Old dog.

The great circle of life is profoundly evident every time we say goodbye to a beloved pet, and for many pet owners, knowing when to choose humane pet euthanasia is one of the most difficult decisions they ever have to make. As your pet progresses through her lifecycle, it’s natural to wonder how you’ll know when it’s time to discuss pet end-of-life options with your veterinarian.

As an emergency, 24-hour facility, Animal Medical Hospital & 24 Hour Urgent Care has been there for pet parents faced with seeking end-of-life care for their dogs or cats. Sometimes the decision is clearer, as in the case of an unexpected, severe injury. Most of the time, however, our pets simply age or decline because of an illness—and this can make the decision to choose pet euthanasia more complicated. We are always willing to answer your questions and provide as much information as you need to help you arrive at the decision that is best for you and your pet.

If Your Pet has a Terminal Illness

If your pet has been diagnosed with a chronic condition, such as heart disease or cancer, chances are your pet’s doctor has already explained the long-term complications and signs of disease progression. 

Today, there is much more we can do to keep pets pain-free and comfortable longer than in the past, and there is much more that you can do at home to manage your pet’s serious medical condition

Since your pet’s care likely includes regular doctor visits, you can discuss your pet’s declining health as needed and, ideally, consider ahead of time the point in your pet’s disease progression when pet euthanasia may become necessary.

Quality of Life

Whether your pet is simply aging into her golden years or battling an illness, knowing when it’s time to say goodbye ultimately boils down to assessing your pet’s quality of life. 

The Quality of Life Scale, created by Dr. Alice Villalobos, can help you quantify your pet’s quality of life by looking at several factors:

  • Pain
  • Hunger
  • Hydration
  • Hygiene
  • Happiness
  • Mobility
  • Good days vs. bad days

Another tool to try is to make a list of three-to-five things your pet enjoys doing every day, such as: 

  • Loves to sleep on my lap
  • Going for walks in the park
  • Playing fetch with her pink ball
  • Spending time with our other pet
  • Waking me up in the mornings 

When she is no longer able to do the things she loves to do every day, it may be time to have a quality of life conversation with your pet’s veterinarian.

Your Grief is Natural

Our animals are important parts of our lives, and it’s natural to feel a sense of profound loss. When it’s time to say goodbye to your beloved pet, know that your grief is natural and that there are options available to help you cope with your pet loss

If you have questions about pet end-of-life options, please call us at (704) 334-4684.