None of us pet owners want to think about the end of our pets life, but it is the unfortunate reality we all face. Many of us hope for a “natural death”, just like we would hope for any member of our family. Mainly because most pet owners can’t fathom the idea of approving the euthanization of their beloved pet. This hope is often not reality because in most cases, this would only prolong their suffering, which can be easily overlooked by pet owners because animals are so much better at handling pain than we are.

Dr. Alice Villalobos, a well-known oncology veterinarian in Hermosa Beach, Calif., created “pawspice” which is an animal hospice program. Pawspice helps to extend the quality of life for pets. She has also created a tool to help owners understand when it is time by following the seven indicators, or HHHHHMM scale. Pet owners are asked to consider a rating of 0 (very poor) to 10 (best) for each of the following:

Hurt: Is the pet’s pain well managed and is it breathing well on its own?
Hunger: Can the pet eat well on its own or does it need help?
Hydration: Can the pet still drink water to stay hydrated?
Hygiene: Can the pet still maintain proper hygiene or are bed sores
Happiness: Does your pet still want to enjoy things?
Mobility: Can the patient still get up and move or is assistance needed?
More: Is there still a healthy human-animal connection with more good days than bad?

By using this sale, pet owners can better gauge how their pet is doing, with a goal in mind of a score which is 35 or higher. As this number begins to decline, pet owners can begin to make their euthanasia plans for a peaceful passing. Knowing they have done what they can to minimize suffering and prolonging their pets life as long as they can.

It is never an easy or pleasant decision for any pet owner or veterinarian, but it will be the right one when it is the right time. We want your pet’s passing to be as peaceful as possible because we understand how difficult this decision can be. We are here to answer any questions you may have about end of life care and services for your pet here in Ellicott City, MD and will help you, your family and your pet prepare.