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Quality of Life

As our pets age, it can be difficult to determine if quality of life is acceptable, and when is the appropriate time for euthanasia.  Sometimes, an objective guideline can aid in this decision.


Using the scale of 0 to 10 (0 = unacceptable, 10 = excellent), your pet can be evaluated for their quality of life.






0-10 Hurt – is the animal in pain, including distress from difficulty breathing? Can the pet’s pain be successfully managed?  Is oxygen necessary?


0-10 Hunger – is the pet eating enough? Does hand-feeding help? Does the pet require a feeding tube?


0-10 Hydration – is the pet dehydrated? Are subcutaneous fluids once or twice daily enough to resolve the problem? Are they well-tolerated?


0-10 Hygiene – The pet should be kept brushed and clean, particularly after elimination.  Does the pet have pressure sores?


0-10 Happiness – does the pet express joy and interest? Is he responsive to things around him (family, toys, etc.)?  Is the pet depressed, lonely, anxious, bored, or afraid?  Can the pet’s bed be moved near family activities to minimize isolation?


0-10 Mobility – can the pet get up without assistance? Does the pet need human or mechanical help (e.g. a cart)?  Does he feel like going for a walk? Is he having seizures or stumbling?


0-10 More good days than bad – when bad days outnumber good days, the pet’s suffering is appreciable and quality of life might be too compromised.  When a healthy human-animal bond is no longer possible, the caregiver must be aware that the end is near.



Total: a total of >35 points is acceptable quality of life for pets.

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