End of Life Care
The loss of a pet can be a challenging experience for pet parents. It doesn’t matter if your pet is in his final years or has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. You need to be calm and manage the end-of-life experience. You may choose to take care of your pet at home, under the guidance of a veterinarian, or you might decide to end your pet’s suffering by euthanasia.
Is your pet in pain
Cats and dogs may not display the usual signs of pain, such as whimpering or crying when they are in pain. Sometimes, an animal can continue to eat and drink despite pain or disorientation. Your pet may suffer from pain due to excessive panting, gasping for air, restlessness, reluctance, and food pickiness.
Care for an Older Pet
Your elderly pet’s pain and distress should be minimized.
Undiagnosed problems can lead to discomfort and rapid deterioration. Consult your veterinarian immediately.
You can surround her with favorite things like a blanket or squeaky toys.
Pressure sores are common in pets who have limited mobility. It’s essential to ensure your pet has a comfortable place to sleep with lots of cushioning.
Incontinence is a condition in which an older pet loses bladder control. Make sure you check your pet regularly for wetness and soiling. You can purchase a sling for your pet or wrap a towel under her body to help her urinate and defecate.
Pet Hospice Care
If your pet has a terminal illness, palliative care (or hospice care) is an option. The goal of using pain medication, diet strategies, and human interaction is to make your pet’s final days or week more enjoyable. Hospice is not a destination. It is a philosophy and personal choice based on the idea that death is part of life. Pet parents must be careful not to prolong suffering for pets in pain or who have a poor quality of life.
Participating veterinarians will show pet parents how to provide home care for their sick pets. Hospice care requires a commitment from pet parents and continuous supervision. They work closely with their veterinarian team to ensure their pet’s final days are comfortable. You will be your pet’s primary caregiver and nurse and the link between you and the veterinarian team if hospice care is the best course of action for you and your pet. Discuss your specific needs with your primary vet and ask her if hospice care is recommended for your pet.
Euthanasia is a peaceful and painless way to end a pet’s suffering. Your veterinarian is trained to give your pet a gentle and humane death. Your vet will administer a sedative to your pet and then a particular medication. The procedure is similar to general anesthesia and lasts about 10 to 20 seconds.
Your veterinarian is the best person to advise you on when the time is right to euthanize–information from medical tests is often more accurate than what a pet owner can observe. Pet owners often delay the moment of euthanasia in anticipation of grief. You can decide by keeping a detailed record of your pet’s daily activities and observing him. You should consider euthanizing your pet if you notice that his ability to enjoy life is being compromised by discomfort. Your main goal should always be to reduce your pet’s suffering if he is in pain.
What to do if your pet has died at home
You can get help from a veterinarian if your pet is in a vet’s care at the time of their death. If your pet passes away in your home, many options are available. You can remove the body from your home or memorialize your pet permanently in a unique way.
Depending on your decision, you may need to keep the body at home for a brief time. The body can be kept at room temperature for up to 24 hours. However, it is best to move the body as soon as possible.
It is best to place the wrapped animal in the refrigerator or freezer. However, if you are planning to have an autopsy (necropsy) to determine the cause of death, it is not recommended that the body be frozen. If you need an autopsy, you must call your veterinarian immediately.
If the animal is too large to put in a fridge or freezer, it should be placed on a concrete slab or cement floor. This will draw heat away from the carcass. In this case, do not wrap or cover the body. This will trap heat and prevent the body from cooling down.
You can keep the body wrapped in ice bags in the coldest part of your house, away from the sun. To prevent the body from getting wet, place it in a bag.
Pet Cremation & Burial
Pet owners often have their pets cremated. It is up to you to decide if your pet’s cremains will be kept as a memento. You must arrange for an individual (or private) cremation. This means that your pet will be cremated by you alone. Businesses, including home pickup/delivery of the remains, often offer individual cremation.
It may be permissible to bury an animal on one’s property, depending on the local laws. It is usually illegal to bury an animal in public places, such as parks. If you are looking for a place to bury your pet, but need to have your land, consider visiting a pet cemetery.
Many types of grief can be experienced after the death of a pet. Remembering your pet with others who loved them is possible. Family and friends can form a support network. If you are experiencing severe grief symptoms, you should consult your doctor to discuss your feelings and how to deal with them.