If you’re reading this article, you’re probably worried about what are the signs a dog is dying. No doubt, death is a dreaded and inevitable occurrence.
And it can be very devastating for owners who love and share their life with their dog. But at the same time, armed with certain knowledge can help prevent it from coming prematurely. This is how we felt when we recently lose UNO, our Siberian husky.
In the same vein, there are times that no matter how much we try to stop or avoid it, it happens all the same. At such times, it may be best to prepare on how to say your goodbyes. Offering proper end-of-life care and love and support to help their transitioning.
In this article, we’re going to look at some things to watch out for and how to tell if your dog is dying, so you can better prepare yourself.
How Do You Know When Your Dog Is Dying?
1. Change or Loss of Appetite
The general experience of a dying dog is a drastic change in their appetite. There’s hardly what you offer them, they always or most of the time refuse to eat.
This is not to say that every time a dog starts to refuse food, it means he/she is going to die. Sometimes, it could be a sign of mild sickness. But, when it happens too often and over a prolonged period of time, it could be the dreaded sign. At this point, treats or foods they use to crave for before no longer appeal to them.
It is said that this behavior is a result of their digestive system gradually shutting down, together with their kidneys and liver. The closer they are to dying, the more severe their loss of appetite will be. Their sensation of hunger and thirst gradually diminishes.
2. Prolonged Loss of Interest/Lethargy
Dogs are generally associated with excitement. And the moment they begin exhibiting anything different, it is natural you get worried. While this may sometimes be natural or a result of feeling ill. When your dog holds unto this behavior for too long, it becomes a cause for serious concern.
They are bound to lose interest in things and people around them as they draw closer to death. That is, people they love or toys and treats they cherish no longer interests them. They tend to lie down in the same spot and position for extended periods of time. Everything they do during this period is done in reluctance.
Experts have associated this behavior with a shutting down of the function of their brains. They gradually experience mental confusion, and this causes them to appear detached. It is important to note here that this behavior does not mean they do not still care about you. The ability to show and express it the way they used to is just not there any longer.
3. Seek Comfort
It is amazing to know that dogs can sense when they are approaching death. At such time, one of the things they are likely to do is seek out their masters for getting comfort. Yes, most dogs can be affectionate and crave their owner’s presence, but, this time is usually more insistent.
They probably will insist on taking rest on your laps as the owner. In some cases, they want death to meet them, lying close to their masters. This is probably their way of saying goodbyes to their masters and showing how they love them.
When you observe this behavior, it is only wise to reciprocate by also staying with them during these final hours. And reassuring them with gentle stroking and a soft voice. If you truly love your dog, you won’t make your dog face the end alone.
4. Breathing Difficulty
Another notable sign your dog is dying is a display of difficulty in catching their breath/breathing. This is especially true when death is really close. Their breathing becomes somewhat uneven and shallow. Together with lengthy gaps between inhaling and exhaling.
Alongside this, you may observe that your pet may experience difficulty in gulping its saliva. This is like one of the hardest moments for both you and your dog. Even though you can see them suffering, and there’s really nothing you can do other than watch. This is where you finally acknowledge that this is beyond your control, and go ahead to say your goodbyes.
5. Social Detachment
As death draws closer, your dog is likely to exhibit some form of isolation. He/she gradually detaches from any appearances of a company – whether emotional or physical. As each day passes by, their level of detachment increases. They make a lot of effort to avoid their usual routines. This can be quite noticeable in busy homes.
For instance, instead of stepping out in the mornings to greet you as the owner and probably have breakfast, he/she may prefer to sleep in the barn. Even if they finally step out, the feeling is no longer the same.
As much as this can be a concern, all there is to do as the owner is to respect your dog’s need for peace and quiet. Even if you need to approach him or her, try to do it quietly to avoid startling them. Avoid bright light and loud noises, and calmly touch them when necessary in reassurance.
6. Extreme Fatigue or Energy Loss
Since eating less or not at all is associated with a dying dog, it is only natural that they gradually lose weight. You can tell when weight loss and loss of energy gets severe.
For this reason, they are likely to lie in one place without moving around very much. This is usually a quiet corner or somewhere secluded within your home. The more severe it gets, the most difficult it is for them to move or even lift their head. For those that manage to move around, they do so with much effort and slowly.
If after consulting with a vet and there’s no sign of a chronic illness, then it must be a clear sign that their end is near. Together with old age, this weight loss might be due to some degenerative disorders. Such as hepatic or chronic renal insufficiencies or some form of malignancies.
What you Can Do For Your Dying Dog?
It is true that there is not any way to know the exact timing of anyone’s death, whether human or canine. This is quite difficult for canines, as unlike humans that can say something about how they feel, a dog can’t.
This is where there is great value in listening and observing them. This way, you can get whatever signs that they are close to death. Their change in behavior and activity as listed above can be a sign. When these signs start setting in, you may want to consult with your vet to be sure what it is. And if it seems it’s death calling, they sure deserve all the love and attention they can get.
Final Words on Dog Dying Symptoms And Process
There’s no doubt that this dreaded and inevitable day is bound to come for every dog owner. Where there’s nothing you can do about the situation of your dog, rather than prepare to say your goodbyes.
Have you had similar experiences as a dog owner? How was the thought of saying goodbye to your dog for the last time?
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