Signs of Pain and Discomfort

What To Look For

Understanding Your Pet’s Quality of Life

The first signs of a problem are generally a change in behavior for your pet. The change can be small, and take place gradually over time, so many pet owners often miss the signs until the condition is relatively serious. 

The guide below can help you understand where your pet is in the process.

*Each pet is unique, each pet has their own set of circumstances that lead a pet owner to the euthanasia decision.


Adequate pain control & breathing ability is of top concern. Trouble breathing outweighs all concerns. Is the pet’s pain well managed? Can the pet breathe properly? Is oxygen supplementation necessary?


Is the pet eating enough? Does hand feeding help? Does the pet need a feeding tube?


The pet should be brushed and cleaned, particularly after eliminations. Avoid pressure sores with soft bedding and keep all wounds clean.


Does the pet express joy and interest? Is the pet responsive to family, toys, etc.? Is the pet depressed, lonely, anxious, bored or afraid? Can the pet’s bed be moved to be close to family activities?


Can the pet get up without assistance? Does the pet need human or mechanical help (e.g., a cart)? Does the pet feel like going for a walk? Is the pet having seizures or stumbling? (Some caregivers feel euthanasia is preferable to amputation, but an animal with limited mobility yet still alert, happy and responsive can have a good quality of life as long as caregivers are committed to helping their pet.)

More Bad Days Than Good:

When bad days outnumber good days, quality of life might be too compromised. When a healthy human-animal bond is no longer possible, the caregiver must be made aware that the end is near. The decision for euthanasia needs to be made if the pet is suffering. If death comes peacefully and painlessly at home, that is okay.

(Originally from

If you recognize some of the symptoms above, we encourage you to call us for an initial consultation.

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