Euthanasia for Your Pet – How will i know when its time?

Many people assume that euthanasia must be the hardest part of my job as a veterinarian and surprisingly (and truthfully), it isn’t. I see it as gift we can give to animals that are at the end of their life and are suffering.  Many clients ask me if I think it’s time for them to euthanize their elderly or sick pet. This is always hard to answer. So I wanted to share with you some different ways to assess quality of life at home to help you come to a decision if you are considering euthanasia for your beloved sick or elderly pet.

1) It’s important to realize that animals live in the moment; they will experience the same joy when you walk through the door whether you leave the house for 5 minutes, or whether you leave for a 12 hour shift. So it’s important to keep that in mind- really assess how your pet is doing at this moment in time.

2) Some questions to ask yourself: Why do I think it might be time to euthanize? What are my fears concerning euthanasia? Am I making this decision because it is best for my pet?

3) The Rule of “Five Good Things” (courtesy of Dr Andy Roark): Think back over the course of your pet’s life and consider your pet’s top 5 things he or she loves to do. Write them down. If she or he can no longer do three or more of them, this is a good indicator that their quality of life has been impacted to a point where euthanasia should be considered.

4) “HHHHHMM” Quality of life scale (courtesy of Dr. Alice Villabos). The five H’s and two M’s are: Hurt, Hunger, Hydration, Happiness, Hygiene (ability to keep the pet clean from bodily waste), Mobility and More (as in more good days then bad). It’s recommended to grade each category on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being the best). If the majority are 5 or above, then continuing care is acceptable.

5) Keeping a daily diary is a good idea as well- here is a link to one:  https://www.lapoflove.com/Pet_Quality_of_Life_Scale.pdf

The decision to humanely euthanize a beloved pet is never easy but hopefully these tools help you to better assess your pet’s quality of life and come to a decision that is best for you and your pet. Here at Acadia Veterinary Hospital we offer home euthanasia and home hospice care. Hospice care allows us to visit with your terminally ill or geriatric pet in their own environment to better assess quality of life, and to help us give better recommendations to help with their care and comfort. We also perform home euthanasia, so your pet can pass peacefully in their home, where they are the most comfortable.


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Last updated: September 11, 2020

Chers clients,

Nous sommes tous conscients de la situation que nous avons vécue dans les derniers mois avec l'arrivée du Covid -19. Due aux défis causés par ces circonstances, nous avons décidé de fermer temporairement l'Hôpital Vétérinaire Acadia. A partir de lundi le 14 septembre, 2020, notre équipe sera consolidé avec celle de l’Hôpital Moncton Animal Hospital.

Dans les jours à suivre nous communiquerons avec nos clients qui ont des rendez-vous & chirurgies prévues afin de les re-planifier à l'Hôpital Moncton Animal Hospital avec Dr. Boutet.

Nous vous remercions à l’avance pour votre patience et votre collaboration pendant cette période hors de l’ordinaire. Nous souhaitons que vous, votre famille et vos animaux soyez sains et saufs.


Votre équipe de l'hôpital vétérinaire Acadia


To our valued Acadia Veterinary Hospital clients:

We are all aware of the rapidly changing situation we have faced over the last few months. Due to the ongoing challenges brought on by COVID-19, we have decided to temporarily close Acadia Veterinary Hospital. This is effective starting Monday September 14, 2020. We have consolidated the team with our Moncton Animal Hospital location so that we can continue to care for your pets.

In the coming days, we will contact clients who have appointments and surgeries booked to reschedule them to Moncton Animal Hospital with Dr Boutet.

Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding. We hope that you, your family and pets all continue to stay healthy and safe.

The dedicated team at Acadia Veterinary Hospital