College of Veterinary Medicine
Pet Memorial Program

Questions about your pet's quality of life

  • Pet's Quality of LifeDoes he/she still enjoy his usual activities?
  • Does he/she appear to be in pain or struggling to breathe?
  • What do I think he/she would want at this point? What would I want if I were in her/his position?
  • Do I have the financial and physical resources it may take to adequately care for him/her as his/her condition declines?
  • Will the quality of life through the treatment and beyond be good enough for the time it afforded? Am I prolonging their life for my pet or for me?
  • Do I have any questions/concerns about euthanasia that may be preventing me from feeling good about making a decision?  

Also see:
When is it time to say goodbye?
Defining quality of life
Quality of life rating scale
Planning for end of life
What if my pet has a terminal illness?

Your veterinarian understands attachment to pets, and can examine and evaluate your pet's condition, estimate your pet's chances for recovery, and discuss potential disabilities and long-term problems. He or she can explain the medical options and possible outcomes. Because your veterinarian cannot make the euthanasia decision for you, it is important that you fully understand your pet's condition. If there is any part of the diagnosis or the implications for your pet's future that you don't understand, ask to have it explained again. Rarely will the situation require an immediate decision.  Veterinary hospice care is increasingly available, and may be an option that allows you extra time to make these difficult decisions.