End of Life Care

The aging process for any pet raises concerns about the care an animal receives near the end of his or her life. Depending on your dog or cat’s quality of life, you want to provide appropriate care until he or she passes on. At the Carlsbad Animal Hospital, we recognize the complicated emotions associated with end of life care and we provide the assistance you need to help your pet feel comfortable during the last days and weeks of his or her life.

End of life care refers to the treatments a veterinarian in our clinic provides to aging dogs and cats. Essentially, it is the treatment an animal needs to manage pain and discomfort throughout the aging process. It also refers to euthanasia we recommend when pets suffer from health conditions or pain.

A dog or cat owner does not always want to consider the loss of a beloved animal, but you also want to limit the amount of pain pets experience toward the end of their life. At Carlsbad Animal Hospital, we make recommendations based on the health of the animal and the specific situation. If necessary, we make a house call or provide hospice care for aging pets.

Evaluating Healthcare Options

Healthcare options for older pets depend on their situation and needs. Generally, we recommend regular visits to a veterinarian to keep track of any changes to a pet’s health and well-being. When we notice changes to an animal’s quality of life, we may suggest hospice care or euthanasia.

We usually recommend euthanasia when an animal’s quality of life rapidly declines from sicknesses and pain. Signs of pain in an older animal include:

  • Gasping for breath or heavy panting
  • Seeming reluctant to move
  • Changing eating habits, particularly a loss of appetite
  • Avoiding owners or other pets in the house
  • Difficulty moving
  • Making noises that signal pain, such as whining

Signs of pain and discomfort vary between animals and many older pets do not show obvious signs. Pay attention to any changes in behavior and discuss concerns with a veterinarian when you notice any obvious signs of pain or discomfort.

Helping a Pet Pass On

Deciding to help an animal pass on is a difficult decision for any pet owner. Generally, we recommend hospice care and euthanasia when pets show signs of severe pain or rapidly decline in health.

Helping pets pass on allows owners to remember a dog or cat when he or she was healthy and active. When pets pass away at your home or at a hospice, we offer private cremation services.

Visit Carlsbad Animal Hospital to Learn More

Aging is a natural process and pets age at a faster pace than humans, but they also bring happiness and joy into our lives. When you notice odd behavior from an aging animal, you can talk to a veterinarian at our Carlsbad clinic. For more details about treatments available for aging pets or to set up an appointment with a veterinarian, contact Carlsbad Animal Hospital today.