It may be a sudden onset, or more subtle changes over a longer period of time – as our pets near the end of their lives, there are signs to look out for and special care to give them the upmost love and comfort.
These signs may also overlap with other conditions, so always seek the advice of your vet if you have any concerns.
Your pet may not show the same interest in food as normal, or develop a pickier palate preferring certain types of food. Alternatively, with certain conditions, like a tumour, this may increase their appetite more than usual.
Support your pet by offering them nutritious food they enjoy, in a form they can manage, such as changing dry biscuits to wet food or smaller more frequent meals if needed. And ensure you can meet their demand for fresh food to keep them comfortable.
Animals often sense when they are not well or nearing the end of their lives and take greater solitude. Finding quiet, discrete places to sleep, instead of around the hustle and bustle of family life or other pets.
Help them by respecting their desire, making their quiet refuge comfortable and warm – for instance add their favourite blankets and toys or a warm hot water bottle for them to cosy up to. Allow them to be alone without disturbing them unreasonably, although it may feel like you want to stay in bedside vigil.
With old age or degenerative conditions, pets will sleep more often and be less interested in the activities and action they once enjoyed.
Once they have a place to keep warm and retire to, allow them their time to sleep and rest. Approaching them slowly and quietly when you want to endow them with your love.
In consultation with your vet, you may consider other options like palliative care, how to recognise a worsening condition and the possibility of euthanasia.
This is also the time to consider how you would like to say goodbye and whether you would like to honour your pet by having a ceremony, burial, scattering ashes or other possibilities.
If you need support, do not hesitate to reach out to our friendly team by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org