The bond between family and pet can be very strong, and knowing when to say good bye is often extremely difficult. At GVH we are here to support and guide you through evaluating quality of life and the euthanasia process.
What is quality if life?
Your pets’ quality of life is measured in many ways. A severe change in one, or a smaller change in more than one of these factors can add up to an unacceptable quality of life for your pet. Pet loss is a difficult and stressful time in your life. We will do our best to help you through this process by providing you with support, and the knowledge you need to make the best choices for you and your pet.
Changes to watch for:
- Awareness of surroundings: pets generally respond to our presence, vocal commands and surrounding noises.
- Activity level: activity level tends to decrease with age but some daily activity is important.
- Persistent pain: if pain becomes unmanageable and no future relief is expected, this represents a significant change in quality of life.
- Appetite: dogs may go a few days without eating whereas cats should eat daily. It is very important for both cats and dogs to drink every day. Watch for pattern changes in eating/drinking, especially if accompanied by vomiting, diarrhea or severe weight loss.
- Ability to eliminate: loss of house training.
Many of these changes inevitably come with aging. The difficulty is knowing when the sum of these problems represent changes that make your pet’s quality of life unacceptably low. We can help you determine when that time comes.
When your family has decided that euthanasia is the humane thing to do for your pet, there are a few practical factors to consider.
- Would you like the veterinarian to come to your home or would you like to come to the hospital?
- Does the family wish to be present for the process?
- Would you like to have your pet’s remains (ashes) back after cremation?
Thinking about these things in advance will help reduce the stress of decision making during an already challenging time.