Helpful Resources 

Support After Loss

Pet Loss Support Hotlines

  • ASPCA Pet Loss 24 Hr Hotline:  877-474-3310 

  • Cornell University Pet Loss Support Hotline: 607-253-3932

  • Tufts University Pet Loss Support Hotline: 508-839-7966 

  • Utah State University Pet Loss Hotline: 435-757-4540 

  • Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine Pet Loss Support Hotline: 540-231-8038

  • Washington State University Pet Loss Hotline: 1-866-266-8635 or 509-335-5704 

Other Pet Loss Support Groups

Dr. Elms highly also recommends the pet loss support groups that are associated with veterinary schools. Many are accessible 24 hours/7 days a week.

Chicago Veterinary Medicine Association  630-325-1600

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine   607-253-3932

University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine  217-244-2273 or 877-394-2273

Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine  517-432-2696

University of Tennessee (Knoxville) Veterinary Social Work  865-755-8839

Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University  508-839-7966

Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine  540-231-8038

Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine  866-266-8635


Is My Pet in Pain?

Our animals are much more stoic than we would ever imagine. Unlike us, there is no psychological component to their discomfort; they simply accommodate pain.  

Additionally, our cats and dogs are by nature not only predators but also prey animals. Therefore, they have been programmed not to vocalize when in pain because it will betray their whereabouts to predators.

They do not worry if they will get better. They depend on us to pick up the clues, many of which are subtle and often confused with normal aging or other diseases.

Understanding how different animals display levels of pain is so important when we discuss end of life decisions.

Please see if your pets are exhibiting a combination of these signs as each sign taken individually can be related to other disturbances.

  • An arthritic dog will no longer jump onto the couch or in the car, will circle several times before laying down and have frequent posture shifts. His sleep may be disturbed by pain.

  • Pain generally causes loss of appetite, slower wound healing, lethargy, increased respiratory and heart rates. As pain increases, animals will isolate, have dull and unfocused eyes and become aggressive when normally docile. If pain is limited to a certain area, they will scratch or bite at it.

  • Extreme pain also causes panting, vomiting, and continuous hunched positions.

If you need help determining if your pet is in pain or is nearing end-of-life, please contact Dr. Elms for a consultation.