Yes, dogs should have a living will just like their humans. So says veterinarians, advocates and others who care for dogs.
You need to think through what you would want for your dog before a medical emergency happens. The middle of a crisis when you’re stressed and overwrought is usually not the best time to make life and death decisions.
Do you use pet sitter, pet walker or take your canine to doggie daycare? Or do family and friends sometimes watch your pup when you’re away? They all need to know what to do in a medical emergency.
You need a detailed plan for what you want done – and not done – for your dog. You should have the plan – called a living will or an advanced medical directive – nearby for yourself and give copy to anyone else who cares for your dog.
Start with emergency contact information: the name, phone number, address and other information for your veterinarian.
Give detailed information about resuscitation orders in case your pup goes into cardiac arrest or respiratory arrest.
- Should your dog be intubated (have a breathing tube) or placed on a ventilator or respirator
- Do you want CPR performed
- Should a temporary feeding tube be inserted
- What about emergency surgeries, transfusions or life-saving drugs
Consider what you would do if your dog is in severe pain and the likelihood of recovery is poor. Would you authorize euthanasia?
This is a hard, but think about how much you’re willing to spend on medical treatment. That’s a question you may be asked during emergency treatment. Again, it’s something to think about before you need to answer the question.
Being prepared with a living will can make you better prepared to make good decisions about your pup.
Ask your veterinarian for a living will or advanced medical directive form.
Or, here are a couple different samples that you can print and use. This one is from a pet hospice. This one is a pet care emergency authorization form that you can leave with your pet sitter or other caretaker.
Do it soon and then hope you never have to use it.