With pet owners reluctant to lose their companions at a veterinary clinic, end-of-life care for animals is changing. Increasingly, vets are offering in-home services, during which they make dying dogs and cats as comfortable as possible; in many cases, they ultimately euthanize them in their own homes, the New York Times reports. "They’re in their own environment, not only the pet but the owners," says the co-founder of a pet hospice company started in 2010; it now boasts more than 68 partners across 18 states.
Hospice care helps some owners escape a "sense of coercion" on pet health decisions, says the founder of another such group, noting that people ask, "Where were you 30 years ago? They made me kill my dog." Just how big the phenomenon has grown isn't clear, but such businesses are "everywhere," says a Kentucky veterinarian who tracks care data. Home visits and euthanasia can be pricey—perhaps $250 per visit. But the process can be a financial trade-off, since it may mean saving money that could be spent on intensive treatment. And anyway, "you’ve got people willing to spend scads of money on their pets," says the Kentucky vet. (Read more dogs stories.)