Not before their time

Not before their time

What do I say to owners of healthy, geriatric cats and dogs who ask when they should euthanize their pets?
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Apr 01, 2009

Q: What do I say to owners of healthy, geriatric cats and dogs who ask when they should euthanize their pets?


Sharon DeNayer
"Start by reminding them that old age isn't a disease," says Sharon DeNayer, a Firstline Editorial Advisory Board member and practice manager at Windsor Veterinary Clinic in Windsor, Colo. "We can do many simple, inexpensive things to help geriatric patients be comfortable and enjoy high-quality lives," she says.

Next, figure out clients' underlying reasons. "If a client asked this question, he obviously has some concerns about his pet," DeNayer says. Answer the questions you can, and assist the client in making an appointment with the doctor to address those you can't. When it does come time for clients to consider euthanasia, DeNayer says the best decision-making tool to use is the Quality of Life Scale developed by Dr. Alice Villalobos.