Will there come a time when you need to help your dog with dementia leave this world?
I can help with that. My book has a whole chapter on the difficult question of whether and when to euthanize a dog with dementia. Because dogs with cognitive decline are sometimes still physically healthy otherwise, this question, which is always difficult, can be even harder.
I let my little Cricket go on May 31, 2013. Here is an article on how I made the decision. I tell the story in full in my book, and two other people generously shared their stories of how they made the decisions for their own dogs.
Quality of Life Calculators
These quality of life calculators can help you assess your beloved dog’s whole life situation. Often these calculators bring up conditions we haven’t considered.
- Villalobos Quality of Life Scale: Add up numerical points to determine your dog’s overall quality of life
- Quality of Life Scale for Pets: An online quality of life calculator from Journeys Home
- How Do I Know When It’s Time?: Quality of life scale from The Ohio State University
- Create a Custom Quality of Life Scale for Your Dog: This blog post links to a template you can use to create your own scale in consultation with your vet
Book on Euthanasia
I highly recommend the following book. It was a real comfort to me as I assessed and reassessed little Cricket’s quality of life.
Facing Farewell is a comprehensive guide to making the hard decision, but in addition describes the euthanasia process in detail and helps you know ahead of time what to discuss with the veterinarian and what to expect.
Other Helpful Articles about Making the Decision
- ASPCA’s End of Life Care FAQ: What to expect in your pet’s final days and how best to help
- Let’s Talk: When is it Time to Say Good-Bye to Your Dog?: Commentary on the Villalobos scale (above) and links to other articles
- American Humane Society: Euthanasia: Making the Decision Knowing when it’s time, saying goodbye, what to expect
Finally, here is a piece by a physician on grieving for a dog. I think he makes some very wise points.