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End-of-life care for pets

 by ben on 29 May 2019 |
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It’s never easy losing a pet, but dog and cat owners can feel some relief knowing they can ease their pets’ transitions.

Coping with the loss of a pet is one of the most difficult experiences any dog or cat owner can face. Whether he’s a senior pet in his golden years or a has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, your companion will benefit from the best end-of-life care you can provide. By easing his pain, discomfort or distress, you can provide your pet with a better quality of life during this difficult stage.

One of the first and most important things you can do when your dog or cat’s health is declining is to manage his pain. While people show outward signs of distresssuch astears, our pets are much subtler in their expressions of discomfort. Watch for symptoms such as panting or shortness of breath, social withdrawal, reluctance to move and loss of appetite as signs that your pet is feeling under the weather. Once you recognize he’s in pain, you should take your companion to the vet to diagnose and manage any health problems. This is especially important as an untreated illness can lead to unnecessary or rapid declines in your dog or cat’s health. After seeking your veterinarian’s guidance, you can work to minimize any discomfort or emotional stress your pet is experiencing. Surround him with comfort objects, such as his favorite toys and a warm blanket. Because ailing pets often experience limited mobility, provide your dog or cat with plenty of soft bedding. If he is struggling to move, assist your pet with getting to the bathroom regularly and clean up any messes as soon as you notice them. Pets experiencing specific symptoms can be helped in other ways, too, such as providing animals experiencing respiratory problems with a humidifier.

In some cases, your companion may experience unnecessary and prolonged suffering at the end of life. In these cases, you should work with your veterinarian to determine when euthanasia is the best option. While this is never an easy decision, putting your pet to sleep with your vet’s help can provide a painless and gentle end for animals that would otherwise experience unnecessary suffering. With your help recounting your pet’s daily activities, your veterinarian can provide advice on when your pet’s distress and pain is outweighing his ability to enjoy life.

Though it’s never easy losing a pet, you can provide invaluable comfort to your companion through end-of-life care. From treating illnesses following advice and medications given by your veterinarian to surrounding him with his favorite people and things, you can improve your pet’s quality of life during this difficult stage, which should provide some comfort to you, too.

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