WHEN SHOULD I PUT AN ILL PET "TO SLEEP"?

Almost every pet owner will be faced with this problem at some time or other. Your best friend is ill, perhaps quite ill, and you are not sure if it is better to end the suffering, or if they can continue and have a reasonable quality of life for some time to come.

In a few cases, your veterinarian will be able to honestly say that euthanasia is the best or only realistic option for your pet. That can ease the burden somewhat. In most cases, however, your veterinarian can only provide you with all the information on the illness, the options and costs of treatment and the best estimates of the chances for success. Then you or your family are left to decide.

Sometimes, the cost of the treatment, uncertainty of how successful treatment will be, the age of the animal and other factors make the choice even the more difficult. There never is any "easy way" or "simple formula" one can apply. Our emotional attachment to our best friend clouds our logic anyway. Below, we have listed a few simple lists/questions that my clients sometimes use to help their decisions. Perhaps you can apply them to your pet's situation if needed.

THE "ALL SYSTEMS GO LIST"

My pet eats well, at least 3-4 days a week.
My pet drinks water and is urinating.
My pet is having normal bowel movements, at least a few times a week.
My pet is able to rise and move about on their own.

If you answer yes to ALL the questions then it probably is not time yet.

THE EXPENSE VS REWARD METHOD
(WORKS WELL WHEN DEBATING TREATMENT VS EUTHANASIA)

IS THERE A BETTER THAN 50% ESTIMATE THAT MY PET WILL RECOVER?
THE COST OF THE INITIAL TREATMENT IS WITHIN MY BUDGET.
THE COST OF THE MONTHLY TREATMENT IS WITHIN MY BUDGET.
THE TIME MY PET MAY LIVE AFTER TREATMENT STARTS SEEMS REASONABLE TO ME AND MAKES SENSE FOR THE COST OF TREATMENT.

If you answer yes to ALL the above then it probably is not time yet.

THE QUALITY OF LIFE TEST
(also known as The Really Subjective Gut-Feeling Test)

On a scale of one to ten. Zero being dead or darn close to it, and Ten being as full of life as a 6 month old puppy, where does your pet's quality of life fall?
Answer quickly and then click here to compare your answer

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2007 James W. Day D.V.M., P.C.