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Pet Hospice: Why You Should Consider It

As much as we wish that our pets could live forever, unfortunately, there will come a time to say goodbye. In this post, our Ceres vets discuss hospice and end-of-life care for pets, why you should consider it, and why you should consider it.

Hospice Care for Pets

Cats live an average of 12-18 years, and dogs live an average of 10-13 years. Nearing the end of your pet's life (whether they are a senior pet or has a medical issue), hospice care aims to keep your pet comfortable in their final days.

Hospice care is administered when the decision is made that there are either no more viable medical options or that further treatment will only cause your pet to suffer longer. Although this will undoubtedly be a difficult time for you and your pet, hospice care is designed to make this step as easy as possible.

Why Hospice Care?

This type of care is normally set aside for pets with medical conditions that are not treatable, those whose condition affects their quality in an extremely negative fashion, and those who are at the end of their lifespan.

Although hospice care is typically associated with older pets, the sad reality is that hospice for a puppy or kitten can be necessary due to illness.

What Does Hospice Care Include

Hospice care involves making your pet as comfortable as possible during the last stage of their life. This can include a comprehensive quality-of-life exam, prescribing medication and food for pain management, and finally, offering humane euthanasia.


Euthanasia is a hard topic to discuss as no pet owner wants to think about having to make this decision. However, you do always have the choice of allowing your pet to pass away naturally in the comfort of their own home. You should keep in mind that allowing your pet to pass away naturally may mean they are going to be in pain or discomfort for days, weeks, or even months longer than they should have. Regardless of your decision, your vet team will do their best to accommodate your choice.

If you do choose euthanasia, you will have to decide when to let your dog go, as well as who will be in office when it happens. Some people want to be with their pets until the end, and some people cannot handle that type of situation, which is completely understandable. There is no judgment for your level of comfort with the concept of death.

If there are multiple pets in the house, some owners find that it helps to bring their other pets so that they can sniff and understand that their friend has passed on.

After Your Pet Has Passed Away

Because this is an emotional time, we recommend planning for this step in advance. There are several options for what to do with your beloved pet's remains including burial, cremation, and aquamation. You may wish to have a memorial service for your beloved pet.

No matter what you choose to do, it is important that you have a support network to help you through the grieving process.

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

Are you considering hospice care for your sick or elderly cat or dog? Contact our Ceres vets to learn more about how you can best accommodate your pet.

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