Is putting a pet to sleep a sin?

Hi there,

I was just wondering, is it a sin to put a dog or cat to sleep? If they are old and have a bunch of health problems and such. I’m simply curious. My dog is young and healthy so this is not an issue for me. Should you put the animal out of it’s misery, or should you let it die naturally? Any thoughts are appreciated.



Killing an animal in and of itself is not a sin. There can be sinful reasons for killing an animal but the one you describe probably doesn’t fit in that category. God gave us dominion over animals and part of that is taking responsibility for those animals. If you own an animal you should take care of it, however if taking care of your animal is going to impede your ability to take care of your family or yourself, then you are better off putting it to sleep.

There is not any requirement to preserve the life of an animal like there is of a human. My In-laws dog just recently died a natural death. For the last year of it’s life they spent $400.00 dollars in medication to keep it alive.

This I believe is sinful. That dog $400.00 med bill could have bought a lot of homeless people blankets, food or even rent in a small apartment. Who is more important? If you have children that $4800.00 could have gone towards college.

So it is not necessarily sinful to put an animal to sleep. It just depends on the reasoning for it.

no, in the way you have described it is not a sin,
when people suffer, it is profitable for them, but when animals suffer, it is pointless, they gain nothing from it, they only suffer needlessly,
when an animal is near the end of it’s life, and is suffering greatly, although it is very very hard to do, it is a kind act towards the animal to put it to sleep(humanely)
God wants us to take good care of our animals, but we take care of them as an animal, and not as a human, because humans and animals are completely different, in mind, body, and spirit(though animals don’t have spirits), so the same principles cannot be applied,

so where it would be the sin of mercy killing in the case of a person, which is a mortal sin, in the case of an animal it would simply be mercy, because the suffering of a person near the end of his life may have saved his soul, whereas the animal has no soul to save.

It’s rediculously expensive to properly care for dogs and cats.

Small animal vets charge more for treatment of animals than what human medical doctors charge.

It’s very common to spend $500 and up per animal per year on elderly pets.

I don’t smoke, drink, gamble, etc. but I do take my old pets to be treated at vets.

It is definitely not a sin.


Let’s stop the misinformation right now. :mad:

Human medical treatment costs far, far more than veterinary medical treatment. In fact, veterinarians do far more per dollar than human physicians can (Insurance, malpractice and greedy lawyers being part of the problem)

What you may be thinking of is out of pocket expense. If so, then yes, typically an office visit at the veterinarian costs more out of pocket than does a human physician visit.

However, one has to take into consideration the cost of medical insurance (which most people think of as “free” or as a Benny or Perk. But it still costs you. And let’s not forget the deductable for procedures. Most people’s deductable is more than what a typical dog or cat owner pays a year in total for their pet’s veterinary bills.

So before you go on a veterinarian bashing discourse, please consider that such “ridiculous” expenses go towards paying the clinic and staff, not to mention the doctors who need to eat and feed their families and in my case send their kids to Catholic high school. Ask any veterinary care worker what they make. You’ll be surprised. Look up the average salary for veterinarians online. We’re not wealthy people. We make sacrifices in time, money and effort to help our patients.

I’m not critical of human physicians; I think most of them are underpaid for the work they do. But if you don’t want to spend money on your pets, fine. Just don’t slam those of us who have dedicated our lives toward the health and wellbeing of animals, many of us having made substantial financial sacrifices because we like what we do.

Now back to the OP:

Not sinful at all to euthanize an animal, in fact it is an act of kindness and stewardship.

We are called to be good stewards of God’s creation, putting to sleep animals that are suffering is not a sin.

:thumbsup: One can also invest in pet insurance to help defray the costs of vet care. Sure helped with our expenses.

Yes, and my clients who have used it have been for the most part happy.

Aside: An insurance story.

Owners: 2 DINKS

Dog: Bullmastiff. Nice, but not particularly bright.

The Story…7 months of age, tears ACL. I fixed it for him, to the tune of about $800 (this was a number of years ago). Two months later, he tore the other one. $800.

Several months after that, he ate a corn cob that didn’t make it out the other end. $1500. Two days later, owners allowed him to play against instructions. $200 to repair torn abdominal sutures.

Finally he was all healed.

3 months later he swallowed an apple core, and it got stuck…on a Saturday afternoon. Emergency bill for emergency surgery and support care at the Emergency hospital…$5000

Fortunately, after the corn cob incident, they had purchased insurance and the emergency bill was covered except for the deductable, which was about $200.

But related to this thread, I don’t know for certain if they cover euthanasia procedures, but I guess not. I haven’t run into that particular situation.

No, it is not a sin to put a pet to sleep if the animal is suffering so much that living it’s life would only cause it immense pain or suffering.

[quote=Catechism of the Catholic Church]Respect for the integrity of creation

2415 The seventh commandment enjoins respect for the integrity of creation. Animals, like plants and inanimate beings, are by nature destined for the common good of past, present, and future humanity.195 Use of the mineral, vegetable, and animal resources of the universe cannot be divorced from respect for moral imperatives. Man’s dominion over inanimate and other living beings granted by the Creator is not absolute; it is limited by concern for the quality of life of his neighbor, including generations to come; it requires a religious respect for the integrity of creation.196

2416 *Animals *are God’s creatures. He surrounds them with his providential care. By their mere existence they bless him and give him glory.197 Thus men owe them kindness. We should recall the gentleness with which saints like St. Francis of Assisi or St. Philip Neri treated animals.

2417 God entrusted animals to the stewardship of those whom he created in his own image.198 Hence it is legitimate to use animals for food and clothing. They may be domesticated to help man in his work and leisure. Medical and scientific experimentation on animals is a morally acceptable practice if it remains within reasonable limits and contributes to caring for or saving human lives.

2418 It is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly. It is likewise unworthy to spend money on them that should as a priority go to the relief of human misery. One can love animals; one should not direct to them the affection due only to persons.

195 Cf. Gen 128-31.
196 Cf. CA 37-38.
197 Cf. Mt 6:26; Dan 3:79-81.
198 Cf. Gen 2:19-20; 9:1-4.

Emphasis in underline is mine. As you can see, it is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer needlessly. Therefore, if we allow an animal to suffer needlessly and don’t allow it to peacefully pass in to death, we are likely committing a sin.

And here we are seeing that that mankind must show animals kindness. What greater kindness could there be for a suffering animal who has no hope for any other medical treatment to work than to alleviate it’s suffering by allowing it to pass peacefully into death?

It would seem far more likely that if there were any sin, it would be in not putting the animal down. Allowing an animal to suffer needlessly is hardly stewardship of God’s gifts to us.

Only USD400? I would spend more and happily. My family would have no issues.Do your in laws know about the uncharitable remarks you make about their choices? I assume you live a very frugal life, eating just the bear minimum to live, with no treats, hobbies or holidays and that you give everything to the poor and needy… If you do then you are a saint and I mean that sincerely.

That’s a pretty extreme view you have there that it’s sinful to spend money on taking care of a pet.

Thank you for all the comments. I have been struggling Spiritually for months questioning if I should put my 16 year old cat to sleep. She has not been using the litter box and she continues to loose weight. It would cost $200 to run tests to find out what is wrong. I am sorry but $200 is hard to come by these days, and she is old. What would they tell me after running the tests… that she only has 3 months to live. Don’t get me wrong I love this cat, we have been through alot together these past 16 years. I just cannot clean up one more mess or keep watching her deteriorate.

After reading these comments I feel better about my decision.

Thank you

You sound like Judas, telling people what they can do with their discretionary money.

So…clearly, your in-laws took care of their dog. They took it to the vet and bought medication to help take care of their dog. Clearly, it did not impede their ability to take care of themselves!

Why was it a “sin” to spend money taking care of their dog? You SAID if one owns an animal, they should take care of it. They clearly did that. Then in the next breath, you said you believed it was a sin to spend $400 on taking care of the dog! Which is it? You are speaking out of both sides of your mouth!

So, that begs the next question - do YOU spend $400 a month (or year) to buy blankets, food, and rent for a small apartment for the homeless?

And yet another question…why do you assume it is one OR the other? Can’t one have and take care of a pet (including the sometimes higher vet bills) AND support charitable causes?


I do not intend to sound judgemental or condenming, but I do not feel this is a very kind way to respond. It is my personal opinion that many comments on this page are unkind and just downright hurtful. This is a Catholic forum!!! I believe this person’s point in the $400 was that they spent the $400 to keep the dog alive. They were not just keeping it comfortable in its last days, they were keeping it alive when it seems as though it may have been more humane to let it go. Maybe the comment could have been made in a more productive manner to make a point and not sound so judgemental, but I do not believe this person should be so harrassed for the comment. Again, I really hope I do not sound judgemental or condemning, but can we please try to be slow to anger, quick to forgive, and respond on this Catholic forum with kindness. GOD BLESS EVERYONE! :slight_smile:

I have had a little dog , who, off and on has been sick all her life.14 yrs.And for me it’s always been about quality of life.Not money.If she was treated this way,would she had quality ?Yes.So out comes credit card.We go on like this for many years.If at any time , they told me NO, she would not have quality of life,I would have ended her suffering.I sucked it up.gave her a good life.Put off buying things sometimes for years.So,I say if it’s out of inconvience/convience.Then it’s a sin.But if you must put the animal down to end suffering,Then I say no.As they can’t speak for themselves.And we take the responsibilty of caring for them.

There are many issues involved, different people, different animals, different situations.

I know we are not supposed to spend an extreme amount of money on an animal as opposed to a human. However, a reasonable amount of money (and we could sacrifice entertainment or something in the budget to allow for it) isn’t necessarily bad if the animal is a comfort for a person who, like myself, is helped psychologically by it a great deal.

Elderly people and people who live alone, have depression, etc. can sometimes get more therapeutic benefit from the love and companionship of a pet than from years of therapy. Not that I’m saying go quit therapy! :nope: - I’m simply sharing what has helped me. And I belong to a club that rescues unwanted rabbits and also takes rabbits to visit handicapped people and nursing home residents. There’s not much that can top watching the unresponsive lady with Alzheimers light up and reach out a shaky hand to pet a bunny. :thumbsup:

When my animals’ quality of life has declined, and especially in these difficult economic times, I have had to be more willing to put them to sleep sooner than I might have were my finances better. My last bunny that died was pretty elderly and I felt as certain as I could that a bunch of costly tests and treatments (if there were even any that were feasible) would probably only delay the inevitable a little while. :frowning:

On the final night I had her with me, her decline was rapid. That made the decision easier on the one hand. I would not be able to try anything heroic and I didn’t have the money to. But I was also keeping a close eye on her condition and thought to myself that if her dying and the attendant suffering dragged out too long, I would have to get her somewhere to have her put down. About the time I made that decision she began to slip into a coma so I just held her until she passed. :bighanky:

So I guess I’m saying, you just have to do the best you can to balance it out. Know your animal, pray for guidance - St. Francis has always been my go-to Saint with the pets. :gopray:

One final thought - don’t forget that we have learned about human health from observing animal health, and that veterinarians perform valuable services such as monitoring outbreaks of disease that can be passed from animals to humans (bird flu, Mad Cow disease, etc.) and they deserve to earn a living. So good is happening indirectly.

We should help people directly, and spend our discretionary money wisely as well. And some things such as pets are not easily categorized.