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Deciding When

In Loving Arms In-home Euthanasia

Maggie, Deciding when for pets, deciding when euthanasia, in-home veterinary services
My beautiful Maggie 1997-2012

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."

                 - Anatole France                                                              

       Having to say goodbye to our cherished pets is an extremely emotional and heart breaking time. Often, the most difficult decision to make is knowing when it is time to let go. Your pet may be suffering from a terminal illness and their quality of life is fading. Or, they are enduring chronic pain that can no longer be effectively controlled. Being able to relieve them of pain and suffering is an act of compassion. Your pet will likely have good days and bad days. When the bad days predominate, it is an indication that your pet is no longer enjoying a positive quality of life. At this time, it may be an act of kindness to let go too soon rather than too late. If you are having difficulty knowing when it’s time, we will endeavor to help guide you through this challenging process. If desired, we offer an in home a quality of life/pre-euthanasia consultation which includes an examination of your pet and discussion regarding quality of life issues.


        Quality of Life scales can be used to help you determine when your pet is no longer enjoying life and euthanasia should be considered. These scales take in to consideration Physical, Emotional and Social elements that are valuable indicators of your pet's well-being.

Physical considerations:

Pain - Is your pet experiencing pain or having trouble breathing?

Mobility - Is your pet able to get up without help and walk comfortably?

Appetite - How is your pets appetite - does he/she eat willingly?

Hydration - Is your pet drinking enough water to maintain adequate hydration?

Hygiene - Is your pet able to keep himself/herself clean?


Emotional considerations:

Does your pet seem to be happy and engage in favorite activities that bring joy ?


Social considerations:

Does your pet show interest in interacting with the family or other pets? Is your pet aware of the surroundings, or is your pet becoming isolated? 

       The following websites offer more information on quality of life considerations:

Association of Pet Loss and Bereavement -

Honoring the Bond -

The following documents provide useful information for determining the level of pain your pet may be experiencing:

How Do I Know When It Is Time?
Pain Scale - Dogs
Pain Scale - Cats
Feline Grimace Scale
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