Is it biblical to euthanize a pet?

Question
My dog is very, very sick. My vet says I should put him to sleep. Is it biblical to euthanize a pet?
Answer

Thank you for your question. I'm very sorry for your pet's illness. Dealing with such issues may be very difficult.

Biblically we must maintain distinctions between animals and mankind. While scientifically man is an animal too, biblically they are much, much more. For instance, as opposed to animals, man was created in God's image, has a soul, has sense of their own mortality, and will be judged by God, etc. (Gen. 1:26-28; Rom. 3:23; Rev. 1-22, et. al.). Throughout the Bible, mankind is commanded to cherish and protect human life. While there are Old Testament laws for the unjust taking of human life (Gen. 9:5-6; Exod. 20:13, etc.), there are no such divine laws in regard to animals, except in the case of the liability to the owner of that animal (Lev. 11; 24:18, 21, etc.).

Moreover, in Genesis 1:26, we discover that man is to have authority over all living creatures. But although man has dominion over all the earth, he is supposed to be a good steward over this gracious divine gift. Man has a responsibly before God to take care of His creation, including all its animals.

So, with all these distinctions in mind, I believe that euthanizing your pet is biblical when the circumstances warrant it. I hope this helps.

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (IIIM).