Putting A Family Dog Down

Dear Sara,

We have an elderly dog who was a rescue and he’s been part of our family for a long time. The vet says he has cancer and is in a lot of pain. He suggested that we consider euthanasia for him. We have two kids ages eight and twelve who just can’t bear the idea of putting their pet down. I can’t bear to see the poor dog suffer. Is it OK to put the dog out of his misery even though the kids object?

Dear Lois,

I think you know what the best thing to do is even though your kids object. All you can do is try to explain the situation to them and let them know that this will be painful for you as well.

Maybe you could have some kind of memorial service for your pet where the kids can say goodbye. Families often bury their pet in the backyard so the kids would know their pet is there in spirit at least. Maybe a new puppy would help them through their grieving process.


  1. Richard Suthereland says:

    It’s interesting that we permit our pets to have their lives terminated in order to avoid extreme pain, but deny that right to humans. This is the problem with “conservatives.” They’re so full of what’s right, they don’t know what’s good.

    • If you don’t see the difference between pets/animals, then you would not understand the reasoning. Has nothing to do with being a “conservative” not is it a “problem” for conservatives. And, by the way, it is nice if one can be full of ‘what’s right”. and that is good.

  2. Explain to the children how their dog is hurting and cannot get better. It is understandable they are being selfish at their ages about losing the companionship of their beloved pet. They will cry and be sad for a while, but they will be fine. A new dog/puppy could be named with a similar name to honor the memory of this dog. Life is full of disappointments. They need to do what is best for the dog. Good luck.

  3. To speak to a related topic. Cancer in canines is running at about 50%. I can honestly say this is due to the food they eat. It also effects their longevity. Canines are carnivores and as such have a short digestive tract, much shorter than humans. This creates a problem when fed anything but meat because other foodstuffs won’t get fully digested.

    I suggest anyone who has a pet take a look at https://www.planetpaws.ca/

    As an example, a man in Australia recently had his beloved dog Maggie die at the ripe old age of 30. The oldest verified dog died at 29.
    There is also a man in Texas whom holds the Guinness world record for the oldest cat at 38 years old.

    My three boys are still just youngsters but I’m making sure they have every opportunity to live well into their late 20′s. If you’d care to see a couple pics of my fur babies they can be seen here.

  4. No animal should ever have to suffer due to our own selfish needs and you would not want that for yourself. Our pets are our family and we need to treat them like we would any family member. The kids will get over it and understand that you did the right thing for your beloved pet someday.

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