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Chewy EditorialHealth / Wellness

Vet Q&A: Dr. Alice Villalobos Answers Your Questions on Pet Euthanasia and End-of-Life Care

It’s never easy to put a beloved old or sick pet down. How do you know it’s time to say goodbye? We spoke with Dr. Alice Villalobos, DVM, of Pawspice, a pet hospice service in Woodland Hills, California, to answer some of your questions on pet euthanasia and to provide guidance for navigating your pet’s final chapter.


What are signs that my pet is dying of old age?

A: When pets are dying of old age, they kind of give us a lot of indicators and signs, such as weakness and lethargy and pain, coughing, dehydration, inability to eat, listlessness. They don't care about their environment. So, at end of life, we're looking at quality of life as being in a decline.


What illnesses and/or conditions are “end of life” issues for pets?

A: End of life issues for pets are often organ failure, arthritis that's very painful, poor nerve and brain function and cancer.


How do I know when it’s time to put my pet down?


Well, it's all about quality of life, and if the quality of life is so poor that the pet's life is not worth living anymore, that would be the time.

Learn about the Quality of Life Scale, developed by Dr. Villalobos, here.


How can a veterinarian help make the decision whether to put my pet down?


Veterinarians can help people make decisions to put their pet down by helping them evaluate the quality of life, according to the quality of life scale. I am the good shepherd of my pet, and that I should not allow futile pain or suffering that's unnecessary, and that the veterinarian can help me transition my pet over the rainbow bridge.

As pet parents, it’s our responsibility to make the best decisions we can for our pets. If you think your pet’s quality of life is in decline or that it may be time to consider pet euthanasia, talk to your veterinarian about end of life options.

Read more:

In-Home Euthanasia: Putting a Pet Down at Home

Monkey’s House, a Hospice for Dogs That Provides Love and Care to Senior Dogs

Coping With the Loss of a Pet

By: Chewy Editorial