It can be difficult to take care of a pet with a terminal illness — and that difficulty is compounded if you are disabled and have a Service Dog. What are some things you should keep in mind if you have a terminally ill pet?
Terminal illness is heartbreaking for you as a pet owner. Illness and its symptoms can vary, and for some pets, a terminal disease may be something they live with for many months or years. Particularly if the illness is degenerative, it can make life very difficult for both you and your pet. How can you, as the pet owner, help your pet as much as possible? Here are a few things you can do to make life a little easier for your terminally ill pet.
Always Stay Up to Date With All Medications and Other Regimens
One of the most important and caring things you can do is to stay up to date with your pet’s medications and any other regimens your veterinarian has prescribed. These are the things that will keep your pet feeling more comfortable in the last chapter of their life. If your veterinarian has prescribed something specific for your pet, make sure you stay up to date with it. Also, if you notice any changes in your pet’s health or behavior you should check with your vet.
Avoid Stressing Your Pet Out Unduly
Stress can have serious negative health impacts for both humans and pets, and if your pet has a terminal condition, you need to be as careful as possible to avoid stressing your pet out and putting extra difficulties on your pet’s health. Stressing your pet out is something you want to avoid if at all possible. This may mean reducing stressors in your home in general, like giving your pet a quiet space in the house that’s just for them, like a special bed or area.
Look into Diet and Exercise Options
You may need to consider special diet and exercise options for your pet. Feeding schedules may need to be adjusted to accommodate medication requirements. Your pet may benefit from some exercise or stimulation to encourage movement. Talk to your veterinarian about what you can do to best manage your pet’s diet and food requirements, and also ask what kinds of exercise might be best for your pet.
Keep Track of All Symptoms and Concerns
It’s important that you’re always keeping track of the symptoms that pop up for your terminally ill pet. These symptoms may indicate that your pet is reaching the end of their life or that they’re experiencing something new that might require other treatment options. Keeping track of the specific symptoms and issues your pet is having will help your veterinarian manage them and keep your pet as comfortable as possible.
If your pet’s behavior, mobility or appetite change from what you know as normal, book a pet telehealth appointment to help answer any questions or concerns you may have.
Loving Your Pet to Their Last Days
Your pet is a family member. Caring for them as they near end of life can be very emotional. Working with your vet, you will be able to care for your pet and manage their terminal illness and give them the best possible love and care that you can. If euthanasia is a consideration, connect with your veterinarian to discuss the options and help you with your decision. There are significant advantages to having plans in place before having to make that difficult decision.
Cindy Sanford March 31, 2022
I was actually expecting more than the bare bones advice about caring for a terminally ill pet. Disappointed.