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As your pet ages they will inevitably experience increased physical ailments and health concerns, some of which may affect their quality of life. It is this time in your pet's life when they depend on you the most to make the right decisions regarding their health and care. Unfortunately, one of the decisions many pet owners are faced with is the question of euthanasia. Many people have trouble deciding if euthanasia is right for their pet, and if so, how will they know when it is time. These are questions that the family must discuss and decide upon, and while the opinion of a trusted veterinarian may help, it is the pet's caretakers that must make the final decision. After all, the caretakers have been involved in the pet's daily routine, and are therefore able to evaluate an increase in discomfort or a decrease in quality of life. A few things to consider while evaluating your pet's quality of life:
· Is your pet still enjoying basic activities around the house or are they isolated or uninvolved in the families activities?
· Is your pet able to move around on their own without difficulty or pain?
· Is your pet still eating and drinking on a normal schedule?
· Does your pet soil him/her self during the day? This can be a big stressor for pets who have previously been housebroken, and can also lead to rashes and irritated skin.
· Is your pet still having more "good days" then "bad days"? Some people may find it helpful to create a daily chart to help evaluate whether this is true or not.
The decision whether or not to schedule euthanasia is a difficult one, complicated by the fact that there is no definitive answer as to when the right time is. If you are concerned about your pet's quality of life, it may be a good idea to schedule a quality of life examination with your veterinarian. In the end, it seems only fair that each pet caretaker should ask themselves "Are we keeping our pets here with us because we are unable to let them go, or do we truly believe they are experiencing an acceptable quality of life"? Check out the Quality of Life Scale
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