Why Do I Feel Guilty for Putting My Dog to Sleep?

Pet owners commonly feel guilt after saying goodbye to their beloved furry friends through euthanasia. Understanding why you feel guilty for putting your dog to sleep can help you recover and move forward to honor your dog’s memory.

Why Do I Feel Guilty for Putting My Dog to Sleep?

You may feel guilt for putting your dog to sleep because you think you’ve harmed your dog. Guilt may stem from the realization of losing your pet and anger for your decision. Despite that, you would feel these negative emotions only because your actions come from love and care.White dog with black spots on his eyes wrapped in a cream colored blanket

It’s crucial to know that these feelings are natural and valid. It can be painful and puzzling to come to terms with the situation. Acknowledging and doing something about your feelings can help bring you peace and comfort. 

Reasons Why You Feel Guilty for Euthanizing Your Pet Dog

Even though you’ve chosen the most compassionate and gentle procedure of in-home pet euthanasia, you may still be likely to feel guilt over your decision. It can sometimes be confusing, yet knowing where your emotions come from can aid your grieving and healing process.

You Feel Selfish

It would be more selfish to let your pet continue suffering, especially if their quality of life is poor and there are more bad days than good ones. Considering in-home pet euthanasia gives your pet a dignified end of life.

Particularly for fatal diseases or untreatable injuries, your goal as an owner is to give your dog the best final days of its life. 

You may also think you decided solely for yourself and must consider others. For example, you’ll need to help your children through pet loss.

You Think Your Dog Is Upset with You

This is a natural emotion for humans, especially if you’re on the receiving end of an unfortunate action. However, there’s no definite way to know your dog’s feelings during the procedure.

You may think that your dog is upset with you for choosing in-home pet euthanasia. However, your pet is more likely to feel the pain of their sickness or injury. 

Some dogs may feel sadness and confusion during a strange situation. Remember that your pet loves you unconditionally, and you should feel thankful for the time you spent together.Woman wearing a brown cardigan craddling a white Boston Terrier puppy

Your Moral Code is Bothering You 

Guilt comes together with remorse or sadness over an action that may have breached your moral code. It could be due to your religion or personal beliefs.

For example, most religions don’t mention anything specifically about pet euthanasia. However, they have teachings about caring for life and creations, including animals. As you grow up, this may have influenced how you view life.

Despite that, know that it’s also your moral obligation to find the best way to end the pain of your dog. While certain situations may require you to make a tough decision, euthanizing your dog can end your pet’s unnecessary suffering.

You Think You Should Have Done More

Guilt is one of the brain’s defense mechanisms against the feeling of the full weight of sorrow and grief over something, like pet loss.

You may think you’re selfish and should have done more. Ultimately, you cannot change the past. Dwelling on these questions can harbor prolonged guilt.

  • What if I did things differently?
  • What if I held on longer?
  • What if I made the wrong call?

You’re Punishing Yourself for Your Decision

Caregiver burden not only applies to humans, it can also refer to those caring for sick, injured or aging animals. It may revolve around a range of negative implications, including time constraints, financial burden, and feelings of guilt over the situation.

Managing the care of ailing pets is a challenging phase. There will be regular lifting, cleaning, and vet check-ups. Each of these can consume time, effort, and resources.

You may punish yourself for giving up and thinking euthanasia is more of a way out for you than your dog.An image of a dog on a cork board as a remembrance

You Love Your Pet

It’s hard to let go of someone you love. Guilt is a sign of how much you care for your dog.

Guilt is often associated with connection. You wouldn’t have these feelings if you had no loving connection towards your pet. You ended a companionship you’ve built for a long time, and it’s never easy. 

Ways to Overcome Guilt for Putting Down Your Dog

When guilt becomes overwhelming, it can be harder to accept your decision to euthanize your dog. These are some of the ways to cope with guilt.

Related Questions

Do Pets Suffer When They Are Put to Sleep?

No, pets don’t suffer when they’re put to sleep by compassionate veterinarians and professional veterinary teams. Some pet owners think their pets will suffer from euthanasia, and this feeling may contribute to or lead to guilt. Keep in mind that euthanasia is a painless end-of-life procedure for animals.

Did I Put My Dog to Sleep Too Soon?

It’s unlikely that you’ve put your dog to sleep too soon. If your dog is suffering from an injury, illness, or age, euthanasia is much more humane than continued suffering. A veterinary professional will be able to determine the amount of pain your dog is in. You can also determine your pet’s quality of life using this assessment to help you make the right decision. 

Conclusion

It’s normal to feel guilty for putting your dog to sleep because it’s not an easy decision to make. This moment can be confusing, scary, and heartbreaking for your pet and yourself. To help you lessen the pain, we can help you prepare for pet euthanasia at home.

Testimonials

I can't recommend them enough. I had to say goodbye to my 21 year old cat companion. I read the reviews here on Yelp and chose Paws Into Grace and they made an unbearable situation not worse - from the people on the phone to the amazing doctor who... read more

Renee C.

My absolute love Dante had heart failure three months ago. After having him on many medications to help him, his enthusiasm and appetite declined last couple of days. He was in pain and we decided to help him go to heaven rather than torturing him... read more

Diane C.

I wanted to thank you for sending Dr. Brown to euthanize our beloved Myleigh on March 4, 2021. She was compassionate and accommodating, she explained every step of the procedure, and gave us some alone time with Myleigh after she sedated her, but... read more

Terry A.

Renee C.

I can't recommend them enough. I had to say goodbye to my 21 year old cat companion. I read the reviews here on Yelp and chose Paws Into Grace and they made an unbearable situation not worse - from the people on the phone to the amazing doctor who came out to the house. She was so understanding and supportive. They were all so helpful, understanding and nice. My girl got to stay at home and say goodbye in the backyard (a hummingbird flew over and it seemed like a good sign too). So glad I didn't have to take her to a cold vet office.

Diane C.

My absolute love Dante had heart failure three months ago. After having him on many medications to help him, his enthusiasm and appetite declined last couple of days. He was in pain and we decided to help him go to heaven rather than torturing him with more medications which would make him even more miserable. I called and spoke to a very kind lady who was patient as I cried through making an appointment. We made an appointment for 1:30pm. Dr. Toni arrived. She was very kind, explained everything to us and gave us the time to be with our boy after the first shot. He wasn't relaxing enough so she gave him a second shot. We stayed with him throughout the entire process and I carried him to her car in the end. It was a very difficult decision but knowing that our boy is not in pain, gives us some peace. We are thankful to Dr. Toni for her kindness and compassion. They will arrange the cremation for us. Since we are in a pandemic, we had our masks on and said goodbye to our boy in our garden.

Terry A.

I wanted to thank you for sending Dr. Brown to euthanize our beloved Myleigh on March 4, 2021. She was compassionate and accommodating, she explained every step of the procedure, and gave us some alone time with Myleigh after she sedated her, but before she attached the IV. We were relieved that we made the decision to let her go to doggy heaven at home. It was a tranquil and serene passing for her, and it very much aids us in the grieving and healing process knowing that she passed away so peacefully. Based on the grace and compassion Dr. Brown demonstrated on one of the most awful days of our lives we would not hesitate to recommend Paws Into Grace for others facing this very painful time.
San Diego Orange County Cremation Office