers to care for the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of your pet.
Professionals that may provide a service relevant to your pet's hospice care:
- Your veterinarian
- Animal massage therapist
- Animal communicator
- In-home pet sitter
- And even your groomer or photographer
Together, you will learn about your pet's individual circumstances and the best ways to provide comfort and a high quality of life before they pass. This team can help guide you through decision-making, and support you in your efforts.
Hospice care generally happens in the comfort of your home, where you can help manage your pet's pain, keep an eye on their eating and drinking habits, and provide a sense of normalcy.
If you are an active part of their day-to-day lives, you will more easily see when behaviors or attitudes change, and with help from your team of providers, be more prepared to make informed decisions when the time comes.
Recommendations from family or friends, who have been through this process, are a great way to find trusted providers for your pet hospice care. Talk to your vet, your groomer, your photographer, as they likely have a network of colleagues they can refer to you.
An online search for "pet hospice" in your city should yield some options as well.