Taking the Toughest Call: Euthanizing Your Dog

Taking into account all factors before making this decision so they can make sure they're doing what's best for their beloved companion animal in their time of need.

Taking the Toughest Call: Euthanizing Your Dog
The time when you have to take the toughest call of Euthanizing your dog, you will have numerous things in your mind. Your pet dog gives you innumerable memories of laughter and joy and it is generally in his presence that you ink some of the best years of our lives. You love cuddling him, playing with him, seeing him run around you, relaxing with him and it goes without saying that he is a part of your family. His loyalty towards you is unquestionable, which is why a dog is widely recognized as a man’s best friend and an impeccable partner. Unfortunately, nature does not provide you with the luxury of having his companionship forever. Normally, the life expectancy of a dog is much shorter than that of humans. Often, the amount of time he is expected to spend alongside you is determined by the breed he belongs to. While dogs belonging to the large breeds usually live for around six to eight years, medium-sized dog breeds cease to exist after they attain the age of ten years or so. Interestingly, miniature dogs live longer as compared to their larger counterparts and have an average life span of about fifteen to eighteen years in most of the cases. In a nutshell, it is fair to say that you will outlive your dog if you yourself are not in the final stages of your life or are free from major disabilities or sickness. Losing your household pal will never be easy and the sight of seeing him become sick and old will undoubtedly be a heartbreaking scenario for you. There might arrive a situation when on one hand, you will want him to live longer while on the other hand, your conscience will beg you to relieve him from his miseries. It will be humane to let your conscience win when you know that your dog’s end is near, for suffering due to incurable health issues is the last thing that he deserves.

Euthanasia in Animals – What Does It Mean?

Humane euthanasia in animals refers to the process in which euthanasia pills or injections are used to put them down, or in simpler words, to let them die peacefully. Most of the veterinarians use pentobarbital in large doses, which first makes an animal unconscious and then stops the brain and heart functions. In short, it is a gentle and brief journey from being awake to sleep to coma to death. Veterinarians may perform this activity either at their clinic or at the pet owner’s home and it generally takes a just few minutes to get it done.

Quality of Life Scale – An Assessment

Veterinary oncologist Dr. Alice Villaobos came up with seven factors along with a numerical scale to make it easier for pet dog owners and the veterinarian in determining the right time to put a dog down. It is a simple yet scientific approach to comprehend a dog’s quality of life and it gives fairly accurate results on most of the occasions. Also known as the HHHHHMM Quality of Life Scale, each factor is given scores from 1 to 10, with 1 being the lowest point and 10 being the highest point. The HHHHHMM Quality of Life Scale comprises of the following seven factors:
  • Hurt: There are many gestures and signs which will enable you to know whether your dog is currently in pain or not, which includes panting, whining, tail tucking, inability to rest comfortably, and immobility. High scores are to be attributed if your dog has no pain or normal age-related pain, whereas low scores are to be attributed if even strict medications will be a futile effort to keep him alive.
  • Hunger: If your dog is reluctant to eat, losing weight rapidly, or is vomiting on a regular basis, it means that his internal organs are giving up. You can go for injections and even spoon-feeding him to see if his situation improves. In case his appetite continues to falter even after the assistance from you or the medicines, you should consider putting him to sleep.
  • Hydration: A low score is to be given if your dog is unwilling to drink water or if he stays dehydrated. Water is as essential as food for any pet and indications of reluctance to consume a sufficient amount of water by your dearest buddy implies that you have a big problem to worry about.
  • Hygiene: Maintaining a proper hygiene is as important for your dog’s health as is for you. It is common to see pressure sores in untreatable dogs which leads to serious infections. Further, he suffers from incontinence problems and faces issues while urinating, making his chances of survival look bleak and slim. The worse the level of hygiene, the lower should be the marks to be assigned in the check-list.
  • Happiness: Dogs normally have a fun-loving, affectionate, and energetic behaviors on offer. But if your dog no longer shows a joyful attitude and rather seems depressed most of the time, you must talk to your pet’s veterinarian. Do not confuse yourself with a couple of odd bad days to judge the level of happiness of your dog.
  • Mobility: A healthy dog needs no assistance to move around but if he has become immobile due to age-related issues or any other health problems then it becomes difficult for him even perform basic activities like walking or climbing stairs.
  • More Good Days than Bad Days: This factor requires an honest assessment from pet owners regarding their pet’s overall health condition over an extended period of time.
The HHHHHMM Quality Of Life Scale helps pet owners understand when their beloved pet's quality of life has deteriorated beyond repair and they need help making this difficult decision. It also helps them understand when euthanasia may be necessary for their pet's well-being so they can make an informed decision about their pet's care without feeling guilty about it later on. Euthanizing your pet can be one of life's toughest decisions but it can also be one of its most humane acts when done out of love for them. It's important that pet owners take into account all factors before making this decision so they can make sure they're doing what's best for their beloved companion animal in their time of need.
Wanda Rater
Wanda Rater

Avid tv junkie. Freelance bacon aficionado. Certified beer lover. Typical food specialist. Infuriatingly humble bacon expert. Hipster-friendly travel lover.

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