Pet Owners 0n Hospice
Important steps for pet owners to consider when facing hospice
We believe the human-pet bond can be invaluable to pet owners who are on their end-of-life journey. We encourage you to find ways to integrate your pet into your or a loved one’s hospice care.
1. Consider choosing a nonprofit hospice that offers our program, Pet Peace of Mind.
We work with hospices across the country to integrate pets as part of their patients’ care through our Pet Peace of Mind program. Services may include dog walks, cleaning litter boxes, feedings, grooming services, or trips to the vet. Hospices also help the pet owner and his or her family establish a plan for the pet after the owner’s passing so that the pet does not end up at a shelter.
2. Set aside time to talk with family and friends to about how important your pet’s presence is to you as you go through hospice care.
Every person’s relationship with their pet is unique and some around you may have strong feelings about what is acceptable between humans and pets while others love dog kisses and cat rubs. Perhaps your pet sleeps beside you or at the foot of your bed. Maybe petting your dog or cat offers you comfort. Be clear with those who will be with you during your care about what helps you, comforts you, or feels natural.
3. Identify a family member or friend who can help care for the pet during hospice treatment.
Often times people feel helpless watching a loved one go through hospice care. Giving them a positive way to channel their emotions and help out may do as much for them as it does for you and your family.
4. Talk openly and explicitly about your wishes for your pet after you are gone.
Work with friends and family to identify the best new forever home that meets your pet’s needs.
5. Remember that the end-of-life journey can be challenging for the pet as well.
There are bound to be a lot more visitors to the home–some familiar and others not– and the relationship between the pet and owner is changing. Be patient with your pet and be sure that the designated pet care provider identified in step 2 offers the appropriate attention and exercise to help the pet. It is possible the pet will misbehave (for example having accidents in the house) due to stress. Be sure to consult your veterinarian if you have concerns.