Critter Calls Mobile Vet

5129 Evergreen Way, Ste 275
Everett, WA 98203



Quality of Life

How do we know when is the right time?

Choosing the time to say good-bye to a pet can be a heart-breaking experience, often accompanied by feelings of guilt particularly for long-term care givers.  There is no formula or precise calculation that can determine exactly when this should be done; the best way to make this decision is to consult with your regular veterinarian who will evaluate your pet’s medical history, physical condition, quality of life, and prognosis.

Because dogs and cats can be very adept at hiding their ailments, some physical signs to consider which may be indicators of pain/discomfort are increased respiratory rate, increased heart rate, loss of appetite, lack of mobility, incontinence, and disinterest in the family and/or things or activities that were important previously.

The considerable body of research on evaluating a pet's quality of life has been condensed into the following chart.

Quality of Life (HHHHHMM Scale)

Score Criterion
0-10 HURT  Adequate pain control (including breathing ability)
0-10 HUNGER  Is the pet eating enough? Does the pet require hand-feeding or a feeding tube?
0-10 HYDRATION  Is the pet dehydrated? Does it need subcutaneous fluids?
0-10 HYGIENE  Pet needs to be brushed and clean, especially after elimination
0-10 HAPPINESS  Does the pet express joy/interest? Does it respond to its environment? Does the pet show signs of boredom/loneliness/anxiety/fear?
0-10 MOBILITY  Can the pet get up without assistance does the pet want to go for a walk? Is the pet experiencing seizures/stumbling?
0-10 MORE GOOD THAN BAD  When bad days start to outnumber good days, the quality of life becomes compromised and euthanasia needs to be considered
Total A total of 35 points is considered acceptable for a quality of life score.


Two conditions that I will always recommend either taking the pet into its regular veterinarian or an emergency clinic immediately, or making the decision to let go are 1) when the pet will no longer drink water (dehydration will only worsen their condition and dehydrated pets feel very sick), and/or 2) when the pet is having difficulty breathing, especially open mouthed breathing or abnormally heavy panting.  Both of these conditions are very important to address immediately.

Please feel free to contact us if you require some guidance about making this important decision.

Euthanasia Services
Go to euthanasia page.


 Hearts grow bigger