As much as we hate to say it, there will come a time when you have to say goodbye to your furry companion. During this difficult time, there are a few options for you and your companion. Today, our Sacramento vets discuss end-of-life care for pets and the alternative available options.

End-of-Life Care for Pets: Natural Passing & Other Options

Although it is something that no pet owner wants to think about, it is important to choose your pet's end-of-life care. The most common option is in-office euthanasia, however, some people prefer at-home euthanasia or natural death.

When you allow a pet to experience natural death, they will pass in the comfort of their own home, without the intervention of a veterinarian. This sounds pleasant in theory, but there are other factors to consider. As your pet's health declines, you will begin to see their bodily functions shut down leading to decreased appetite, lethargy, difficulty breathing, loss of bladder control, and loss of mobility. This can be very uncomfortable for your pet, but it can be also very difficult for a pet owner to watch and experience.

When making your decision, you should also think about how long it takes for a dog or cat to die naturally. For example, if you're wondering 'How long does it take for a dog to die naturally?', there is no guaranteed timeframe. Your cat or dog could be suffering and declining for days, weeks, or even months, even if you think they're close to the end.

Deciding on End-of-life Care for Your Pet

Any decision you make about your pet's end-of-life care should be run by your vet, as they may have advice or recommendations based on your pet's health. Speak with your vet about your hopes and concerns during this difficult time. 

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Natural Death for Your Pet

If you are deciding between euthanasia and natural death for your pet, keep in mind the following factors:

The Health of Your Pet & Prognosis

Discuss the prognosis and expectations for your pet moving forward. Although you may want a natural pet passing, you may change your mind if you realize the pain and discomfort your pet is going to be in. And again, you can never be sure how long this will go on for.

The Emotions Involved With a Companion Animal Dying Naturally

You likely have a strong bond with your furry friend. Natural death can cause a great strain emotionally and mentally and if choosing this option you would need to be prepared for everything you will personally experience.

Natural death can be quite difficult to witness, especially when your heart is involved. Do you have support in place to help you through this time?

Preparing for Your Pet's End-of-Life Care

No matter what decision you come to, the main goal is to keep you pet as happy and comfortable as you can. Surround them with their favorite toys, stuffed animals, blankets etc. to help them feel warm inside. Try to keep them calm and relaxed by reducing loud noises and playing soft, calming music.

Supportive Measures for a Peaceful Natural Death

When it comes time for your pet's passing, there's no great way to prepare for the grief and sadness you're going to feel. Be sure to seek support if you think you need it. It may not feel like something you want to do, but it can really help with coming to terms with the loss of your beloved companion.

Memorializing Your Pet

We know that saying goodbye to a pet is one of the most difficult decisions to make. Although it may be the kindest choice you can make in your animal's final days if they are in pain or suffering, the process can still be heartbreaking.

Afterward, we partner with Heaven’s Pets, a nearby business that offers pet cremation services, complimentary grief resources, options for urns, keepsakes, and permanent memorialization. Please ask about this service if you are interested.

How Pet Hospice Can Help Your Pet Pass Comfortably

Whether your furry companion is in their golden years or has been diagnosed with an incurable or terminal illness, dealing with this impending loss can summon many emotions. This is where pet hospice and end-of-life care from our vets at South Sacramento Pet Hospital can help.

We will do everything possible to ensure your pet's final days or weeks are calm, comfortable, and as pain-free as possible. We offer quality-of-life exams, medication, and advice about pain management, and humane euthanasia.

Pet End of Life Care & Euthanasia at South Sacramento Pet Hospital

Hospice care begins when you decide to stop or reduce the veterinary care your pet is receiving. Hospice care means you're ready to allow your pet to pass, and it is now time to focus on making your pet's remaining time as comfortable as possible.

Our vets bring decades of expertise in veterinary care to help you develop a compassionate end-of-life plan that best suits your pet's needs.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

We offer end-of-life care for cats and dogs to help them move on comfortably. Contact our compassionate Sacramento veterinary team to schedule a consultation.