Determining When It’s Time- Quality of Life

Determining When It's Time- Quality of Life

Knowing When Its Time

This is the most common and difficult question asked by pet lovers and caregivers. Unfortunately, there is no perfect answer to this question, as it is highly personal and dependent on not just the pet’s condition, as so many other factors come into consideration when making a decision for euthanasia. Here are some things to consider, tools, and atricles that may help navigate you through your pet’s end-of-life journey:

  • Write a list of 3 to 5 things your pet likes to do
    (i.e., sit by the window, greet me at the door,
    spend time in the yard...). When your pet is no
    longer able to do these things, it may be time.


  • List good days and bad days on your calendar.
    If the bad outweighs the good, it may be time.


  • Look at photos and videos of your pet from
    before they were ill. This will help you
    recognize difficult to notice changes and
    gradual declines.


  • Factors to Consider:

Is he eating?

Is he soiling himself?

Is she lifting her head to greet me? Wagging
her tail?

Can he stand on his own?

Does she still have the look of joy in her eyes?

Is she breathing without difficulty with a
resting rate less than 30 breaths per minute?

Can I provide all his of needs?

Can we
adequately manage his pain?

For cats: Does her body language indicate
possible pain? Ex. hanging head, crouched
posture, hiding, change in ear position, and
squinting eyes.

Quality Of Life Assessments

The quality of animals’ lives is defined by their overall physical and mental well-being, not just one aspect of their lives. These quality of life scales attempt to consider all aspects of your pet’s life. It is important to remember that all pets are different. What may be considered a poor quality of life for one may be different for another.

H5M2 Quality of Life Scale- This scale describes 7 parameters that can be tracked in chronic and progressive diseases: Hunger, Hydration, Hygiene, Hurt, Happiness, Mobility, and More good days than bad.

  • Each parameter gets a score from 1 - 10, with 0 being unacceptable and 10 being excellent

  • Scores > 35 = acceptable QOL for pets

Journeys Quality of Life Scale- Geared towards your pet’s happiness and sense of wellbeing

  • Reach out to us if there is a low score on any of the measures

  • J- Jumping or Mobility
    O - Ouch or Pain
    U - Uncertainty and Understanding (factors that affect YOU)
    R - Respiration and Breathing
    N - Neatness or Hygiene
    E - Eating and Drinking
    Y - You
    S- Social Ability


MMVHS Quality of Life Scale

  • This scale has 14 different categories

  • Each category is given a score 0-5

  • Tallied scores/70 = a % QOL Score

  • QOL scores 0-25% = very poor, 25-50% = poor, 50-75% decreased to good, 75-100% = excellent

  • Recommendations are also listed in regards to how best to proceed