Checklist: How to Make Your Pet Comfortable When They Have Cancer

A cancer diagnosis in your pet can feel incredibly overwhelming, particularly when faced with difficult decisions regarding ongoing veterinarian visits, testing and treatment. Remember that your pet may not be able to process the meaning of cancer, but will look to you for clues, so it is important to provide a loving, supportive atmosphere during this time. Regardless of what plans you’ve arrived at for cancer care, it is possible to ensure your pet remains comfortable, happy and appropriately nourished. Here are a few special considerations to keep in mind as you care for your companion.

Comfortable Places to Lay Down – Your pet may experience weight loss, have visible tumors or lumps under their coat, or have lower energy levels. Try to keep a comfortable place for them, like a bed or blanket, in areas of your home where you spend a signification amount of time so they can be with you and be comfortable. Bath mats work very well on hardwood and tile floors – the rubber bottom keeps them from slipping and gives your pet traction on slick floors.

Assistance with Mobility – Depending on the type of cancer, your pet may experience difficulty moving around, scaling stairs, or climbing on furniture or play structures. If you have a multi-level home, keep water bowls on each floor. You can also gently move your pet using a towel, blanket, or sling under their chest and stomach so you don’t have to grab their fur or legs to pick them up.

Appropriate Exercise – Be aware that their energy levels may not be as high, and their endurance may decrease. When walking your pet or doing activities, try to stay close to the car so you can take them home if they start to slow down.

Changing Eating Habits – Your veterinarian can give you the best advice for how to adjust your companion animal’s diet after their diagnosis. Try to keep track of their weight, and see your veterinarian if they experience drastic weight changes. Keep their feeding times consistent, and avoid any unnecessary stress by making small adjustments to their food if needed.

Staying Clean – Especially if their mobility is affected, your pet make experience difficulties going to the bathroom. Make sure they stay clean and remove any soiling from their underside or coat regularly. Ask your veterinarian about medication or diapers if incontinence is an issue.

Keep a Log – Writing down feeding times, amounts, and keeping track of activity can help you make any adjustments to your pet’s lifestyle to make them more comfortable. Tracking any changes in eating habits or activity can also help your veterinarian make better diagnoses and suggest treatment.