PetLossAtHome.com co-owner, Rob Twyning, is also a pet owner and knows as well as most that, as our pets age, we often exercise a measure of denial when we think our pets are aging. We think our beloved dog or cat is doing great but might just be having a bad day here and there. Twyning encourages a more unbiased view of your pet’s health.
Keep a calendar
A wall or desk calendar serves as a statistical tool for a quality of life chart. They’re always on sale except in December when retailers know most people buy one. Use a calendar that has at least one month per page. This monthly view helps you spot a trend.
Use colors or numbers – or both
The key to looking at a pet’s quality of life is you. You know your dog or cat. You know their eating, sleeping, and play patterns just like they know yours. (Be grateful they don’t keep a calendar on you.)
If you can, write the pet’s weight at the start of each month. It isn’t necessary to the daily view, but it’s a valuable hard number to evaluate health. The rest of the stats are less empirical: Near the end of each day, or the next morning, keep score with take an honest look at your pet. Look specifically at:
- Vocalizations (barking, growling, purring)
- Energy level
- Other tangible health signals like pottying, panting, or gait
- Socialization, as in if they were more clingy or isolated than usual
Score the day as a whole, taking into account all those factors. Use a color scale: Blue – for a really great day… Red for a really off day… Green, Yellow, and Orange for degrees in between. Another alternative is to use a 1-5 or 1-10 scale, the higher number being ‘best-day-ever’ territory. You can use either or both scales. What’s important is that over 30 days, 60, or 180, you can spot a trend.
Being objective helps you and your pet
A veterinarian is a great resource for your pet’s medical and mental well being. The vet can’t see your pet day-in and day-out the way you can. When you’re concerned about your pet’s immediate health, says Twyning, get to the vet right away. Over time, the chart can help cut through the emotion about how you feel about your pet and can be valuable in having a meaningful discussion with the family and your vet about ‘life in the years’ and ‘years in the life.’
To ask more questions, please reach out to Rob Twyning – Co-Founder, and include your city, state, or ZIP code so we can direct your questions to our local veterinarian team member in 50 metro areas.