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jca's avatar

If you had a pet that had a chronic health condition that required more vet visits than the average, at what point would you put the pet to sleep?

Asked by jca (36043points) June 16th, 2011

What factors would you use in deciding whether or not to put a pet to sleep (euthanize)? At what point would you say “enough is enough” and decide it’s time to end the pet’s life?

I have a cat with a chronic condition, but I am deliberately keeping this question vague, as I don’t want it to be about my cat and her issues specifically, but just want to know in general what other Jellies would use in their decision making regarding this issue.

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19 Answers

WestRiverrat's avatar

When the pain of living outweighs the joy of life of the pet is what I use as a yardstick.

zenvelo's avatar

Anything that meant the pet couldn’t live a healthy life. I couldn’t have an animal that had a chronic condition that meant it couldn’t do what that kind of pet normally would do.

We had a cat that was on a daily pill for the last five years of it’s life. But in all other respects it led a normal life.

A couple of years ago the kids got a Maltese puppy. They adored it, but after its first real physical, we found out it had a heart problem. a CAT scan showed it was missing a heart chamber. The vet said he could operate, but it was doubtful it would live beyond a year. we cut off all further care then, and took it back to the breeder.

GladysMensch's avatar

The animal goes when the bills start affecting my finances to the point where I need another job. I’d cut back on some things, or sell some stuff if it meant the animal could lead a relatively normal life.

dannyc's avatar

I even did acupuncture for my dog who, truthfully, I knew was done at 16. But one day soon thereafter, I could see she was suffering, and stumbling, and difficult as it was, I knew I had to put her down. I weighed my need for her companionship with her need to complete what was a fantastic life of an amazing companion.

Coloma's avatar

I just went through this and, sadly, put my darling 15 month old kitten down to FIP.
I had never had this experience before. He went from a solid, stocky, full of energy, playful guy of 11 lbs. to a wasting away 9 lbs. in just a short 5–6 weeks. There is no cure for the disease, a mutated form of the Corona virus that most cats are exposed to with no effect.

I spent $800 in 3 weeks and had to put him to sleep 9 days ago now.

If there is no cure, and the animal is going to be uncomfortable or suffering or wasting away, I think euthanasia is the kindest choice. I have had other pets that had manageable conditions and I have managed them, but, dependent on your finances, and quality of life for the animal, it is a personal call, as always.

Bellatrix's avatar

When I felt my pet was suffering, there was no long term solution to their suffering and I realised I was keeping the pet alive because I could not let it go.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

As soon as I realized that my pet’s suffering and deterioration could no longer be controlled or prevented and the only reason to delay was to spare me the loss of my animal companion.

plethora's avatar

Having owned a $10,000 Yorkie because my ex (when married) would not even consider putting the dog down, my standards are a bit stringent. Certainly, if the pets quality of life was suffering, I would put it down. And I think I most certainly would have a maximum on vet visits and/or all the other costly little things that animals get these days.

First, though, I would get a breed or Mix that tended not to have excess health problems.

ucme's avatar

Been there done that. When the look in their eyes just screams out for help, it’s time :¬(

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

If the animal was diabetic for instance,I would consider putting it down if it started to show signs of kidney failure.I would not keep something alive that was suffering.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I have a disabled relative with a dog that has been taking prednisone for 5 years and is now overweight, has weak bones, and is in need of a hip replacement. If it were my dog, it would put it to sleep. But my relative is asking me to pay for the surgery. (because I have the money and she does not.)
If I don’t help, I will be labeled the bad (cheap, selfish, cruel) guy. Even though I wouldn’t do it if it were my dog.

john65pennington's avatar

Dannyc, great answer. I will soon be facing the same situation with my 12 year old border collie. This will be more than a sad day in my family. When Mikey is hurting more than he is happy….....a major decision will have to be made.

syz's avatar

There are two major factors to consider; the quality of life of the pet, and the financial constraints of the caretaker.

If you have unlimited funds and can continue treatment, that doesn’t mean that you should if the animal has a poor quality of life.

Coloma's avatar


Don’t fall for the emotional blackmail if you really don’t want to help.
I would NEVER lay some guilt trip on someone to pay for my pets health care.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@Coloma : From what I’ve seen of @worriedguy on this site he’s a considerate intelligent person, who has probably considered all of the ramifications of his choices and would not necessarily react out of guilt, but would make a decision based on the future consequences of any action as relates to the family dynamic, and the importance of those relationships. Give the guy some credit.

Coloma's avatar


Of course, I was not insinuating otherwise, just making conversation and adding my 2 cents.
I am sure he is more than capable as a big boy of making his decisions on this matter. Just sayin’ some people and their reasoning escapes me.
Give me some credit! lol

chyna's avatar

@worriedguy is an engineer. He would only make an informed decision, not make one out of any type of guilt.

Coloma's avatar


Maybe, but being an engineer has nothing to do with family guilt trips, the most logical minds can bend under family guilt trips. ;-)

Plucky's avatar

When the pet has more bad days than good days. I think you will know it when the time comes.

A question similar to this one was asked last November. It may help.

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