My dog was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma. X-rays were done and showed cancer spread to lungs. He was given about 6 months to live at the time.

He's about 14 years old no and the original diagnosis was a little over 2 years ago!

He looks like a mess now. Mass keeps growing and it takes up a sizable portion of his insides. He's still relatively happy. Wags his tail, barks when he wants food. His mobility has gone down and he sleeps a lot more.

Sometimes when he rests, he'll lay up against a hard surface on his right side. I figured this gave him a little relief from the pressure of the mass.

I placed a small heating pad place on low in his dog bed. I put a double wrapped bath towel over it. I monitored the temp and turned it off after about an hour. He loved it!

But is that okay? Is it harmful to him?

1 Answer 1


The situation you are describing is often described as "Hospice", you are providing comfort care for a sick being. Quality of life is more important than quantity of life, comfort over living longer.

If it feels good, and adds to the comfort it is good.

It sounds like you are making the important steps in monitoring the application of heat for safety. Temp is not too high, always supervised if they are unable to move away from the heat, monitoring that electrical cords are not chewed on.

Additionally in my area there are veterinarians who specialize in hospice care if you are lucky enough to have one in your area, contact them. Ours makes house calls, and the comfort they give to the pet and family can be significant.

Directly speaking to the use of heat for pain management, current practice is to include heat as part of solution.

Non-pharmacological methods to manage pain include cutaneous stimulation techniques (heat and cold applications) acupuncture, psychosocial methods of care, holistic management and pastoral care. source

  • 1
    "Quality of life is more important than quantity of life, comfort over living longer." In a discussion I had with a vet about the right time for euthanasia, he gave me advice I found to be helpful over the years: "Think about who you are keeping your pet alive for".
    – jalynn2
    Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 20:34

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