It is never easy to know when to say goodbye to a beloved family member. You may have heard the phrases “You’ll just know” or “She will tell you.” This is sometimes true – but other times, there is no clear-cut sign. We hope these resources will help you work through your decision. If you need additional help, please call to speak with one of our veterinary nurses, or to arrange a consultation with one of our veterinarians.
Is It Time? Determining Quality of Life
–Appetite: Has food intake increased or decreased? Are they gaining or losing weight?
–Hydration: Has water consumption increased or decreased? Are they dehydrated?
–Happiness: Does your pet still love the things they have always loved (like playing fetch, or getting a belly rub)? Do they still hate the things they have always hated (like the vacuum or a knock at the door)?
–Hygiene: Does your pet still groom, or keep themselves clean? If not, will they allow you to brush or bathe them as needed?
–Mobility: Does your pet still move around the house normally? Can they go outside to potty, or climb in the litter box?
If several (or all) of the above categories have declined, it may be time to consider an end-of-life visit. In other cases, your pet may be doing well in 4 categories, but one aspect of life has declined so much that euthanasia is the kindest choice. There are several quality-of-life scales that can help you assess your pet’s QOL. If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to us.
You may also ask yourself “Is my pet in pain?” The general answer is that if the condition would be painful to a human, it is also painful to your pet. They don’t attach emotion to their pain, showing evidence of their pain very differently than people do. For this reason, it is sometimes difficult to tell how much pain our pets are experiencing. The resources below can help you determine if your pet is feeling pain. If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to us.