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Pet Euthanasia vs. Natural Death:

We have many clients say that they want their pet to pass away naturally at home.

What does it really mean to let you pet die naturally?

We all would like our pets to go to sleep and just not wake up. Unfortunately like in the human world this type of death is rare.

Watching a beloved companion fade away (and sometimes being in a lot of pain) is not easy.

In nature animals that are sick or no longer able to keep up become prey. The minute we take a pet in and make them a member of our family, we change the way they are looked after.

We found this checklist on the website

https://transitionsvet.com/quality-of-life/

and we hope it is helpful in determining the quality of life of your pet and what should be done.

 

Appetite:

My pet now…*

eats normally- i.e. eats the same type of food, and finishes in the same amount of time compared to 6 months ago

will still eat regular food but takes longer to finish

does not want to eat regular food but will still eat treats or people food

acts interested in food but walks away from the bowl without eating

cannot be enticed to eat no matter what I offer them

 

Hydration:

My pet now…*

drinks, and urinates the same amount as they did 6 months ago

has had a minor change (<25% volume) in the amount they drink, or frequency/ amount of urination compared to 6 months ago

has had a noticeable change (25-50%) in the volume they drink, but their urination seems normal. Feces are a little harder/ drier than they were 6 months ago, but defecation frequency is normal

has had a change of >50% in the volume they drink, and urinates abnormally-frequency, volume, or ease of urination has changed. Feces are harder, drier and less frequent than 6 months ago.

has had a change of >75% in the volume they drink, and urinates abnormally- frequency, volume, or ease of urination has changed. Feces are hard, dry and infrequent.

 

Weight loss:

My pet now…*

weighs and looks the same as 6 months ago

has lost some weight but does not look/ feel any different than 6 months ago

has lost weight, and I can feel their skeleton more prominently than I did 6 months ago

has lost weight, and I can see the change in how they look compared to 6 months ago

has lost >20% of body weight compared to 6 months ago, and I can easily see and feel their bones

 

 Appearance:

My pet’s coat now…*

looks sleek and shiny

is a little dull, but I still notice my pet grooming

has changed in appearance-e.g. duller, thinner, skin is more flaky

has changed in appearance and I do not notice my pet grooming as regularly

is dull and lifeless and I have not noticed my pet grooming

 

Toileting for cats:

My pet now…

Uses the litter box normally

Uses the litter box most of the time, but will urinate/ defecate in other places <50% of the time

Urinates/ defecates outside the litter box >50% of the time

Does not use the litter box for urination and/or defecation

Will urinate and/or defecate where they are sleeping or resting

 

Toileting for dogs:

My pet now…

Urinates and defecates normally

Urinates/ defecates normally most of the time but I will find urine or feces in the house <50% of the time

Has changes in the frequency or appearance of their urination or defecation

Appears to have difficulty urinating or defecating, or will urinate/defecate in the house >50% of the time

Will urinate and/or defecate where they are sleeping or resting

 

Mobility for cats:

My pet now…

Moves around normally, and jumps/ climbs stairs as much as 6 months ago

Seems to have some difficulty moving around, and is less willing to jump than 6 months ago

Spends longer lying than they used to, but will still get up when I come to the door, or to eat and drink

No longer jumps or climbs stairs, and is reluctant to rise for food or water, or for rewards they used to enjoy-e.g. treat, owner arriving home from work

Can no longer get up

 

Mobility for dogs:

My pet now…

Moves around normally, and walks/ climbs stairs as much as 6 months ago

Seems to have some difficulty moving around, and is less willing to go on walks, or takes shorter walks than they did 6 months ago.

Spends longer lying than they used to, but will still get up when I come to the door, or to eat and drink

Is not interested in going on walks, no longer climbs stairs and is reluctant to rise for food or water, or for rewards they used to enjoy-e.g. treat, owner arriving home from work

Can no longer get up without assistance or falls regularly

 

Activity level for cats:

My pet now…

Plays and interacts with the family as much as 6 months ago

Will get up to eat and drink, and/or to greet me, but is more reluctant to play than 6 months ago

Shows interest when I get home, but will not get up

Is hard to find when I get home, and is hiding more

Shows no interest in me, and is not interested in any stimuli- treats etc.

 

Activity level for dogs:

My pet now…

Plays and interacts with the family as much as 6 months ago

Will get up to greet me, but is more reluctant to play than 6 months ago

Shows interest when I get home, but will not get up

Does not show any interest in their favorite toy, and will not get up to greet me

Shows no interest in me getting home, and is not interested in any stimuli- treats, stranger coming to the house etc.

 

Comfort level:

My pet now…

Does not seem uncomfortable

Seems uncomfortable <25% of the time, i.e. is slow to rise in morning, limps only at end of walk.

Has difficulty getting up, or lying down, or has a limp

Seems uncomfortable >50% of the time

Shows overt signs of pain- vocalization, change in temperament, hiding

 

Sleep:

My pet now…

Have not changed

Have changed; they sleep more during the day, but nighttime sleeping is the same as 6 months ago

Have changed; they sleep more and are harder to rouse than they were 6 months ago

Have changed; my sleep is disrupted by their nocturnal behavior some nights

Are significantly different than they were 6 months ago and my sleep is disrupted >50% of the time

 

Quality of life:

My pet now…

Has not had any change in their quality of life

Has had some change in their quality of life, but the good times outnumber the bad >75% of the time

Has had a change in their quality of life, and I am concerned about their quality of life 50% of the time

Has had a significant change in the quality of their life 75% of the time, and I am starting to think about euthanasia

Has more bad days than good days, and I am very concerned about their quality of life, I have thought about euthanasia a lot

 

 

Home Euthanasia has become increasingly sought after and we have several veterinarians in the Ottawa Region providing this service. Even your own veterinarian might be able to help.

Our pets are our responsibility and as pet parents we have to do what is right for them.

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