At Park Veterinary Hospital & Urgent Care, we take the aging and death of our patients seriously and work closely with families to support them through their difficult time.
Quality of Life
Being pet owners ourselves, we understand the strong bond between pets and families and the desire to make sure they are experiencing the quality of life we would want for any family member. Our veterinarians and staff will work with you to assess your pet’s health, comfort, and condition as he or she ages. The Pet Loss Support page provides some conditions to consider as you evaluate your pet’s quality of life:
- Mobility—Pets lose mobility as they age. This can often be accommodated, but if your pet can no longer sit or lie down without collapsing, cannot walk, cannot handle basic functions like squatting in a litter box, or if they growl or whimper if you attempt to move them, there is more concern about their quality of life.
- Appetite—A pet that cannot eat or cannot consume enough food to be properly nourished or immediately regurgitates after eating may be experiencing loss of quality of life. If they have to be coaxed to take food or have difficulty chewing or swallowing, families have to consider if the quality of life is diminished.
- Breathing—A pet that has lost the ability to breathe easily or comfortably may have significantly reduced quality of life.
- Discomfort—Sometimes determining if a pet is in pain can be difficult but some signs to watch for include:
- Lack of mobility
- Growling, hissing, or snapping when touched
- Incontinence—Sometimes aging pets just need to get outside or to the litter box more frequently, but if an animal can no longer control when or where it urinates or defecates, it is not likely to be happy with the situation.
- Mental capacity—Aging pets can become forgetful or confused but will often adapt. If the confusion becomes fear, there is more reason for concern.
- Happiness—Knowing your pet’s normal behavior will help you determine if he or she is happy. When your pet no longer enjoys favorite toys, food, and attention from the family, he or she may not be finding joy in life anymore.
- Response to treatment—If our efforts to treat a pet’s illness are more stressful to the pet than the condition itself, our treatments may be diminishing rather than enhancing the quality of life.
When quality of life is no longer being sustained, our hospital will provide a comfortable setting and will answer all of your questions about euthanasia procedures, as well as burial and cremation options.
Remember that you are not alone in facing the difficult decisions that come with a pet’s end-of-life care. The veterinarians and staff of Park Veterinary Hospital & Urgent Care are compassionate pet owners and will help you make accommodations and manage your pet’s comfort throughout aging. Please feel free to contact us with your questions.