Question About Putting A Dog Down


My mom’s dog can’t use her back legs any more and she’s been having to help lift the dog up(who is 70 lbs). She’s not getting any better & has now hurt one of her front paws & can’t walk at all. So now my mom has been putting puddle pads underneath her, going to work or out & coming back home to clean her up. My mom’s having a tough time because the dog is alert & doesn’t act like she’s in pain. But, she’s basically unable to move(except for her head) and has to lay in her own feces(sp?). Does the Catholic Church have anything to say about putting animals to sleep? I’m just wondering if it’s a sin to put the dog to sleep. Can anyone please enlighten me? Thanks.


It is not a sin to put a suffering animal to sleep. Animals are not people with an immortal soul. We have been given dominion over God’s creatures and part of that dominion is to treat animals with respect and kindness and compassion. Allowing an animal to suffer or being cruel to animals (which you are not) goes against the proper stewardship of God’s creation, and is not the compassionate thing to do.

My husband and I let our dog suffer far too long before putting him to sleep. He had veterinary care, and we nursed him and took care of him, but we just could not let him go. We would not face up to his suffering, until the vet pointed it out to us. Then we put him to sleep. It was painful, but it was best for the dog, and the compassionate thing to do.


Animals do not benefit from suffering.


Have you mom talk to the vet. My own mother kept her poor border collie alive too long. He was blind and had horrible arthritis plus he grew senile and started biting people. At one point she had to bring him his food because he was in too much pain to go go get it.

It is not a sin to end the suffering of an animal. They do not understand why they are in pain nor can they gain any sanctification from suffering.


Sometimes the last kindness we can do for a devoted friend (animal) is to let them go. We sometimes keep them going for ourselves without really considering what is best for the pet. I am going to have to make that decision soon and I dread it.


A dog having to lie in its own waste is enduring emotional suffering. It is a mercy and as the other posters said, a sign of God-given stewardship over creation to put the dog out of its suffering.

I think in a way all our own hesitancy about this is that in this such instance, we are given a wee bit of insight into the Mind and Actions of God and we back away at the enormity of it all. We DON’T want to be God. It’s too much for us. But taking care of His Creation was the job He gave us. So we should do it with fear and trembling.

It’s always hard. We really weren’t created to be Authors of Life and Death.

When it’s over, take mom puppy shopping. It’ll do her good.


I just wanted to add that an animal doesn’t have to be in physical pain to be ‘suffering’. The loss of mobility and control over bodily functions is also a form of suffering, even if the animal doesn’t seem to care.

And just to back up what others have said, God gave us dominion over animals. This is similar to the relationship God has over us. God has the choice about when we live and when we die.

As much as within our power, He has given us similar control over animals. We can use that control to keep an animal alive to benefit us. When we have the resources we can do what is reasonable to maintain/improve the life of our animals. When we can’t provide the care needed by our animals we show mercy by letting them go in as dignified and pain-free a way as possible.


Thanks for all of the thoughtful responses. My mom is putting her dog to sleep today. I will show her everyone’s responses as I believe it will help her to know she is doing the right thing for the dog. Thanks again.


Give her a big hug from me. We recently had to put our nine year old kitty to sleep. She had bone cancer and was suffering. But it was a very difficult and painful decision. I still miss Stripes!:crying:


I’m so sorry your mom’s going thru this (and the dog too!). Our last dog had that happen to her, and it was just so heart breaking seeing her deteriorate like that. Since she couldn’t move on her own and from the pain, she couldn’t eat and lost 40 lbs in 1 wk. It’s not a sin to put the dog down. That suffering is terrible for the dog.

I hope you’re there to give your mom a hug afterwards. She’ll need it. It’s so sad to let go of your pet, and worse to see them go to sleep forever. At least her dog won’t suffer any more. The poor thing must have suffered a lot. I can remember my Nanda… my poor Nanda.


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