When is the right time to put your dog to sleep?

Deciding to put your pet to sleep when they are coming to the end of their life is the final act of selflessness and love that we can show them, to ensure that they do not suffer. Animal euthanasia should be chosen when quality of life has declined due to significant physical pain, general discomfort, or whose cognitive function has deteriorated to the point that they are feeling distressed. But how do you know when to say goodbye?


While every case is unique and you will need to discuss it with your vet, there are a few key signs to look out for that may indicate that your dog is no longer enjoying a full quality of life. These signs include when your dog is:


  • Critically injured and in significant pain

  • Experiencing chronic illness that can’t be managed

  • Very old and struggling with simple daily tasks such as walking, toileting or eating

Some situations are more grey than black and white, and an honest discussion with your vet can help you make a plan. Examples of these situations include:

  • Chronic pain that is being relieved with medication or treatment

  • A terminal illness is diagnosed but symptoms aren’t apparent

  • Drinking and appetite are reducing with incontinence increasing

  • Visits to the vets are regular and filled with anxiety and stress




Common Signs of Distress


It can often be difficult to tell the level of pain your dog is in. It may help to look out for these common signs of distress:

  • Vomiting and retching

  • Loss of appetite and thirst

  • Crying when touched or moved

  • Hiding and excessive sleeping

  • Rapid breathing

  • Shaking and shivering even when it’s warm

  • A rigid distended tummy

  • Excessive panting and drooling


How to Calculate Quality of Life

In order to experience a good enough quality of life, our pets have rather similar needs to us when you break it down. We all have physical, emotional and social needs and it is no different for your pet. One useful tool to help us evaluate all of these different considerations, are quality of life questionnaires. Filling a questionnaire out can be challenging in some instances such as when your pet is stoic and not showing their degree of pain. Please feel free to call us for one of our vets to help you complete the questionnaire over the phone if you are struggling at all with it. Take the 'HHHHHMM Questionnaire' here.

As pet owners ourselves, we understand how difficult it is to decide what to do when your pet is coming towards the end of their life. Our dedicated and personal service gives your companion the most gentle and peaceful goodbye in the comfort of their own home.


Your pet’s comfort and your family’s experience is paramount to us. When it is time to say goodbye to your beloved pet, we're here with you every step of the way; from the moment you book a visit to our dedicated aftercare.


Get in touch:

Call us on 01752 748008

Learn more about how our home-visits work here.