When your pet is approaching the end of life, it can be difficult to decide when it is time to help him pass with comfort and dignity. Of course we wish our friends could stay with us forever, but at a certain point we must decide when quality of life outweighs quantity. Some questions to ask yourself and your family when trying to make this difficult decision include:
Some obvious signs of pain and distress are crying, whimpering, shaking, and heavy breathing. However, many pets instinctually will not show obvious signs of pain. Some subtle signs to look for include inability to settle or get comfortable, withdrawing from family or hiding, decreased appetite, decreased activity, and changes in personality or aggression.
When assessing an elderly or ailing patient, many veterinarians use this scale as a guide. It can help you to look objectively at your pet's condition.
Each catagory is scored from 1 to 10, with 1 being poor and 10 being excellent. A score over 35 represents acceptable quality of life.
For more information on quality of life, euthanasia, pet loss, and grieving we recommend visiting the Argus Institute's website. They have extensive information on this topic presented with care and compassion.
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