For every person who loves and shares his life with a dog, a terrible and inevitable day will come – the day when you are wondering whether to intervene in how and when your dog’s life ends. This is the thought of saying goodbye to your dog one last time.
The first time for me was a few years ago when I had to choose for my dog, Rex. Once he was a normal happy man – a little tough in the backend, which 11-year-old German shepherds can be, but otherwise healthy. The next day he was sluggish, not interested in food or water, and barely recognized me with a leash when I approached him.
The Telltale Signs a Dog Is Dying
At first I thought that maybe he ate something that did not agree with him. But the next day, when he was lying in the same place where he did not eat or drink, I began to suspect. And when he continued to lie in this place and pollute himself, I knew. Rex left us, and the only thing I could do was make him as comfortable as possible and look after him so that his departure was not painful. The first part of saying goodbye to your dog is to provide as much comfort and peace as possible.
To say that Rex’s sudden deterioration was a surprise would be an understatement. If I knew then what I now know about the physical manifestations of death, I would have saved months of repeated speculation and guilt for how I ultimately decided to end his life. For you to get rid of the same pain, I would like to share with you what I learned about the signs of a dog’s death and goodbye to your dog when the time comes.
1) Prolonged Lethargy/Disinterest
This is the most common sign that the dying process has begun. Lying in one place (often in a quiet place where they usually don’t lie), not interested in toys or walks, barely recognizing family members – in other words, just not behaving like them. Sometimes dogs can become sluggish due to other health problems, but if you rule it out and it lasts more than a day, it may be a sign that it is time to start saying goodbye to your dog.
2) Stops Eating/Drinking
You know that something is wrong when your dog refuses to eat, and this is one of the classic signs of a dog dying. If your dog is at this moment, you can offer them the most delicious treat you can imagine, and they won’t eat it. They will also stop drinking water. This is due to the beginning of the closure of their organs. They no longer have hunger or thirst. You can try to keep them moist by giving them water in a dropper or turkey pan. But if they do not swallow it, you cannot do anything. However, if the dog stops eating and drinking for a day or so, this does not mean that she is dying. Be sure to exclude other health problems in the first place with a visit to the veterinarian.
3) Loss of Coordination
The next major sign of dog death is the loss of balance and motor control. If your dog gets up and moves, it can be very shaky or disoriented. They may tremble or spasmodically. If you can, keep them in a closed, quiet, comfortable place and remove anything that they might push or knock over. Saying goodbye to your dog means protecting her, creating a safe space for her, and providing any help they need.
A dying dog will lie in one place and not even move to relieve itself. They may have diarrhea. This is another sign that the dog is dying. This is a signal that your dog’s internal organs are shutting down. At this time, it is important to keep them and their bed clean and dry.
5) Labored Breathing
By the end, many dogs have difficulty breathing. Their breathing may be uneven, with large gaps between inhalation and exhalation. These are the most difficult moments because you know that they are suffering and you cannot do anything. In these difficult hours, parting with a dog means recognizing that it is out of your control. You cannot prevent this.
6) Seeking Comfort
This is the last and most heartbreaking of the main signs that the dog is dying. Some dogs will know that their time is coming, and will seek comfort for their people. Farewell to the dog with love and grace – it means to stay with the dog in these last hours and soothe it with a gentle stroking and soft voice. Take time away from work or what else is going on. Do not make your dog look alone.
At the same time, however difficult it may be, try not to break emotionally. Do your best to keep it together so as not to disturb the dog.
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