What is Pet Hospice?
Caring for Aging Dogs
End of Life Care Options for Your Pet
Pet Hospice or veterinary hospice is an alternative care plan for animals nearing the end of life. Hospice does not work on curing disease, instead the focus is on improving the quality of life at the end of the pet's life.
As with hospice for people, hospice for pets focuses on alleviating physical and emotional discomfort, providing pain control to diminish the emotional stresses of dying for pets. Pet hospices also provide comfort for pet owners.
With pets under the care of a pet hospice, according to the American Animal Hospital Association, "Pet owners have the option of stopping aggressive treatment and letting their pets end their life comfortably in the intimate, caring surroundings of their own home through hospice care."
Thus pets under pet hospice and their pet owners can experience a more intimate experience of the pet's final journey.
Read on to learn more about Pet Hospice.
I Died Today - The Last Day of a Beloved Pet
One recent hospice adventure about Dukey's last day went viral in the photography and diary post, "I Died Today."
This photographic narrative is a stunning example of how a family can care for a pet in their final days and final moments. It is also an amazing tribute to the final day of a beloved pet.
Dukey's Last Day - Video
A Dog Deserves a Dignified Death
Duke’s life can teach us how to be better people for our dogs.
Because a dog deserves a kind and dignified death, just as much as they deserve every chance at life that we can give them.
Only this way can we even begin to be worthy of such canine loyalty, devotion, and love.
I Died Today - Beautiful Last Day for Dying Dog
- I Died Today. | Robyn Arouty Photography
Photographs and diary of Dukey's last amazing day.
- "I died today": Photos of dog's last day on earth go viral - National | Globalnews.ca
A Texas photographer's images of dog's last day on earth has pulled on the heart-strings of animal-lovers' on social media.
- Dog's Last Day Alive Inspires Owners to Share Their Stories of Losing Pets : People.com
When the Roberts family found out they'd have to put their dog Duke down, they decided to make his last day the best one yet
Paw in Hand
Pet Hospice Defined
The International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care are working to come up with guidelines, protocols and definitions that will be recognized by all of the various groups and organizations providing end of life care for pets.
The American Animal Hospital Association provides the following information about Pet Hospice on their website:
- Hospice is focused on giving pets a safe, caring, intimate end-of-life experience in their familiar environment. As such, it is not geared toward curing a pet's disease, but rather toward keeping the disease from causing the pet any discomfort....
- To prevent the anxiety of hospital visits and to allow pets and owners the maximum amount of time together, pet owners provide as much care as possible at home.
In addition pet owners are trained to care for their pets physical and emotional needs at home, keeping the pet out of the clinic or pet hospital setting.
The primary goal of pet hospice is to improve quality of life for the pet, at home.
Pet Hospice - Video Lecture
Pet Hospice Talk
Jennifer Lavender, DVM discussing details of hospice care for pets at a Pet Hospice Workshop in April 21, 2007 in this two video clips on the talk.
Facing Farewell - A Guide for Making End of Life Decisions for Your Pet
Facing Farewell - A Guide for Making End of Life Decisions for Your Pet was written by veterinarian Dr. Julie Reck, who created a mobile practice entirely devoted to compassionate home euthanasia of pets.
In Facing Farewell she answers many of the common questions surrounding end of life care for pets and helps pet owners time end of life decisions based specifically on your pet's medical condition.
Articles on Pet Hospice
- Pet hospice movement gaining momentum
Leaders in the animal hospice field have been busy in an attempt to codify and coalesce the palliative care movement by launching an affiliated association.
- Pet Hospice on WTVQ ABC36 News
When a pet is sick and dying, families are often faced with the question of whether to put their beloved animal down. But now, there's a growing trend towards allowing your pet to die at home, and with the support of hospice.
- Euthanasia Alternative: Pet Hospice | Care2 Healthy & Green Living
Up until just a few years ago, euthanasia was the only option for a terminally ill pet and the average veterinarian thought it better to get it over with sooner rather than later.
- Pet Hospice Care - Accommodations
Pet hospice care: information on providing palliative care until the animal dies, pet hospice before pet euthanasia.
- Veterinarian to discuss growing field of pet hospice at AVMA Convention
Dr. Tami Shearer has always had a passion for providing hospice care for her clients and patients, even before she realized she was actually providing that service.
- ASPCA - A guide to caring for your pet during his final days
Coping with the impending loss of a pet is one of the most difficult experiences a pet parent will face. Whether your furry friend is approaching his golden years or has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, it's important to calmly guide the end-o
- Pet Hospice - Caring Until the End: The Aging Pet: Pet Care
Pet Hospice: Caring Until the End. Caring for a dying companion animal at home requires veterinary assistance and other types of support.
- Hospice Care for Pets - What is Hospice Care for Pets?
Hospice Care for Pets is modeled after Human Hospice: Hospice care seeks to provide medical and palliative (pain relieving or comfort giving)care for animals, mostly pets near the end of their lives. It also includes holistic care for owners struggli
- Compassionate Veterinary Hospice . . . "Dancing to the End of the Song"
The Land of PureGold Foundation, a dog cancer treatment and research charity. Our puppy angels teach us how to Live Love & Laugh our way to better health & happiness. Learn how dignity in life needs to be coupled with dignity in death.
- Pet Hospice Care- Ending Life With Compassion
Pet owners have the option of stopping aggressive treatment and letting their pets end their life comfortably in the intimate, caring surroundings of their own home through hospice care.
Pet Hospice Care at Home
Pet-Mom, Louise Stepherson offers pet hospice care training to others. In Pet Hospice Care at Home she shows how pet parents can travel the spiritual journey toward end of their pet's life with unconditional love and acceptance.
Saying Good Bye to a Beloved Pet
Five Step Pet Hospice Plan
Dr. Tami Shearer, a veterinarian with over 25 years of pet hospice experience has developed hospice care protocols to help guide veterinarians through the care of terminally ill pets.
The five-step pet hospice plan from the American Veterinary Medical Association includes the following steps:
- Evaluation of the pet owners' needs, beliefs and goals for the pet.
- Education about the disease process.
- Development of a personalized plan for the pet and pet owner.
- Application of hospice or palliative care techniques.
- Emotional support during the care process and after the death of the pet.
Dr. Nancy Kay on Being a Medical Advocates for Your Pet
Dr. Nancy Kay, author of Speaking for Spot, encourages pet owners to be medical advocates. A veterinary specialist, Dr. Kay talks about "reasonable expectations" for veterinary care and covers hot topics such as vaccinations, complementary care, euthanasia options, hospice care and more.
Speaking for Spot
Dr. Nancy Kay authored, "Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life" as a guide to help pet owners be health advocates for their pets throughout their lives.
Organizations for Pet Hospice
The International Association for Animal Hospice and Palliative Care is dedicated to promoting knowledge about and developing guidelines for comfort-oriented care to companion animals as they approach the end of life.
- Pet Hospice - Colorado State University
The Mission of the CSU Pet Hospice Program is to provide compassionate end-of-life care for pets and emotional support and education for their families.
- Nikki Hospice Foundation
Promoting the right to make personal choices concerning a terminally ill companion animal, maximizing quality of life and informing the veterinary community and the public about the value of hospice care
Saying Goodbye to Buddy - Video
A short video clip on the children's book by Jennifer Walz and Jinna Russell.
Saying Goodbye to Buddy: When a Pet Dies
In Saying Goodbye to Buddy: When a Pet Dies was written by authors Jennifer Walz and Jinna Russell to assist parents and other caregivers to in helping children understand the loss of a beloved pet.
The story follows one family through the process of realizing their pet is ill and must be euthanized.
More Resources on Coping with Pet Loss
- How to Cope with the Death of a Pet
For many people experiencing the death of a pet is more than just having an animal die, it is like losing a cherished member of the family. On this lens I've pulled together many resources for those trying to cope with the death of a pet, resources.
- Remembering a Pet Who has Died
While growing up our family had four different mixed-breed dogs at different times. "The Boys" as we called them were Musti, Ruska, Laku and Ritsi; they were all at least part Labrador.
- How to Write a Pet Sympathy Card
One of the most supportive ways to help a friend dealing with the death of a pet is to send a sympathy card. A sympathy card for a pet not only honors the memory of the pet, but it also sends a message of sympathy and support to the pet owner.
Is pet hospice something you might consider for your family pet?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.
© 2011 Kirsti A. Dyer