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Pet Quality of Life Assessment: Evaluating well-being, comfort, and happiness

Written by Elsa Mou


Posted on June 18 2024

Are “What are signs of your dog dying” and “Is it time to say goodbye” questions that have been on your mind?

Deciding on pet euthanasia is a deeply emotional and challenging journey for pet owners. It requires careful consideration of our beloved companion's quality of life and well-being. In this blog post, we will explore the process of assessing your pet's quality of life as a valuable tool in making the difficult decision of euthanasia. By utilizing a quality of life assessment, we can approach this decision with empathy, ensuring that our pets receive the care they deserve until the very end.

Understanding Quality of Life Assessment:

A pet quality of life assessment holds exceptional significance, especially when facing end-of-life decisions for our furry companions. It enables us to evaluate their physical well-being, emotional state, and overall enjoyment of life, aiding in determining their comfort and happiness.

By assessing their quality of life, we can objectively gauge their pain levels, mobility, engagement in activities, and signs of suffering.

This assessment serves as a compassionate guide, helping us make difficult decisions regarding palliative & hospice care or euthanasia with their best interests in mind. It ensures that we prioritize their comfort, minimize their distress, and provide them with the utmost love and care during their final stages, allowing them to pass peacefully and with dignity.

  1. Physical Well-being: Assess your pet's physical health and comfort. Consider factors such as pain levels, mobility, ability to eat and drink, and overall vitality. Is your pet experiencing uncontrollable pain or a decline in their ability to perform essential activities?

  2. Emotional and Behavioral Factors: Observe your pet's emotional state and behavior. Are they displaying signs of anxiety, depression, or fear? Do they still engage in activities they once enjoyed? Evaluate their response to affection, interaction with family members, and overall enthusiasm for life.

  3. Disease Progression and Prognosis: Consult with your veterinarian to gain a thorough understanding of your pet's medical condition, the progression of their illness, and the available treatment options. Discuss the expected prognosis, potential for improvement, and the likelihood of further decline.

  4. Enjoyment and Engagement: Consider your pet's ability to experience pleasure and engage in activities that bring them joy. Can they still participate in their favorite pastimes and show interest in their surroundings? Assess their overall engagement with the environment and their interaction with people and other animals.

Take a Quality of Life Assessment:

Pet grief counselors, pet hospices and euthanasia services offer quality of life scales. Here are some questions to consider when evaluating your fluff’s quality of life:

  • HURT - Is your pet's pain successfully managed? Is oxygen necessary? According to the New York Times’ quality of life scale, HURT is a category we should pay special attention to.

  • HUNGER - Is your pet eating enough? Does hand feeding help? Does your pet require a feeding tube?

  • HYDRATION - Is your pet dehydrated?

  • HYGIENE - Does your pet have sores and long term wounds that are not healing and need consistent care?

  • HAPPINESS - Does your pet express joy and interest? Is your pet responsive to things around him or her (family, toys, etc.)? Is your pet depressed, lonely, anxious, bored or afraid? Can your pet's bed be close to the family activities and not be isolated?

  • MOBILITY - Can your pet get up without assistance? Does your pet need human or mechanical help (e.g. a cart)? Does your pet feel like going for a walk? Is your pet having seizures or stumbling? (Some caregivers feel euthanasia is preferable to amputation, yet an animal who has limited mobility but is still alert and responsive can have a good quality of life as long as caregivers are committed to helping the pet.)

  • MORE BAD DAYS THAN GOOD - When bad days outnumber good days, quality of life might be compromised. When a healthy human-animal bond is no longer possible, the caregiver must be made aware the end is near. The decision needs to be made if your pet is suffering. If death comes peacefully and painlessly, that is okay. 

To complete the GNight Fetcher Quality of Life Worksheet for free, please click here.

Consulting with Professionals:

Seek guidance from veterinary professionals, pet grief counselors, and pet hospices who can provide valuable insights based on their expertise and experience. They can help you interpret your pet's quality of life assessment, answer your questions, and provide recommendations tailored to your pet's specific situation. For example, GNight Fetcher works closely with pet bereavement counselors, and has an in-house, who could help provide additional resources and hands-on guidance as you navigate this difficult journey.

Finding Comfort and Support:

Emotional support is crucial during this difficult time. Reach out to family, friends, or support groups that understand the unique bond between pets and their owners. Share your concerns, fears, and emotions with individuals who can offer empathy and comfort.

The decision of pet euthanasia is personal and should be made with your pet's best interests in mind. Trust your instincts and rely on the knowledge you have gained through the quality of life assessment and professional guidance.

Assessing your pet's quality of life serves as a compassionate guide when making the challenging decision of pet euthanasia. By carefully considering your pet's physical well-being, emotional state, disease progression, and engagement with life, you can make an informed decision that prioritizes their comfort and well-being. Consult with veterinary professionals and seek emotional support throughout this journey. The love and care you have provided for your pet extend to their final moments, ensuring they receive a dignified and compassionate farewell.

More From GNight Fetcher:

GNight Fetcher are a female run small business helping people to memorialize beloved pets through nature inspired pet memorial products. We work with our resident pet bereavement counselor to curate healing resources to support our customers. We have an in-house design team that creates beautiful urns to honor fur babies.

  • Shop nature inspired pet urns

  • Read more about GNight Fetcher.

  • Sign up to our pet grief support groups.

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