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Understanding Quality of Life Issues with Dogs

Along with every other living creature, pets age. And with this age comes illness and difficulty. Determining when your pet’s life is no longer enjoyable can be difficult and is an important part of deciding when to let him go.

Quality of life is a personal judgment and will vary from individual to individual. You know your beloved pet better than anyone. For most pet owners the issue of quality of life greatly influences the decision concerning euthanasia. And while your veterinarian can guide you with objective information about diseases, and even provide a personal perspective of a disease condition, the final decision about euthanasia rests with you.

What Aging or Ailing Pets Should Be Able To Do

If you are concerned about your pet’s quality of life, here are some guidelines. Elderly pets (or pets with chronic or incurable diseases) that are given proper medication and care should be able to:

Of course, whenever there is a chronic condition, some days will be better than others and one should learn to expect the natural “ups and downs” that attend most chronic disease conditions or the aging process. You must determine what balance is acceptable for your own situation. Speak with your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns regarding your pet’s condition.

When Quality of Life Diminishes

At some point, your dog’s life may not be pleasant or enjoyable. The deterioration of vital functions results in a dog that is less resilient and is often too tired to participate in activities with the family. Here are some guidelines that may help you determine if your pet’s quality of life has diminished to the point that euthanasia may be the kindest gift.

If your dog is experiencing any of these signs, speak to your veterinarian. Medication may help or it may be time to either begin hospice care or consider euthanasia.