Companion Animal Owner Perceptions, Knowledge, and Beliefs Regarding Pain Management in End-of-Life Care

Roschelle Heuberger, Michael Petty, Janice Huntingford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The senior companion animal is the fastest growing segment of the pet population. End-of-life care, quality of life, and pain management (PM) are extremely important to pet owners. Research into PM and end-of-life care is essential due to lack of information on owner knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs. A survey was developed to gather information from owners. Surveys were developed using expert focus groups, and participants were recruited through social media. Survey validation employed emergent themes and grounded theory. Data from respondents (n = 986) were analyzed using descriptive statistics, Kruskal-Wallis, Jonckheere-Terpstra, or Wilcoxon rank-sum tests, with post hoc adjustment. Approximately 87% of respondents felt that euthanizing for unmitigated pain was appropriate. Households where there were multiple pets, both cats and dogs, and owners who were not first-time pet owners showed even greater preferences (P <.05) for euthanasia with unmitigated pain. Pain control was important to respondents, but owners lacked knowledge and had unrealistic attitudes and beliefs about treatment options, costs, and long-term feasibility. Limitations of this research included homogeneity of online survey respondents and convenience sampling. Translational research should be fostered to increase the availability and affordability of PM techniques in veterinary practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)152-159
Number of pages8
JournalTopics in Companion Animal Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


  • companion animals
  • end of life
  • pain management


Dive into the research topics of 'Companion Animal Owner Perceptions, Knowledge, and Beliefs Regarding Pain Management in End-of-Life Care'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this