When the choice is made regarding hospice for dogs, it’s important to understand you aren’t giving up. You’re focusing on their comfort through the difficult parts of their cancer journey. If you notice your dog’s quality of life decreasing or are noticing signs of decompensation, hospice could be a good route to help both you and your dog feel more at ease.
Hospice Doesn’t Mean You’re Giving Up
Contrary to popular belief, hospice doesn’t mean you’re giving up on your dog. Although making the decision is difficult, it simply means you’re noticing some decreases in quality of life and want to reduce pain, increase comfort, and have a little help in doing so.
The words “there’s nothing else we can do” don’t necessarily imply that euthanasia is your only option. Hospice care for your dog near the end of their life is a unique approach to the demands that your dog has at that time. In particular, this method focuses on treating symptoms and ensuring that they remain happy for the longest period of time possible.
Keep in mind, that hospice isn’t solely for end-of-life care. Dogs can actually live longer in some cases with hospice than without. And, dogs can be in hospice for any amount of time you wish. They aren’t limited.
Once of the benefits of hospice too, is that when eventually their time does come to an end, you are able to spend their final moments in the comfort of your own home. You can sit with your dog in their favorite spot of the house while they slip away peacefully. This is not only more comfortable for you, but also more comfortable to your dog.
Comfort over Longevity
If you are concerned about the quality of life, and no longer want your main focus to be on treatment, this is also a good time to introduce hospice. At that time, comfort and happiness are put above how much time is left.
Of course, this is something you will need to consider and some may take longer than others to make the decision. If you look at your dog and she looks exhausted, put yourself in her shoes so to speak. When you’re not feeling well, do you look for some sort of remedy to help you? What if you aren’t feeling well for a few days or even a few weeks? How does that affect your quality of life during that time?
We don’t want to push you in one direction or another. You know what’s best for you and your dog. Make your decision based on what you and your dog would be most comfortable with.
Consult with Your Veterinary Oncologist
If you feel hospice care is the best option for you and your dog, you will take on the role of caregiver, in addition to being the liaison between your dog and the veterinary team.
Consult with your veterinary oncologist or veterinarian to determine whether or not hospice care for your dog is a good idea. If you disagree with them, obtain a second opinion. Don’t forget your beliefs matter too and be sure to ask as many questions as you can think of for clarity.
Euthanasia is a painless and peaceful way to put an end to the suffering of a dog that might otherwise continue to suffer. Your veterinarian has received specialized training in providing a peaceful and gentle death for your dog.
During the procedure, your veterinarian will administer a sedative to your dog, followed by an injection of a specific drug. The dog has no clue they are nearing the end of their life; the technique is similar to that of having general anesthesia for a surgical procedure.
To read more about hospice, visit Lap of Love here.
Palliative Care and Hospice for Terminally Ill Dogs – American Kennel Club
Veterinary Hospice | Lap of Love