Most pet owners that have had the pleasure of spending many wonderful years with their best friend will tell you how sad, and hurtful it can be when they are diagnosed with a terminally ill condition. We all know that sooner, or later our pet is going to reach the end of his life, but we’d rather not think about it until it is upon us. However, there are things we can do to make our pet feel better in his last days. This article will discuss some of the things we can do to make our terminally ill pet feel a little more comfortable during those last days, and when to consider euthanasia as an option.
End of life care for our beloved pet doesn’t always mean pain and discomfort, because now there are many things we can do to ease their suffering, unlike many years ago when the only option would have been to euthanize him or her. With so much progress being made with medication’s now, pain can be managed much better, so our pet doesn’t need to suffer and feel the discomfort that pain brings. Moreover, this is the time we, as responsible pet owners, can show our pet just how much they are loved by taking extra special care of them in their time of need.
One of the first things we need to do with our elderly pet, or a pet that has been diagnosed with a terminal condition is to make sure we keep appointments with the vet, so that our pet can be monitored and catch signs of any deterioration. In addition, make sure your best friend is surrounded by his, or her favorite things, like a special toy, warm blanket, or maybe a favorite cushion he loves to snuggle into. Pets with very limited mobility can develop sores, so be sure to check this often, especially on the joints, and provide an extra soft pillow for them to lay on.
Many older pets can develop incontinence and lose bladder control, so you should check them often throughout the day for wetness or soiling. Having said that, you can help them when they need to defecate, or urinate by supporting them with a sling, or a alternatively you can use a towel that can support their belly to assist them. Moreover, making them as comfortable as possible in their final days will let them know that you still love them as much as when the day they came into your life, reassuring them by talking to them, and staying in sight as much as you can will help them too.
Another option for terminally ill, and senior dogs is pet hospice care, where your pets final days, or weeks are made much easier with the use of carefully managed pain medications. As well as pain management, hospice care will also include dietary changes, and strategies along with human interaction, allowing your pet to live their final days with dignity. Hospice care generally requires constant supervision, and interaction, with you as the primary carer, and nurse while working together with your vet to make your pets last days as comfortable and pain free as possible.
Euthanasia is clearly a last resort, and not everyone likes to think or talk about it, but in many cases it is wise to at least consider it, especially if your pet is suffering greatly, or pain medication isn’t working. Your vet is specifically trained to enable him to carry out this procedure in a humane manner providing your pet with a pain free, gentle way to go, just like he was falling asleep. Of course this decision lies solely on you as the owner, and sometimes keeping a diary of his final days can allow you to weigh up if it is time to make this decision.
Finally, when it comes to an older pet, or a terminally ill pet, decisions can be extremely hard to make due to the stress, worry and not wanting our best friend to leave us. In the end we have to think of our pet, and his level of suffering, and our job as a responsible pet parent should be to base our decision on what is best for him or her. It is hard to say goodbye to a loved one whether it be human or pet, and there is nothing anyone can say to alleviate the pain we feel when losing a loved one, but we will always have the memories to cherish forever, even after they are gone.