CVMA | Documents | Decision to Euthanize Depends on Answers to Several Questions

Decision to Euthanize Depends on Answers to Several Questions

October 23, 2012

When  trying to decide on whether or not to euthanize your pet, you need to ask some important questions:

  • Is your pet free from pain, distress, or serious discomfort which cannot be effectively controlled?
  • Is your pet able to walk and balance reasonably well?
  • Can it eat and drink enough for normal maintenance without difficulty and without vomiting and/or diarrhoea?
  • Is it free from inoperable tumours which cause pain or serious discomfort?
  • Is your pet able to breath without difficulty?
  • Can it urinate and defecate reasonably without serious difficulty or incontinence?
  • Can you as an owner cope physically and emotionally with any nursing care which may be

If the answer to any of the preceding questions is negative, and treatment is likely to be
unrewarding, you might want to consider euthanasia. 

Some other questions that must be given serious consideration are:

  • What is my pet's quality of life?
  • Is my pet's sense of dignity still intact, or is there a loss of dignity?

In the final analysis, euthanasia is performed to save the pet from unnecessary pain, as well as from the indignity and distress of a prolonged terminal illness. A pet's life should not be prolonged simply because an owner cannot bear to part with their pet. When confronted with the decision of whether or not to euthanize your pet, your veterinarian is best qualified to help you with this most important of decisions.