Passing away of a pet can be truly painful, although pet owners know they will have to face that situation at some point of time. Here are a few signs to help you recognize that your canine friend is close to going.
The aging of a dog is surprisingly similar to humans. As your dog’s age advances, it slows down, starts having gray hair and joint problems. Along with this, there is a significant change in a dog’s behavior and activity levels. It is difficult to tell whether these behavioral changes are simply due to old age or a sign of impending death. While each dog acts differently before death, there are some unmistakable symptoms that can warn you about your dog’s approaching death.
Common Behavioral Symptoms
Decrease in Movement
While slowing down of activities in dogs is associated with aging, it is more pronounced in their final days. An old dog may not show any enthusiasm to go for long walks, jump around, and play. But a dog that is nearing its end, may lie at the same spot for hours together. Alternately, it may sleep for most of the day or night. Even if it attempts to stand, the limbs may fail under the body’s weight due to lack of energy.
What to Do: Allot a cool, quiet place for him to be comfortable. Try to ensure that he doesn’t have to go up and down steps. Some people even sleep on the sofa or blow up bed to be next to them in their last days. This will be very comforting.
Loss of Bladder and Bowel Control
Another thing that may happen is that your pup might lose bladder and bowel control. This is not a regression of potty training, but a function of what is happening in his body and lack of control. It is also common for dogs to have diarrhea towards the end of their lives. Such conditions most often lead to dehydration in your pet.
What to Do: Encourage your dog to have as much water as possible and get a prescription from your vet for an anti-diarrheal medication. Try to keep him as clean and comfortable as you can.
Change in Appetite
This is one of the most common behaviors in dogs that are close to their death. In the final stages of your pet’s life, he may start losing his appetite as a direct effect of reduced movement and lack of exercise. When offered dog food, it may just lick whatever is held out to satisfy the owner. Try to give him anything that he will eat. Mix it up if you have to. Maybe cook him some chicken or ground beef. With the lack of appetite, his weight might drastically go down.
Loss of Muscle Control
While shakiness is a common aspect of dog behavior in old age, a dog who is dying may experience severe muscle twitching or mild convulsions. It may even lose its control on the tongue, which leads to heavy drooling.
What to Do: This is a normal occurrence. There is no particular thing you can do to help with this problem. Try to comfort him as best as you can.
Towards the end, many dogs find it difficult to breathe. They may also experience difficulty in swallowing their saliva.
What to Do: There is nothing much that can be done about the breathing problem. Again, make sure he is comfortable.
Comforting Your Dog
Once you start seeing these signs that your dog may be going, try to make him as comfortable as possible in his last days. It may sometimes be difficult to deal with symptoms like vomiting or loss of bladder control, But stay patient and loving, giving him the best last days that you can.
What to Do: Stay with him as much as you can. Stay home from work if necessary. Try to keep doing as many of the same activities as he is up to. If he is still willing to go on walk, continue, making sure you don’t go too far. See if the vet can give you anything to make sure he isn’t in pain.
For most animal lovers, losing a pet is like losing a member of the family. This can leave you grief-stricken and depressed. Talk to other pet owners if it makes you feel better. They will understand. Make sure you give yourself time to grieve.