Euthanasia/putting your pet to sleep - advice video


  • Deciding to put your pet to sleep can be one of the hardest decisions to make as a pet owner.
  • The video below discusses some of the most common questions and concerns:
    • When’s the right time?
    • What should I expect?
    • Is euthanasia painful?
    • Should it happen at home or at my vet practice?
    • Can I have my pet’s ashes back?


Deciding to put your pet to sleep can be an incredibly difficult decision, no matter what the circumstances. Pets are a huge part of our lives, many of us wish we could keep them forever, but sadly, just like us, they have limited lifespans and are liable to illness and disease. Some pets are lucky enough to reach old age, but others unfortunately are not. When deciding whether or not it’s the right time to have your pet put to sleep, the most important thing to consider is their quality of life:

  • Have they stopped enjoying their food, walks or playtime?
  • Are they in pain?
  • Do they seem miserable?
  • Do they have more bad days than good?

If you find yourself answering yes to the majority of these questions, it may be time to consider euthanasia. During this difficult time, it can help to think about how fortunate we are to be able to end suffering, and how much harder it would be if we didn’t have that option. For more help about deciding when to put your pet to sleep, read our full article and watch the video (above). You might also find it helpful to read our advice about coping with the loss of your pet.

When to contact your vet

Always speak to your vet for advice if you think your pet is suffering, or if you need help making the decision to put them to sleep. Your vet will guide you, and give you their honest, educated opinion.

Find out whether you are eligible for free or low cost PDSA veterinary treatment using our checker.

Published: April 2020

Written by vets and vet nurses. This advice is for UK pets only. Illustrations by Samantha Elmhurst.