As pet owners we may be faced with difficult decisions involving caring for a pet that is terminally ill or in the end stages of life. How long do we provide care? How do we evaluate quality of life? How can we objectively make decisions about ending or prolonging our pet’s life? None of these questions are easy and there is no one solution that fits all. End of life decisions are personally and emotionally difficult to make. The doctors at HR Alpine Vet have been asked many times over, how do you make a decision to end a pet’s life? As difficult a question as this is Dr. Foss has composed a simple chart to help with evaluating your pet’s quality of life. The information presented in this article is to help guide you in your decision process. We hope this helps when you are faced with making this most difficult of all decisions, when to euthanize your pet.

Dr. Foss’s personal viewpoint is quality of life for your pet should be the most important consideration when deciding about when to euthanize a pet. Quality of life is best determined by asking several questions.

  • Is your pet eating and drinking?
  • Is your pet eating an adequate amount of food to maintain its weight?
  • Is your pet in pain?
  • Can your pet get up and move around?
  • Can your pet get up to do his or her bathroom habits (go outside, use a litter pan)?
  • Does your pet have a great deal of difficulty urinating or defecating?
  • Is the pet happy to see you?
  • Are there more bad days than good days?

If your answers are mostly positive then your pet is probably still doing well and you have more time to enjoy his or her company. On the other hand, if most of your answers are negative you may need to consider that your pet’s life is nearing an end. Dr. Foss strongly believes that if your pet is not eating or drinking and is unable to get up to perform his or her bathroom habits, then it is time to consider euthanasia. At this point your pet’s quality of life is greatly diminished. Emotionally this is one of the most difficult decisions a pet owner must face.

We are here to help advise you when making this most difficult of decisions. As pet owners we are responsible for the care and comfort of our beloved pets and prolonging death only makes our pets suffer longer than they would have naturally survived.

Please use this information to help you consider the care options for your terminally ill or elderly pet. We are also here to help you if you wish to schedule an appointment for your pet to evaluate your pet’s health and to assist you in the decision process our phone number is 541-386-6658.

We also have information on grief counseling to help you with the loss of a pet. Please let us know how we can help, we hope this information is useful to you in this difficult situation.