When your companions grow older or you have received devastating news that your companion is terminally ill you may wish to assess their quality of life. There are several indicators that you should look out for –
Does your pet appear to be in pain?
Has there been a change in eating habits – eating more or less
Has there been a change in water intake – drinking more or less
Refusing treats or titbits
Have they lost weight – have they gained weight
Are they having difficulty eating – are they taking longer to eat
Sleeping more or less
Disturbed sleep – needing out for the toilet during the night or just restless
Finding different places to sleep than where they would usually sleep
Taking time to get comfortable
Are they interacting less with you
Are they spending more time alone?
Are they still playing with toys?
Do they still enjoy their walk?
Do they resist going out for a walk
Are they pacing around the room or from room to room?
Has their behaviour changed towards other dogs when outside
Do they still greet you in the same manner when you enter the home?
Are they still as mobile?
Has their posture or gait changed – a limp perhaps?
Are they licking at an area constantly?
Are they still grooming themselves?
Do they allow you to groom them?
Have you noticed a change in their eyesight (including a blue or cloudy tinge)
Are they showing signs of being uncomfortable when they stand up, move or settle down?
Is their movement restricted in anyway?
Have you noticed a deterioration in their hearing?
Does your companion seem confused and alter their daily routine
Has there been a change in their toilet habits
Has there been a change in their stools
Are they urinating more frequently?
Are they having accidents in the house?
When was the last time your pet saw a vet?
As pet carers we need to remain vigilant at all times when assessing the health of our pets as they can be exceptionally good at hiding pain. You may want to monitor your pet over a few days, but you should always consult your Vet if you think your pet is in pain or their quality of life is deteriorating. Just because a dog is wagging its tail is not an indication of quality of life.
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Dawn Murray, the founder of Living with Pet Bereavement, will have her new book published in April 2023 - 'A Guide to Pet Bereavement Counselling' will be a must for anyone looking to learn more about how to become a Pet Bereavement Counsellor or those looking to support bereaved pet carers either in a professional or informal setting. To pre-order a copy or to find out more please email email@example.com