End of Life Care for Pets FAQ (cont.)

What Role Do I Play in My Pet's Hospice Care?

Hospice care requires an active commitment from pet parents, who work with their veterinary team to make sure their pet's life ends comfortably. Your pet will require your constant supervision-from assessing his condition to pain management or, if necessary, making the final decision to opt for euthanasia.

If you decide pet hospice care is the right course for you and your pet, you will become your pet's primary nurse and caregiver, as well as the link between your pet and the veterinary team.

How Is Pet Hospice Different from Human Hospice Care?

Human hospice care is available to people who have accepted the fact that they are terminally ill and want to stop further medical treatment aimed at a cure. Hospice care allows a person to be relieved of pain in a more comfortable and less expensive setting than a hospital.

Human patients and their families who opt for hospice care have a more developed support system than pet parents. When a pet parent chooses hospice care but cannot care for his pet at home, there are few places that will board and nurse the animal. It may also be more difficult to find a local veterinarian who is an expert in pet hospice care.

How Can I Find a Veterinarian Who Practices Hospice Care?

First consult with your primary veterinarian and see if she recommends hospice care for your pet based on his specific needs. She may already practice some form of hospice care or may refer you to another vet who will guide you through a hospice program.