Canine Hospice and Palliative Care

It can be difficult to accept a recent diagnosis of a life-threatening or chronic illness in your dog. Even more challenging is deciding on the best care for your dog. Palliative and hospice care are two options that you can choose from when your dog is nearing the end of his life.

What is Dog Hospice?

In veterinary medicine, hospice care is similar to that of human medicine. The main goal of hospice care is to maintain a dog’s quality of life and comfort as it nears the end. Another focus of hospice care is to provide emotional support for the caregiver.

Dogs entering hospice care may be nearing the end of their lives due to illness or old age. When a dog’s life expectancy is limited, hospice care may be initiated. The hospice team for your dog will ensure their stay with you and your family are comfortable.

Your dog will receive medications to help minimize their symptoms and provide comfort. These medications are not intended to cure or treat the underlying condition. It is the same as when humans are receiving hospice care and receive morphine in order to relax them.

Specialists in hospice can help you set up an appointment, adjust your dog’s environment at home, and recommend medications. Hospice care often leads to euthanasia. Hospice care is designed to bring peace and comfort to your pet, as well as your family during their final days with your dog.

What is palliative care for dogs?

The palliative approach is similar to hospice, except that it includes both supportive and direct medical treatment. Any disease that has no cure can qualify for palliative treatment. The dog’s family and caregivers provide it at home.

Your vet will recommend that you schedule appointments with palliative or mobile veterinarians, depending on the condition of your dog. This care aims to reduce the severity of their illness with traditional and integrated treatments, in order to enhance their quality of daily life.

Which types of illnesses lead to palliative care or hospice?

It is important to note that the main differences between hospice and palliative treatment are whether or not the condition is serious enough to be life-threatening, as well as the fact that the life expectancy of your dog is reduced.

Palliative Care can be used to treat diseases such as kidney failure, cancer in its early stages, heart diseasediabetic diabetes, and arthritis.

Hospice care is provided to dogs once they have reached a stage of the disease in which medications are no longer effective. The focus shifts from the treatment of the disease to the comfort and relief of symptoms caused by the dog’s illness.

If a pet is diagnosed with cancer or has advanced heart disease or kidney failure, they may need hospice care.

What can you expect from a dog in palliative care or hospice?

Both hospice and palliative medicine have as their primary objective the management of pain. You can achieve this through medication, supplements, and home modifications. You’ll also want to ensure that they get enough mental stimulation and nutrition.

  • Ramps and Orthopedic beds are all great ways to make sure your dog is comfortable when moving around. A harness or sling may be needed to make it easier for your pet to move around.
  • Inflammation can be reduced by integrating treatments such as acupuncture and Massage.
  • You will receive treatment for any symptoms that are affecting your dog’s life negatively. These may include joint supplements, anti-nausea medications, and cough suppressants.
  • In palliative and hospice care, dogs often develop urinary incontinence or fecal odor incontinence. It is important that you clean any dirt on your dog’s coat. A mobile groomer can be beneficial for a dog with anxiety issues or mobility problems.
  • You may have to give your dog a prescription or bland diet or an appetite stimulator to get them to eat.
  • You may want to enrich your dog’s life for mental or physical reasons. Continue to provide stimulation as long as it’s enjoyable. It’s important to meet a pet’s physical requirements, but it is also crucial that they maintain their dignity and emotional well-being.

Do I Need Palliative or Hospice Care for My Dog?

It is not easy to decide what type of care you want for your dog at the end of its life. When deciding what type of end-of-life care your dog needs, there are a number of factors that you should consider. Treatment cost, side effects, the emotional and physical condition of your dog, as well as your own ability to care for them at home, are all factors that go into the equation.

It is important to plan for your dog’s final journey, regardless of the type of care they need.

When palliative measures are not working to improve the quality of their life, they will transition to hospice care. Hospice care aims to alleviate pain and prevent further suffering.

Pet Hospice or Euthanasia: Which is Better?

If your dog is suffering from a terminal illness or chronic disease, your veterinarian may recommend hospice care.

In general, hospice care may mean that your dog has only a few weeks or days left. Hospice care dogs can maintain their quality of life by making home modifications and taking the appropriate medication.

Hospice care is not the best option for your dog if their quality of life has been compromised. Euthanasia may be necessary before you are ready. It is not an easy choice to choose to let your pet go. Working closely with hospice or your primary veterinarian will help you determine when it is time to say goodbye.