Should I put my dog to sleep?

Before learning Lamrim, I had an old dog that suffered a skin disease. We decided as a family to put the dog to sleep in order to end its suffering. Do you think this is a correct decision?

I had a pet dog many years ago. It geew old and became very sick. We felt that it was suffering and also decided to put it to sleep. Still missed my dog and felt bad that we had to make that decision.

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From a Buddhist’s perspective, to take life — one’s own or someone else’s — is seen to be wrong, something outlined in the first precept which guides us to abstain from killing living beings.

The karma of such an act will still be borne by the person with the intent to kill.

That said, if the act is done out of compassion (to reduce the suffering of the dog), the karma of such an act will not be as weighty.

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Now that i know there is karma for killing irregardless of reasons. How can i eliminate or reduce its weightiness

Perhaps thru repentance?
And thru rituals dedicated back to the dog so that it can go to a better realm?


This is amazingly interesting… What rituals can be dedicated back… I have gone through a similar experience when Blackie (a beautiful cat) was put to sleep. It was a very tough period for me… If there are rituals that can help dear Blackie, I think that will be at least a load off my mind. I miss it so very much and even to this moment I still recall the fabulous times when we even take walks together and it will wait every evening at my balcony for my return. Sob…Sob. …

According to Buddhism mercy killing cannot be justified. Some people try to justify mercy killing with the misconception that if the motive or reason is good, then the act itself is good. No doubt their original intention or motive is good. But the misguided act of killing which occurs through a later thought, requires some degree of cruelty or hard-heartedness which will certainly bring about unwholesome results.

Avoiding mercy killing can create inconvenience to many. Nevertheless, the Buddhist religion cannot justify mercy killing as completely free from bad reactions. However, we must add that to kill without any greed, anger or hatred has less bad reaction than to kill out of intense anger or jealousy.

It must be remembered that, a being (human or animal) suffers owing to his or her bad karma. If by mercy killing, we prevent the working out of one’s bad karma, the debt will have to be paid in another existence. As Buddhists, all that we can do is to help to reduce the pain of suffering in others.

Extracted from: Venerable Dr. K. Sri Dhammanada “What Buddhist Believe”


Does that mean euthanasia is frowned upon by Buddhism? It is a form of mercy killing.
If removal of life support involves no further act of killing, merely removing the life support system, then this is supposedly an acceptable form of relief of suffering? Is this view correct?

Here’s a good video that explains your question:

Venerable explains that:

  1. If the patient is not able to live without the help of the life support machines, then removing the life support does not equate to killing. However, take note that the intent to remove the patient’s life support must be pure, and not done without any malicious intent.

  2. However, if a person is in coma (and can live on without the help of any machines), then applying euthanasia in this case will be considered as killing.

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Adding on -
If motivation is done out of compassion and the act only involves the removal of life support, then this is not considered killing. However, any attempt or additional acts to end one’s life, in replacement or addition to removal of life-support, will be considered killing.