Dog Euthanasia – Ethical or Not?

Dog euthanasia is something not many people think about. Therefore, chances are high that you are not aware that roughly about 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized on a yearly basis.


Even the cats get euthanized and the numbers are not decreasing at all. However, whenever there is a discussion regarding the topic – there are two sides to it.


Dog euthanasia is legal, but is it ethical? This is the question that gets many people confused or start a long debate that has no true answer.


However, in this post, we will try to touch on both sides, explain the pros and cons, give you my thoughts, and let you decide what you think is the best.


Keep on reading to learn more about dog euthanasia, but also how you could help. Of course, do not forget to leave a comment in the section below the article!


What is Dog Euthanasia?


Some of you probably know what euthanasia is. However, there are many people that do not know the process of euthanasia.




Before I get into the existence of euthanasia or why it is still an option nowadays – let me share some more information on euthanasia and the process in general.


Euthanasia is the act which produces a humane death in an animal.


There are a set of rules that are followed which ensure that the animal does not suffer, feel any pain, or is not under any stress before or during the procedure.


This technique minimizes the stress and anxiety which dogs and other animals experience prior to being unconscious and experiencing death.


But how does the process work?


Even though euthanasia is a term, it is also a name for the solution that gets injected into the dog’s veins.


From there, it rapidly travels throughout the body and within seconds, the dog becomes unconscious after which a cardiac arrest follows and results in death.


Why Does Euthanasia Exist?


Euthanasia is one of the hardest calls that animal owners and lovers have to make. But why does euthanasia exist?


The main reason why euthanasia exists is to provide a peaceful death to our animal companions who are not able to genuinely enjoy life because they are suffering with no hope of recovery.


But is that everything there is to euthanasia?


Of course, it is not. Even by looking at the numbers, it does not take us long to spot that there are too many cases out there.


And it is not a secret that healthy dogs get euthanized as well. Why?


Keep on reading to find out!


What Dogs Get Euthanized the Most?


As per the earlier description, you would probably answer this question by saying that dogs that are suffering and have no hope of recovery get euthanized the most, right?


That is wrong!


In fact, the truth is that there are way too many healthy dogs that get euthanized. This is something that shocks most people, while on the other hand, there are people that do not really care about it.


But why do healthy dogs get euthanized the most? Believe it or not, healthy dogs get euthanized more than unhealthy dogs.


The main reason for this is the shelters. There are way too many shelters that would euthanize the dog after the first 25 days without being adopted.


Overcrowded shelters have always been a problem but solving this problem by euthanization definitely does not seem like the right solution.


I would not be doing this article justice if I did not mention that not all shelters euthanize dogs after 25 days of not being adopted.


These shelters are called “No Kill” Shelters.  I know for me, if I were to adopt again, I would clearly choose a “No Kill” Shelter to adopt from.


Is Euthanasia an Ethical Option for Unhealthy Dogs?


Even though euthanasia is being used for the wrong purpose, it is still legal in 49 states and it is being used to put down many dogs (both healthy and unhealthy) on a daily basis.


black-labBut when it comes down to unhealthy dogs that have no ability to enjoy life as they did before, is euthanasia an ethical option?


I believe that euthanasia is an ethical option. But here is another question for you.


When do you think is the appropriate time for dog euthanization, considering that the dog is suffering without the ability to recover?


I believe that there is no one answer that fits all situations. However, there are two things that this answer depends on and it is:


  • The severity of the dog’s condition
  • The owner/family who knows its dog the best


After all, the family is the one that makes the decision and by considering all the facts and thinking long-term, no one can make the decision better than they do.


What Are Your Thoughts?


Dog euthanasia is always a tricky discussion and while some people just do not care, others either have a really strong opinion about it – or do not have an opinion at all.


Of course, there is no same situation yet there are only similar situations when it comes down to euthanasia.


And when it comes down to dogs that have a home – it is always the owner or the family that decides for euthanasia and they are the ones who make the final decision.


But knowing that there are shelters that take the advantage of euthanasia to help “solve” the problem of overcrowding is really disturbing.


Would you rather like to have a full shelter and have to reject dogs when you are at full capacity or you would rather keep on euthanizing dogs, accepting more dogs, and keep euthanizing more dogs?


This seems to me like an endless circle and it is definitely something that should be investigated and stopped.


I’ve covered a couple of points within this article, and while there are many other different angles we could approach this sensitive subject – I believe that you might already be able to make up your mind on this so I’d love to hear from you!




Even though Euthanasia is the hardest thing you could ever have to do if, God forbid, your precious pet gets so sick that it can recover, and it cannot enjoy the life any longer as it used to.


Being used for anything else than this is definitely a big issue that has to be addressed. There are not many people who know about this at all which is also another surprising fact.


But now that you know about this, you can truly understand the importance of this website I have created.


What are your thoughts on this? Is there anything you would like to add to this post?


I would love to hear your thoughts or your opinion, so do not hesitate to leave a comment down below!


All the best!


Founder/Creator: Love A Rescue Dog ?

“Saving one animal won’t change the world, but for that one animal, the world changes forever”


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4 thoughts on “Dog Euthanasia – Ethical or Not?”

  1. This is a very sad reminder for me. Through my life I had two beloved dogs I had to put to sleep. The first one was decades ago, Chinky, a male chihuahua who I fell in love with and bought from a not very honest breeder, as I found out later. He did not tell the poor thing had epilepsy. His attacks, seizures became more often over the years, so at the last few month we regularly ended up at the vet, for an injection to help him recover either from a blackout, or from the uncontrollable shaking that could last and last. He was so exhausted by these that he could not stand on his feet anymore. The vet started to warn us that it will get unbearably painful for him almost a year before and when once not the double injection helped, she said we should think of his pain, not of our loss.
    Our second dog, a rescued mixed dog, was hit by a car, recklessly speeding in front of our house at the moment the dog stepped outside, full of joy my husband arrived. Our dog was too close to the road, the car drove too close to the pavement at a very high speed… We arrived to the vet in a few minutes, but she said he has a severe internal bleeding, his lungs are full of blood, which is suffocating him. There was no chance of saving him anyhow, but to make his passing away more gentle…
    I can’t approve any other form or reason for euthanasia, even an overcrowded shelter. I do understand the problem, but it should be a problem solved at higher instances. I know that some countries (The Netherlands, if I’m not mistaking) invested huge money to regulate dog breeding, chipping, dog keeping in general some years ago and they don’t really have stray dogs, so most of them have a home and an owner to take care of them.

    1. Hi Kerryanne,
      First I want to say how sorry I am for your losses. I know how painful it can be. I went through it with my dog Gidget. She’s the cocker spaniel pictured in the article. I think it took a great deal for you to read this article and comment the way you did. I appreciate how hard it must have been for you to do that. I know I had a difficult time writing the article but I wanted to bring awareness to the subject.

      Best regards,

  2. I believe euthanasia is very overused in shelters. I hate to even think about that, and even more, I hate to think about having to make that decision for my own doggy. We are going to be moving across the country soon and my doggy has an injury and severe arthritis that prevents his legs from fitting in his hip joints correctly. He has been such a good boy and I hate to lose him. He doesn’t want to play anymore and usually only walks on 3 legs. He is much more lethargic these days, and I don’t want to put him through the pain of having to lay and travel so long. This is a very hard decision for me and I am sure for most pet owners. Great information

    1. Hello Cheyenne,
      Thank you so very much for stopping by and reading my Dog Euthanasia article. I agree with you that euthanasia is overused in shelters. I wanted this article to bring awareness to that fact.
      I am very sorry that this touched a nerve with you because of the present condition of your dog. I’m sorry for your pain and also for the pain your dog is going through. Making the tough decision to compassionately put a dog to sleep is so different than the situation of euthanasia in shelters. You must not allow the heartache you feeling, keep you from what is best for you dog. Here is how I look at it. If you are in pain seeing your dog like this, imagine how much pain he is in. I had to make that decision with my previous dog. She’s the tan/white cocker spaniel pictured in the article. I know the pain and heartbreak. I know you will do the right thing for your dog. Just remember after your pain goes away, and you get to your new place, there may be a new fur friend out there waiting for you to take the chance on loving again. I did!
      The dogs in shelters are put to sleep because no one wants them. That is why I advocate for adoption. Again, I want to mention that not all shelters euthanize dogs just because they are not adoptable.

      Best regards,

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