JOURNEYS Quality of Life Scale

Dr. Katie Hilst developed this Quality-of-Life Scale after hundreds of conversations with pet owners discussing the decision to humanely euthanize their pet. Sometimes, after the discussion, people realized that their pet was still enjoying life. Other times, people realized their pet was suffering more than they were aware, so they choose the final act of caring.

In either case, the JOURNEYS scale is meant to get you thinking and considering the factors that affect your pet’s happiness and sense of well-being. There are no hard and fast rules, although in general a higher score is better. A score of 80 is a happy, healthy pet. A score of 8 is a pet that is suffering. A low score on any of the individual parts may also be a reason to consider euthanasia. Please use this as a starting place to explore your pet’s quality of life and address your concerns with our veterinarians.

Please use this link to download the JOURNEYS scale in PDF format. The PDF version includes detailed examples of the possible numerical scores. You may want to print the document and use it to facilitate a conversation with family members.

J – Jumping & Mobility

O – Ouch or Pain

U – Uncertainty & Understanding

R – Respiration & Breathing

N – Neatness & hygiene

E – Eating & Drinking

Y – You

S – Social Ability