No matter how well we take care of them, pets can get ill, just as people can. The sooner you spot signs of illness, the sooner you will be able to get help. Getting them through illness requires a lot of care and attention, but your love can make the process a lot less distressing for your pet. Even when it comes to incurable illness, you can help to ease their suffering day to day and help them to find pleasure in life. Learning how to do this before illness strikes means that you’ll be able to get things right from the very start when your pet needs you most.
Signs of illness
Signs of illness in pets are often similar to those in humans. Persistent coughing, unusual sleepiness, and decreased interest in food and play are sure signs that something is wrong. If your pet suddenly starts losing or gaining weight, or urinates a lot more or a lot less than usual, there may be a problem. You should also be wary if you see a lot of hair loss outside of any seasonal moulting patterns, if your pet scratches a lot more than usual, or if it seems to be struggling with balance. Dogs will often try to let you know if something is wrong, but other animals, such as cats or rabbits, can be secretive about it. If you suspect a problem, it’s best to be on the safe side and arrange a check-up with your vet.
Working with your vet
If you want to give your pet the best possible care, it’s important to follow your vet’s instructions exactly, even if they appear to be causing distress. Pets are naturally wary of pills, drops, and strange-smelling ointments but sometimes need them anyway, and hard though it is, you need to put their wellbeing before the trusting relationship that they have with you. If you show them a lot of affection, you can win that trust back. You can also help them by making sure that they eat properly and get plenty of fluids. Your vet may be able to recommend tasty treats to encourage this.
When the end comes
If your pet is simply unable to recover, you will have to decide when it’s the right time to let go. Losing somebody who has been part of the family is never easy, but you can take time with your pet to show your affection, which is much easier than having to deal with a sudden death. A service such as pet cremation or burial can help you to say a proper goodbye afterwards.
Knowing that you did your best for your pet makes it easier to cope with the loss. Photos and videos can help you to remember the happy times that you had together, and over time you’ll find that those memories once again bring you joy. Pets don’t live forever, but that’s part of what makes the time that we have with them so precious.