Living Wills for Pets


Living wills for petsIn the same way that many people have difficulty thinking of and planning for their own mortality, they struggle when considering a pet’s mortality. We love our furry friends; planning for the day we lose them is something most people prefer to avoid. However, putting your wishes in writing is an important step to ensure your pet receives the level of care you prefer in other words living wills for pets.

Consider the many variations in the way people think of and treat their pets. Now, imagine that your pet has a medical emergency while in the care of someone else. How sure are you that your pet’s temporary caregiver will handle the situation the same way you would? Drafting living wills for pets takes away the guesswork, ensuring both the caregiver and vet know exactly what you would want done in any situation.

A Pet Living Will Defined

A living will is a type of advance directive in which you specify the care you wish to receive in an end-of-life situation when you no longer have the capability to communicate your wishes. You can create this same document for your pets rather than leaving these decisions to a veterinarian or temporary caregiver. With a pet living will, you outline lifesaving efforts you want pursued and medications you approve.

The Importance of a Pet Living Will

If you travel often, or use pet daycare, a pet living will offers peace of mind for you, but also guidance and clarity for your pet’s temporary caregivers. No one has to guess your wishes in the event of an emergency, or be forced to make difficult decisions in your stead.

Your instructions should include your vet’s information, as well, so your pet’s caregiver knows where to take the animal in the event of an emergency. You can also include payment information and authorize limits as to cost of care.

What to Include in a Pet Living Will

In addition to details such as location of care, cost, and payment method, your pet’s living will includes the list of resuscitation orders you want your pet’s doctor to perform. These include:

  • CPR
  • Intubation
  • Feeding tube
  • Lifesaving drugs
  • Blood transfusions
  • Emergency surgeries

You can go into a great deal of detail regarding each item, or choose to keep it basic. Be clear about your wishes while recognizing that, in some cases, your veterinarian’s expertise guides the process and overrides these instructions. For example, a trusted vet understands when a terminal illness or traumatic accident supersedes your stated wishes.

living wills for pets ensures your pets receive the level of care you prefer, while also detailing the financial aspect, even if you are away. Make sure you share it with your pet’s temporary caregiver as well as your vet.

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