Quality of life is not something most dog owners think a lot about, until their pet gets old or falls victim to a chronic illness.
When these things happen, pet owners begin to think about quality-of-life issues with their dog, specifically, whether it has declined to the point where it is better to put the animal to sleep than attempt to keep him alive. But there other questions involved as well, such as how to determine your pet’s quality of life, and how to know when the decline has become too great.
In order to help with these issues, veterinarians have broken down a dog’s quality of life into six general areas as a way of gauging more objectively your pet’s actual quality of life. It is intended as a guide in making decisions about his health, not a definitive test of whether to euthanize the animal or not.
Eating is something your dog no doubt greatly enjoys. But illness or age can affect his eating habits, robbing the animal of this fundamental pleasure. Can quality of life be improved with measures such as medications or a raised food bowl, or is the dog too frail for these to help?
- Social life
Dogs are tremendously social animals, and if your pet becomes debilitated to the point where he can no longer enjoy the company of humans or other animals, his quality of life will certainly decline. Can efforts be made to improve the situation or not? Although a dog can no longer run or play, can he still engage with toys or enjoy a massage?
Dogs love to run, and if your pet can no longer do this, it affects his quality of life. The severity again becomes an issue. Are there things you can do to help the dog become more active, such as physical therapy or medication?
Play is another important part of a dog’s life. If illness or age can prevent the dog from doing this, quality of life declines.
- Basic bodily functions
If the dog cannot relieve himself without help or has trouble breathing, this will obviously affect his quality of life. Is there anything that can be done to improve the problem or not?
These are all areas to take into consideration when thinking about quality of life and whether the decline is too great or whether steps can be taken to improve it.
Speaking of a dog’s joy in running, bring your pet here to HHHHHBarney’s Ranch the next timeyou go out of town for a day or overnight: he will love running around in our 4,000-square-foot outdoor dog run. Call us at (469) 273-1661 for more information.