End of Life Care for Your Pet
Palliative and Hospice Care
End-of-life care is a way to ensure that you have more time with your beloved pet while also preventing suffering. While the terms hospice and palliative care are often used interchangeably, pet hospice focuses more on managing the dying process, although aspects of palliative care are used to keep your pet comfortable.
Our vets can assist with palliative care and help you to keep your pet comfortable and pain-free as they near the end of their journey.
How do I know when it is the right time to say goodbye?
Knowing when it's time to say goodbye to your pet can be a painful and difficult decision. You share a close bond that has enabled you to understand one another completely. Putting the needs of your beloved companion ahead of your own grief, sadness and distress is the bravest thing you can do.
We understand that you need reassurance and compassion at this difficult time. Our vets will thoroughly examine your pet and discuss your options without any pressure on you to make a decision.
Signs that your pet may require a Quality of Life consultation include:
Stops eating and/or drinking
Hiding, choosing to be alone and apart
Changes in normal behavior
Obvious debilitating consequences of disease or extreme age
Unable to do favorite things (chase a ball, play with the other pets, groom fastidiously, jump to high perches, etc.)
Evidence of pain that can’t be alleviated
Shame at house soiling from incontinence or incapacity
Euthanasia is a humane, and pain-free method of allowing your beloved companion to go quietly into a more peaceful place. This process allows you to spend their precious last moments with them surrounded by love and companionship.
At-Home vs. Vet Clinic
In recent years there has been a growing trend among pet owners to say their final goodbyes in the comfort and familiarity of their own homes. The strange smells and noises often associated with visits to the vet can be stressful for old or unwell pets and for their families.
In the case of emergencies and hospitalised patients this service is critical, however if time permits, more families are now choosing to say farewell to their pets in the comfort of their own homes.
Whether you choose to say your final goodbyes at home, or with us at the vet clinic, our caring and compassionate team members will be here to provide guidance and support when you need us.
To enable the euthanasia process to be as peaceful as possible, often the vet will recommend that a sedative injection is given first. This allows your pet to gently fall asleep and prevents any distress from the noise of clippers, or being held by anyone other than you for the euthanasia injection.
If your pet is to have a euthanasia injection into the leg, an intravenous cannula is often placed.
Before the vet gives the injection, they will usually ask you if you are ready so that you can hold your pet in the final moments while they slip away. This usually happens quickly - often in less than a minute. The injection is not painful and if your pet has been sedated in advance then they are usually not aware of anything.
Cremation and Aftercare
We treat all of our patients with the care and respect they would receive if they were our own pets. After your pet has passed peacefully, we will arrange for collection by your preferred pet cremations company. They will also be able to assist you with keepsakes such as urns, paw prints and fur cuttings.
As you make efforts to keep your pet comfortable during their final days, remember to also reach out for resources that provide care to yourself and your family during this difficult time.
If you would like more information about coping with pet loss, please speak to one of our caring vets or nurses today.