Hospice Care for Pets

Last Modified: September 17, 2012


Do they have hospice for dogs? He is older and I don't want to put him through chemotherapy, but I also don't want him to be in pain. What can I expect it to cost to keep him comfortable?

Christina Bach, Oncology Social Worker at Penn Medicine, responds:

Veterinary Hospice is also relatively new and still developing. It is not offered in many areas, but your veterinarian should be able to help you make decisions about what kinds of treatment and palliative (comfort care) measures can help you maintain your animal's quality of life for as long as possible.

For example, your dog is older and you don't want to put her through chemotherapy treatment, but she is still fairly active and happy. Your goals are to keep her at home with you and your family for as long as possible and manage her symptoms. Your veterinarian can help support your animal and you through the process as well as when it might be time to change course and think about euthanasia. The bottom line is that you and your veterinary should work together to keep your pet comfortable and alleviate suffering for as long as possible.

Learn more about quality of life in pets with cancer.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. View the entire transcript from When a Beloved Pet has Cancer.