Pet hospice movement improving options for animal end-of-life care.

By: Molly Gorny | Date: Mon, September 29th, 2014

Pet Hospice
Dog's Life by Jenny Dowling CC-BY-2.0

Pet Hospice

Dog’s Life by Jenny Dowling

Lucky for us, our pets are living longer. According to the 2013 Banfield State of Pet Health Report, today’s cats have gained an average of one year of life over 2002 and dogs a half a year. That is good news for those of us who enjoy the companionship of these valuable members of the family. While we want to keep our pets as long as possible, the reality is that we cannot keep them forever.

Click here for information on dealing with grief over pet loss

With that in mind, there is a growing number of veterinarians offering hospice care for pets.

Around the country, a growing number of veterinarians are offering hospice care, and marketing it as a way to give cats and dogs — and their owners — a less anxious, more comfortable passing.

The approach, in the spirit of the human variety, entails ceasing aggressive medical treatment and giving pain and even anti-anxiety drugs. Unlike in hospice care for humans, euthanasia is an option — and in fact, is a big part of this end-of-life turn. When it’s time, the vet performs it in the living room, bedroom or wherever the family feels comfortable.

Read the full story: All dogs may go to heaven. These days, some go to hospice.

The American Veterinary Medical Association now offers guidelines for animal hospice care and the International Association of Animal Hospice and Palliative Care, a nonprofit which publishes guidelines for for offering end-of-life services for pets currently lists more than 150 providers in the US and Canada. No doubt this number will continue to grow as pet owners continue to look for alternatives for caring for their aging animals.

Visit the IAAHPC website.

Visit the AVMA Guidelines page.

Visit the ASPCA End-of-Life Care page.

Read more about pet hospice in the news: