Many find it helpful to engage in advance-care planning for their animals to align ongoing veterinary care with their family’s and animal’s individual goals and values. We highly encourage you to consider both your own and your animal’s values as early in their life as possible, before you may be in a crisis situation or contending with chronic illness. Some people find it helpful to begin by keeping a journal for their pet as a daily record and reflections on any changes noticed. Contact our veterinary social worker for a free session to help plan for your animal’s future and goals of care over their lifetime based on your family’s values.
Consider these valuable animal-related quality of life tools to start planning now:
- How do I know when it’s time? Assessing Quality of Life for Your Companion Animal and Making End-of-Life Decisions
Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center: Honoring the Bond
- Veterinary Social Work End-of-Life Values and Goals Workshee
University of Tennessee College of Social Work and College of Veterinary Medicine: Veterinary Social Work
Questions to consider as you plan for a lifetime of care for your animal:
- What are your pet’s unique qualities and activities? (playing with toys/other pets, greeting family, going for walks, dog park, barking at the door, cuddling)
- How do they show their comfort and joy?
- How do you define living with quality for yourself? What may your animal define as living with quality?
- What does a good day look like for your animal? Bad day? Mark a calendar or fill a jar to record and reflect.
- What costs will I choose to incur for the care of my animal? What limits do I have?
- Who else do I need to consider when planning for this animal?
- What financial and other responsibilities do I have in my life?
- How much time can I devote to the care of this animal?
- Who can I engage to help me when I need to make major decisions for my animal?