As pet parents ourselves, the Harmony Veterinary Center staff understand the decisions and emotions you may be facing as your pet ages. We treat end of life care with the utmost compassion and respect. We are here to help you assess your best friend’s quality of life and assist you in knowing when to move from general geriatric care to hospice care or if euthanasia is warranted. We emphasize the human-animal bond each step of the way, knowing you have spent a life time together.
End-of-life hospice care provides palliative treatment for pets with terminal illnesses or debilitation associated with advanced age. The goal of treatment is not to preserve the length of life but to preserve or improve the quality of life for both you and your pet and to ensure your pet is pain-free every step of the way.
We are here to guide you through this stage of life with your pet, providing compassion, answers, support, or a hug if that is what is needed.
Euthanasia: Evaluating when is the Right Time
While many pets live long, full lives, others become seriously ill, get injured or experience a significant loss of quality of life as they grow older. Knowing when to take the compassionate act of euthanizing your dog or cat can be challenging. Here are some suggestions on what to look for, and remember, you don’t have to do it alone – we are always here to help you.
- Is your pet experiencing chronic pain that can no longer be controlled with pain medication or alternative healing modalities?
- Does your pet frequently vomit or have diarrhea leading to dehydration and weight loss?
- Has your pet stopped eating or only eats if he are she is force fed?
- Has your pet become incontinent, frequently soiling himself?
- Has your pet lost interest in his or her favorite things in life, such as going for walks, eating, playing with toys, interacting with favorite family members?
- Is your pet unable to stand on her own or falls down when she tries to walk?
- Does your pet have chronic labored breathing or coughing?
Before Saying Goodbye
The relationship you have with your pet is as unique as you are. There are no right or wrong ways to honor this relationship, the life of your best friend or the life you have had together. Generally, it is a good idea to:
- Decide on where your final goodbyes will be held ahead of time. Many of our clients prefer to come to our facility, others prefer their pet’s passing to be at home.
- Make sure that all key family members have time to spend with your pet before the procedure takes place.
- Consider who you would like to be present at the time of euthanasia.
- If you have children, talk to them about what is going to happen and consider if they are of the right age and emotional maturity to be present at the moment of death.
- Decide how you would like your pet’s body cared for.
- Give yourself time to grieve, and remember the joy you shared with your pet.
Each person we have met honors the life of their pet differently. Some take time off from work, others build a memory book, some have even traveled to India and place their loved ones remains in a holy river. When losing a pet, you should do what feels right to you and your family.