Animal hospice care shares the same philosophy as hospice care for people…to provide palliative care for pets who are in the last stages of a terminal disease, or at the natural end of life. The goal of hospice care for pets is to provide comfort and pain relief for the patient and to support the emotional needs of the family as they prepare for their pet’s passing.
An animal hospice care program does not necessarily involve a physical place, it allows the pet to spend her final days in the comfort and familiarity of her own home, while pet parents are able to get emotional support while saying their final goodbyes to their beloved companion.
Hospice care may be a good option for pets with cancer, organ failure, cognitive dysfunction, failure to thrive, and old age. Pain control in pet hospice care is more than just drugs. Many programs offer such therapies as acupuncture and acupressure, chiropractic, massage, warm water therapy, Reiki, herbs, and essential oils.
Hospice care is about providing your pet with a “good death” and may or may not include euthanasia. Many animal hospice practitioners will also offer hospice-supported natural death in certain situations. Your hospice care provider can also help you with decisions about burial or cremation, and different ways you can memorialize your best friend.
The International Association of Animal Hospice and Palliative Care (IAAHPC) has an excellent website with lots of information for pet parents interested in learning more about hospice care and finding a hospice care provider in their area.