What constitutes a decreased quality of life? What should you do if you have concerns for your pet’s quality of life? We set out to answer these difficult questions.
Considering putting your pet to sleep is often a heart-wrenching decision, one that no one ever really wants to make, but when the time comes that your pet’s quality of life is suffering, with no signs of getting better, then it may be the kindest option to decide to put them to sleep. It’s a difficult decision; a conflict between wanting to spend as much time with your beloved pet as possible, but on the other hand not letting them suffer and making the right decision for them. Considering putting your pet to sleep does not make you a bad owner, in fact allowing your pet to slip away peacefully and with dignity is one of the nicest final gifts we can give them, when the time is right.
You as their owner are best placed to make this decision, with invaluable guidance from our friendly and supportive veterinary team. Your vet understands the important bond between you and your pet, can help evaluate their condition and likelihood of recovery and consider any long term problems, risks and likely outcomes to help you make an informed decision. As an owner, it is ultimately your decision to make, so it’s important that you fully understand your pet’s condition, so if there are any aspects of the diagnosis, condition, treatment or prognosis that you don’t understand, please do ask.
You know your pet’s behaviours and habits the best, and so are the best judge of their quality of life. Signs that may suggest that your furry friend may not be doing so well may include:
If your pet is deteriorating gradually, sometimes this can be hard to determine, especially when you see them every day. In these cases it’s a good idea to think about the 5 basic freedoms that all animal welfare is measured against – these are freedom from;
Have a think about those for your pet. Ask yourself if your pet is having more bad days than good days overall? It may be helpful to give your pet a ‘quality of life score’ out of 10 based on the list above, considering their ability to interact/play/exercise/eat and toilet like they used to, to determine how compromised these areas of their life are. It can be hard to be objective sometimes, so you may like to ask a trusted friend or relative who doesn’t live with you and your pet for their opinion.
For the most part you will have some time to make this decision, review the facts and discuss it with your loved ones, although there can be times when the decision needs to be made immediately if they are critically unwell.
If you have concerns that your pet is struggling, or their quality of life, book in for an appointment. Then we can assess your pet and offer you advice, to help make the decision with you. We can arrange a pre-euthanasia chat to discuss your thoughts and feelings. You can consider when the right time is for your pet. We can go through the options with you, explaining what to expect on the day itself.