Deciding to have a pet euthanized is a very personal decision that often leaves the owner with a sense of guilt. This is a natural and healthy reaction, but you must remember that you made this decision out of love for your pet. It is nothing to feel guilty about.

Euthanasia is a kind option that ends, or prevents, your rat's suffering. It's important to determine your rat's quality of life, and when you see it diminish, you'll know that it is time.

Euthanasia should ONLY be done by a trained medical professional.

How to determine whether your rat should be euthanized:



Quality of life decreases


If your rat loves to climb and run all over their cage, but is no longer able to walk, it is time to consider euthanasia.


When your rat loses interest, or is no longer able to do their favorite things, that is a big sign that euthanizing is the kindest option.

Chronic pain or illness


If your rat has pain or an illness that cannot be treated or managed with medication, it is time to consider euthanasia.


Rats don't often show pain, so it can be difficult to know. Look for puffed up fur, sucking in of their sides, or if they stop eating or drinking.

Stop eating or drinking


If your rat no longer eats or drinks on their own, this is a huge sign that euthanasia should be considered.

You can feed them foods like baby food, avocado, and egg - but if they aren't interested in those foods, euthanizing your rat may be the kindest option.

Saying Goodbye

There is no right or wrong way to say goodbye to your pet. However, here are some tips that can help you decide.

1. Spend time with your rat to say goodbye. Feed them their favorite treats, cuddle with them, and talk to them. Allow anyone else with a special bond to say goodbye to your rat.

2. Decide whether you would like to be present for the euthanasia process. It will not be easy, but if you can handle the overwhelming emotions you will feel, it may be worth being present in order to keep your rat calm. On a personal note, I once decided that I could not watch my rats get euthanized, so I left the veterinary clinic. Years later, I regret that decision. I wish I had stayed with my rats until they had passed peacefully instead of handing them off to strangers. That's something to consider.

3. It may help to create something in memory of your pet. Simply posting a picture with some thoughts on social media may make you feel better. Get their picture framed. Have a picture commissioned and painted. In the past, I have gotten custom christmas ornaments for each of my rats that had passed on. While nothing can replace your rat, these small steps to memoralize them can ease some of your pain.