Many family members who provide this level of care-taking throughout the dying process describe it as more than a full-time job.

Yes, all pets will die on their own eventually without euthanasia. What most families really want to know when they ask this question is HOW will my pet die on his own and what will he experience? It is pretty rare for a pet to pass peacefully and suddenly in his sleep. More often, families see a decline in overall health and/or progression of a disease process in stages. For some this is a very quick progression (aggressive cancers, etc) and for some this could be years of a very gradual decline (arthritis in a large dog). The reason that many families elect euthanasia is that they do not have the time, resources, skills, or comfort level to provide high-level nursing care to a dying pet in order to prevent suffering. Death can be palliated with medications and treatments and symptoms can be addressed as they arise, but this can be a days to weeks to even months long process and can be difficult for some family members to watch or take part in. Many who provide this level of care-taking throughout the dying process describe it as more than a full-time job. Families with children, jobs, busy schedules, etc. assess their lives and realize they cannot devote their full attention to their dying pet for an extended period of time. For those families, euthanasia is a gift that can relieve their pet from suffering throughout the dying process. On the other hand, some families can devote all of their resources to their dying pet and do so. For those families, the ability to keep their pet pain and anxiety free while they pass on their own is a gift and a comfort. For anyone wanting to assist with a dying pet, we encourage establishing a relationship with a hospice and palliative care veterinarian to develop a pain management plan, discuss symptomatic treatment options, and comprehensive hygiene plan. It is also crucial for families in this scenario to have a plan in case an emergency scenario should develop during this process necessitating urgent time intervention.

Our goal at Hampton Roads Veterinary Hospice, In-Home Euthanasia, & Integrative Medicine is a peaceful, family-oriented end-of-life experience. Our doctors will work with your family to discuss your goals for your pet and help guide important decision-making with those goals in mind. We are here to help make this time a little bit easier for everyone. Veterinary hospice and palliative care is aimed at providing and maintaining comfort, quality of life, and optimizing the family-animal bond for as long as possible; we are here for you! 

Wondering how you will know when it’s time to euthanize? Read more about this common question.

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If you have a pet you think would benefit from a Hospice consultation or In-Home Euthanasia appointment, please contact Hampton Roads Veterinary Hospice, In-Home Euthanasia, and Integrative Medicine at 757-474-5968.