How will I know when it’s time to euthanize my pet?

Making the decision to let your pet go is a personal and very difficult decision. There are no clear cut answers, but you can follow a few general guidelines.

Prepare Yourself

  • Talk with your vet to be sure you have the best possible understanding of your pet’s current health condition and most likely prognosis.
  • If possible, develop a plan in advance so you will be better prepared if your pet’s condition worsens. Ideally, you should make note of your pet’s “normal” behavior, habits, etc. while he is still more or less healthy. You are then in a better position to observe if any of these behaviors change at some point. Drastic changes in behavior, for example, not eating, not playing, etc. can signal a downturn in your pet’s condition.

Pain Control

  • Be aware of any actions or behaviors that may signal your pet is in pain. Talk with your vet about any changes you observe. Pain control is of the utmost importance. If your pet is in constant pain that cannot be significantly reduced or relieved through medical intervention, then it may be time to let him go.

Quality of Life

  • If your pet can no longer do many of the things he used to enjoy doing, due to physical problems and/or pain, his quality of life is less than ideal. For instance, he may not be able to walk, go up steps, may become incontinent, or lack appetite due to disease or some other condition. If quality of life cannot be significantly improved through medicine or other modifications to diet, environment, etc., it may be time to let him go.


In the end, it is your personal decision when it is time to say good-bye to your pet. Work in partnership with your vet to assure that your pet’s remaining time with you is the best it can be, and know that you have done all you could do when the time does arrive for you to say good-bye.