Quality of Life Scale for DogsMay 30, 2021 2021-06-14 11:22
Quality of Life Scale for Dogs
Table of Contents
Assessing your dog’s quality of life
One of the hardest – but most important – responsibilities of pet ownership is to know when your dog might be nearing the end of his life. It is never easy to make the decision to help our pups transition to a more peaceful place.
You are probably asking yourself how to assess your dog’s quality of life, and how much he still enjoys his days. This test allows you to get a quick overview over your pup’s wellbeing, and the best next step on your journey together.
Quality of Life Scale Calculator
What defines “quality of life” for a dog?
“Quality of life” describes a number of factors to consider when it comes to making educated decisions about euthanasia of a dog (or other pet). Most dog owners face an assessment of their pup’s quality of life as he is advancing in age and his body is slowly becoming weaker and less capable.
However, some dogs might also face a low quality of life earlier on in their life. Here are the most common reasons for that:
Severe illness or injury
If your dog is suffering from a severe illness or sustained difficult-to-heal injuries, you might have to consider his quality of life, and potential for healing, long before he reaches his senior years.
Even very young and previously healthy dogs can become quite sick, and sadly not all conditions have a known or effective cure.
If your pup has suffered a traumatic injury, you might have to consider whether he still have sufficient quality of life even if he is very young. Car accidents, attacks by other dogs or complicated fractures can significantly impact the outlook on the QoL.
Extreme behavioral issues
In rare cases, behavioral problems may be so extreme that they significantly impact the quality of life for both dog and owner. These issues usually evolve around reactivity and aggression, which can stem from a number of different causes.
Dogs can be extremely fear-aggressive to the point where simply handling them in a day-to-day routine is impossible. These dogs might spend their lives in a corner of one room, unable to interact normally in any way. They may have a bite history and have shown no signs of improvement when treated both with behavior modification programs as well as medication.
This type of extreme fear aggression is sometimes seen in severely traumatized rescue dogs. If no improvement is made after about 6 months of implementing training protocols, it might be time to consider behavioral euthanasia.
Other dogs show outright and unprovoked aggression. This is sometimes seen even if there is no known history of abuse or trauma. Some breeds are more likely to show this level of significant escalation with serious bites.
When owning such a dog, the life usually evolves around managing him in a way that he poses minimal risk to other humans and dogs. Sometimes this means that the dog can only spend time indoors and never go on a walk or have his exercise and activity needs met.
If the dog is so aggressive and dangerous, it might be time to consider his quality of life as well. If there is no positive outlook on his behavioral future and no possibility to ensure adequate daily exercise and enrichment, a difficult conversation might need to be had with your veterinarian.
It is actually very rare that dogs exhibit a level of aggression that it warrants behavioral euthanasia. This decision must never be made lightly.
An in-depth assessment of his quality of life is necessary. This should happen with a veterinarian and a behaviorist. In many cases, a modified management protocol already allows dog and owner to achieve a more relaxed and happier life together.