Pet Quality of Life Concerns
What Is Her Quality of Life?
This is the biggest question. Ask it weekly. Daily. Even hourly.
You know your pet the best. Trust in that.
Near the end, you should talk more frequently with your vet. Even about the tough stuff. Ask questions and keep asking.
This is a vulnerable time for you and your pet. We understand and respect that.
Objective Pet Quality of Life Questions
Keep a calendar. Mark the quality of each day. Track behaviors. It gives you something to do (other than worry).
It also helps give you and your vet a more objective look at quality of life. When you start to see those 3 or 4 things that really make your pet who she is slip away, then maybe it is time.
Here are some basic questions to consider regarding your pet’s quality of life:
- Pick 3-4 things that make your pet, “your pet”. What are her favorite routines or rituals? What is her typical daily routine?
- Is she eating and drinking?
- Is she going the bathroom (or litterbox) appropriately and pain free?
- Is she having more frequent accidents, vomiting, or diarrhea?
- Are you seeing pain?
You may feel like you are the only one to go through this. And you are with your pet. But plenty of us have crossed this bridge with our own pets. One of our former staff, Jenny Gidley, shares her story about pet quality of life concerns for her cat, Gizmo. You aren’t alone.
If you want to keep objective, here are a few worksheets you can use as you move through this process. Again, keep us informed. We want to work with you.
- Quality of Life Checklist
- Quality of Life Scale – Dr. Villalobos
- Cat Quality of Life Scale – Dr. Villalobos
- Difficult Decision Making Worksheet
- Making Decisions Booklet – From the Argus Institute (We have copies of this available in the office or you may purchase their download for $3. It is well worth it.)
Things We Notice
When a pet reaches the point where you and your vet know time is limited, you probably won’t be running as many tests or vaccinations. That said, we may still want to see your pet.
Why? We may see things you don’t.
When you are with her every day, you may not notice changes over time. If we haven’t seen your pet in a month, the change (for better or worse) might be more noticeable to us.
And, your veterinarian is a trained professional. He may find things in a physical exam that even the best pet owners wouldn’t (e.g., sore joint, pain response).
When Is It Time?
What a question. And one that deserves an answer.
When you ask this, keep in mind we don’t live with your pet. We don’t know what day-to-day normal is like.
Pets often act one way in the office and another at home (we’ve all been there). This doesn’t mean we can’t help you objectively assess pet quality of life concerns to help in your decision making.
So, when is it time? While our answer isn’t what you want to hear, it is the truth.
The answer is: You know your pet best–you will know when it is time.