How do we know when it’s time? Who decides when it’s time when multiple people are involved in the care of a pet? Quality of life is what we use to know when it’s time to say good-bye, but it’s not so simple. Quality of life (QoL) is different for everyone and means different things to different people due to a variety of belief systems, religions and opinions. Here are some basic guidelines that you can look at to try to see if your pet has a good QoL.
- Is my pet in pain?
- Does my pet enjoy life?
- Does my pet want to eat/drink?
- Does my pet have frequent vomiting/diarrhea?
- Is my pet having more bad days than good?
- Are financial limitations starting to prohibit adequate treatment for medical conditions? (I feel bad putting this one on the list but it has to be considered, especially when a pet needs medications and certain treatments in order to maintain a good QoL).
- Is my pet able to clean him/herself after soiling?
- Can my pet get around independently or is mobility difficult?
These are some things to look at when trying to decide if we are keeping them around for them or for us. There is a great QoL scale developed by by Dr. Alice Villalobos that you can print and keep in a place where you can see it regularly. It’s also a good idea to have a journal in order to keep track of any changes and the severity of the changes.