At-Home End-of-Life Care for Pets

Pets rely on their owners for virtually everything. This becomes increasingly true when the pet’s life is nearing the end. Most pet owners will agree that ensuring that their beloved pets' last days are peaceful is important. No one wants to act when in a crisis, and it is essential to prepare well for the final days. 


When you think about the kind of end-of-life care that you want for your pet, consider issues like where the procedure will be done and who will be present.


Choosing End-of-Life Care


After you establish that your pet’s death is close, you need to think about the end-of-life care you require. Your vet will help you determine the right time to consider euthanasia. You can decide on issues like palliative care for pain relief. The main goal is to ensure that your pet is comfortable during its final days. At this point, the treatment objective has changed from cure to comfort. While some owners choose to continue palliative or hospice care until natural death occurs, most people opt to euthanize. 


The Euthanasia Procedure


Most veterinarians will give the animal sedatives before euthanasia. The sedatives are usually injected and include drugs that relieve pain and anxiety. The drugs will allow the dog to rest comfortably while the intravenous catheter is put in place. The dog will not feel any pain and will not be aware of what follows. When everyone is present and ready, the euthanasia solution is injected into the intravenous catheter.


Present for the Procedure


When you choose to euthanize your pet, you need to determine who will be present. It helps to have at least one family member during the procedure. You can provide comfort and reassurance to your pet during the last moments of its life. However, it is also important to realize that the dog will likely be asleep in the last moments and will be unaware of your presence.


At Home End-of-Life Care


Veterinarians can perform euthanasia at home for those who choose so. The dog may feel more comfortable in familiar surroundings. While some people find it distressing to watch a pet dying, others prefer to be present in the end. The euthanasia solution shuts down brain activity, causing cardiopulmonary arrest. 


In some cases, the dog will take deep breaths after the injection and may lose bladder or bowel control. It may be distressing to watch the final moments, but you must remember that the dog is unaware of it all.


The Aftercare Process


You also need to determine the aftercare that you want for your pet. If you choose at-home end-of-life, you may decide to bury the dog on your property. You need to confirm your local regulations before you pick this option. At home, burial is not allowed in some locations. You need to consider the soil conditions on your property as well. Dogs will need to be buried at least two feet under the ground. This can be difficult to achieve if the ground is frozen or you live in a rocky area. Many pet owners choose to cremate their pets. 


Veterinarians will often tailor the euthanasia procedure based on their past experiences. It is a good idea to talk to the vet who will perform the procedure in advance to find out exactly what to expect.


Learn more about at-home end-of-life care for pets, contact Home Sweet Home mobile veterinary services at (972) 694-0920 to schedule a consultation.

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