What Is Pet Hospice? And How Do I Know If It’s Time To Put My Pet Into Hospice Care?

Traditionally speaking, most people assume that hospice care is for humans that have a life limiting illness or someone that is towards the end of their life and needs 24hr care. That being said, this was the case until a few years ago, when people began using hospice care for their pets, and now this is an increasing trend that pet owners are choosing for various reasons. However, many still don’t even know about pet hospice and when to use them. Therefore, in this article today, we will be discussing what pet hospice is and when to know the right time to put your pet into hospice care, so read on to learn more.

What Is Pet Hospice?

A pet hospice is not unlike a human hospice, it’s a place where your pet will be safe and stress free, either in his final days, or during a long term illness like cancer. The idea of a pet hospice is to have the best possible conditions for your pet, and for him to live out his last days as comfortable as possible, and as pain free as possible. Keep in mind, that pet owners cannot always deal with the idea that their pet is going to die, or that he has a long term illness that he won’t recover from.

This is understandable because it’s just like finding out that a family member has an irreversible illness, like cancer, and knowing that a loved one won’t be with us for much longer is a very difficult situation for everyone. Our pets are the same, because they are a family member, they may have been with us for 15 years or more, and to find out we are going to lose our best friend, a close family member who we dearly love, can create a huge mixture of feeling and emotions that can be hard to deal with. Therefore, speaking with your vet about a pet hospice may help in this type of situation, even if it’s just to give you time to work out some decisions during this difficult time.

How Do I Know It’s Time To Put My Pet Into Hospice Care?

This is a difficult question to answer because each situation is different, and there are many scenarios that may or may not fit into your life. With that being said, many pet owners that have had some bad news, like for instance, that your dog may have been diagnosed with an incurable cancer, might very well be one of those scenarios that you might now be faced with. Moreover, you can’t just make a rash decision, you need time to think about what to do, and you need to talk to someone to help you decide, this may be an ideal time to consider pet hospice care, at least until you can decide what’s best for your pet.

Euthanasia used to be the only choice in this type of situation, but more and more pet owners are realizing that their pet can live out their days in relative comfort, and they can make the most of those last days or weeks. Moreover, pet hospice centers have a wide range of programs designed to take the best care of your pet during these difficult times, and most will have educational and emotional help and support for the pet owner too. Furthermore, pet hospice can also provide pain relief, physical comfort, physical therapy, massage, as well as nutritional and dietary therapy for your pet, and you can be involved with this as much or as little as you like. In addition, the staff are there to put your mind at ease as well as take care of your pet, so do not feel uncomfortable asking them what you would like for your pet to receive in their final days while in the care of the Hospice facilities.

What Services Can I Expect From A Pet Hospice?

Although we have touched on a few of the things that a pet hospice provides, each hospice has it’s own set of services, but if you decide to use a pet hospice, be sure to visit them first to find out exactly what their services include. In addition, ask as many questions as you like, you’re obviously very worried and concerned about your best friend and want to be sure he will be getting the best treatment possible, and the staff should be sensitive, friendly, and able to answer any and all questions you have. Having said that, read on so you can look out for some or all of the services that we list to give you some idea of what to look for in a pet hospice.

Pain management should be one of the top things on the list to check in a pet hospice service, because many pets either at the end of their natural life, or with an incurable illness will probably be in a certain amount of pain, so it’s very important that this pain is properly managed to make him as comfortable as possible. Other services that a pet hospice should be able to provide are administration of medication, whether it be oral or injection, fluid therapy as well as diet and nutrition therapy. Moreover, there should be wound care, mental stimulation, and a stress free environment. And most importantly, the staff should be able to educate the pet owner and family on the medications for their pet, and how to cope with this difficult time, especially if the hospice care is going to be at home.
With that being said, there should also be a certain amount of education regarding how to assess the patient’s comfort level and his quality of life, as well as talking about the realistic expectations for the remaining lifetime of the patient and grief support. Moreover, physical comfort for the patient and emotional comfort for the family should be the top priorities in a pet hospice service. However, you should only consider this after talking with your vet, because he will be the one to recommend a good hospice service and he will also be able to discuss the various options for you and your pet too. When you are given bad news about your pet, you need time to decide exactly what to do, with the wave of emotions that come with the bad news, comes the possibility of making rash decisions, so a hospice can allow you to take some time to prepare, think about what you really want to do, and then plan accordingly.

Most hospice care is done at home, so he is surrounded by loved ones in his time of need, and this will show him that you are there for him just as he’s been there for you in all the previous years. In addition, choosing pet hospice care can give you the time you need to make decisions, take the time to say goodbye to your best friend, and plan for his passing in a way that may be easier to deal with than a sudden choice to euthanize. Finally, if you want to spend more time with your pet during his final days, and have the time and resources to support comfort care, then talk with your vet about hospice care, because the most important thing to do is what’s best for your pet, and you can’t just make that decision on your own, sometimes you do need a little help, so do not be afraid to ask for it should you be placed in this kind of situation.

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