Is putting my pet to sleep really the right thing to do?

January 27, 2024by sacvalleyvet

Is putting my pet to sleep really the right thing to do?

Sacramento Valley Veterinary Services

Sacramento In Home Pet Euthanasia

Sacramento Mobile Pet Euthanasia

Making the decision to euthanize a beloved, family pet can be one of the most painful

decisions throughout the entire journey of pet companionship. While euthanasia has been referred to as many things from “putting my dog to sleep” or “putting my cat down,” the term “euthanasia” literally translates to “good death” in Latin. Good death!?? How can such a sad event literally mean good death? It can when you and I, as animal lovers and pet owners, have a better understanding of why the decision must be made for the well-being of our pets.

From the day we bring the sweet, furry bundle into our home, we make a promise to do right by them, especially when it counts the most – at the end. This decision is never easy, but it is our obligation to give them peace after they have given us a lifetime of unconditional love and companionship. As a pet’s quality of life begins to gradually decline, many owners will begin to see end-of-life care at some time point, off in the horizon. Some owners will start with a Google search, beginning to quietly look at online quizzes or questionnaires for guidance on this terribly painful topic. Owners who have an established relationship with a veterinarian may schedule a Quality of Life consult to help them discern what “good” or “poor” quality of life looks like. And some owners choose to seek the wisdom of a close friend or relative to help them objectively assess of their pet’s quality of life as oftentimes it is so very painful to be objective and honest when evaluating our own dearly loved companion. All of these tools are extremely valuable, but at the end of the day, making the choice to euthanize a pet is an extremely personal decision for every owner.

Frequently, owners fear saying good-bye too soon. They worry that their pet may “make a come-back” or that their pet’s current illness is transient. Some owners harbor guilt that they did not do enough medically to help their pet live longer or better. These are all completely normal questions to ask ourselves. Do not allow the “what if’s” make you question yourself needlessly and endlessly. Let the judgement and guilt go; you are here, now. Be gentle on yourself and know that whatever decisions you make for your pet are coming from a loving place.

A common misconception is that letting your pet pass away “naturally” is better than humane

euthanasia. While “natural” death may sound better than having to “put your cat down” or “put your dog to sleep,” it is sadly very far from the truth. While every pet owner that has struggled with making the decision to euthanize a pet has hoped that their pet will just die quietly one night in their sleep, Mother Nature is rarely kind when it comes to death. Watching discomfort and disease take any mammal can be agonizingly brutal to watch or experience. It can be slow and oftentimes, very painful. Thankfully, veterinary medicine has been given the privilege of changing what can be a harsh and uncomfortable experience into something kind and peaceful. It is not only our obligation as pet owners, it is a truly beautiful honor to give a beloved animal rest and peace from current pain and inevitable suffering. A week too soon is always better than a day too late.

Our pets add so much beauty and richness to our lives without even knowing it. They give us comfort,

companionship, and loyalty. They entertain us endlessly with their personalities and antics. They soften

difficult times without judgement, and share in our joyous experiences. They teach us to seize the moment when that tasty morsel drops on the floor, or a nap needs to be taken in a sliver of sunshine. They inhabit deep places in our hearts and stay there, unconditionally. This is why our pets deserve the grace and dignity of a peaceful transition before suffering. A good death, is the kindest last gift we can give them.

Ashley Froschauer, RVT


West Coast Memorial Services

UC Davis Veterinary Medicine

Service Locations:

Arden, Downtown Sacramento, Elk Grove, Florin, Freeport, Galt, Herald, Isleton, Land Park, Lock, Lockeford, Lodi, Meadowview, Midtown Sacramento, North Laguna, Oak Park, Rancho Murieta, Rancho Cordova, Rosemonet, Ryde, Sloughhouse, South Sacramento, West Sacramento, Wilton

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