The passing away of a pet is grueling, especially if you have to make the decision to euthanize your beloved dog. Nowadays there are more options with pet hospice and the availability of veterinarians who perform in-home euthanasia.
Across the country, more and more veterinarians are marketing pet hospice care as a means for pet owners and their animals to have a more peaceful passing in the security of their homes. The idea is the same as with humans. No life-saving heroic measures are taken, but you beloved dog is made comfortable with pain medication and even anti-anxiety drugs. This gives owners time to say goodbye and to grieve in private and for animals to be surrounded by family as their life ends.
The International Association of Animal Hospice and Palliative Care (IAAHPC), a group started in 2009, is dedicated to providing comfort-oriented care to companion animals as they approach the end of life. Animal hospice is not new. According to the IAAHPC, animal hospice is defined as "care for animals, focused on the patients and family's needs; on living life as fully as possible until the time of death [with or without intervention]; and on attaining a degree of preparation for death."
Lap of Love is another organization devoted to pet hospice care and in-home euthanasia. They have 68 vet partners in 18 states and enable pet owners to choose a favorite place in their home or a favorite garden spot for end-of-life-care. Acknowledging that saying goodbye to your pet is one of the most difficult decisions you will ever have to make, they provide sedation, a memorial keepsake (clay paw print made at your home), and transportation for cremation. A hospice or euthanasia visit from Lap of Love generally costs $200 or $250.
Deciding when the right time to euthanize your pet is heartbreaking, but it depends on the quality of life your pet has. While some dogs die suddenly without warning, other dogs give signs that their death is near. Although your veterinarian will have the best recommendation as to your pets condition, here are some symptoms that may show he/she is in distress:
- Complete loss of appetite
- Extreme fatigue
- Total loss of mobility or lack of coordination
- Loss of happiness - no longer enjoys food and toys
- Mental confusion
Most of us share an intense bond with our pets, so their passing brings on intense feelings of grief and devastation. Whatever you can do to make it easier for you, your pet and your surviving pet to ease the pain is the route you should take.