Ten Signs Your Dog Is Dying: Dog Behaviour Before Death!

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Author: Tilly Walker

“Saying goodbye is always hard, especially to your beloved one.”

We know, it’s a very tough moment in a pet parent’s life, nobody wants to face it. But there comes a time when you have to say adios to your canine companion.

As your furry pal grows older or suffers from any severe illness, he will display some signs that indicate going to die sooner. So, it’s better to get mentally prepared by observing the signs that your dog is dying.

In this blog post, we will discuss some common behaviours dogs exhibit before death. As well as how to properly care for them during this time. We hope that by gaining knowledge on these topics, you will have a better understanding.

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Ten Signs Your Dog Is Dying!

As a pet parent, it’s your responsibility to be aware of the signs your canine companion’s body is indicating during the last stage of their life. So, in return, you can easily identify your canine companion’s situation. Shower them with proper care, love, and support in the last few days of their life.

For your convenience, we have jotted down the basic ten signs, indicating your dog will die soon. The following guidelines will help you prepare for the future and spend most of the time with your dog.

1. Dehydration or Not Drinking Water

During the last stage of a dog’s life, it has been observed that they give up on drinking water. It’s a fact that dogs prefer less water. But, during the end days of their life, they stop consuming the water, leading to dehydration issues.

So, to help your dog stay hydrated, you need to give extra attention to him. Plus, make him drink or consume water on a daily routine. Nowadays, customised water bottle for dogs has come into the market, which you can use also, by properly cleaning them.

2. Extreme Weight Loss

Another sign could be the rapid loss of your pup’s weight. Yes, you will see a drastic drop in his weight during the last stage of his life. In the majority of cases, this sign is expected because they leave taking their meal on time. Or just skip their meal due to severe underlying issues, or stomach-related problems. So, it automatically adversely impacts their health, resulting in weight loss, which further leads to weakness in the body.

extreme weight loss

You cannot do much, but make sure, your pup does not skip their meal. At least try feeding him a few bites or treats. This will help them to at least stay a bit energetic, and will not feel dull during the end days of their life.

Always remember the “good food, good mood” concept. It will boost his mood and bring him out of his dull zone.

3. Loss of Appetite

The majority of dog stops eating or taking their meal during the end days of their life. It is one of the common signs that most canines feel. Just like humans, dogs also stop eating when they feel bad mentally or physically. Further, it’s true, not necessary during the last stage of life only they will skip their meal. For instance, even when they get sick, they adopt this behaviour.

To help out your pup to deal with this phase smoothly, you need to take him to the vet. As they will guide you on whether you should start appetite stimulation to make him hungry. Or you can also do one thing, offer him his favourite tempting treats to divert his mind.

4. Pain and Discomfort

Another common sign to notice during the last stage of your canine companion’s life is that he is facing pain and discomfort. But how you will know?

Well, if your pup is in pain you will notice he will try to remain alone or hide himself from the surrounding, panting, or trembling continuously. Plus, he will be cranky, irritated, and aggressive. These are the basic signs he is in pain and need you to understand his situation and help them to pass the end days of his life peacefully.

pain and discomfort

On the other hand, it has also been observed that when pups feel discomfort, they try to sleep more than usual and prefer to remain in their place only. Or many dogs also turn cranky and irritated due to discomfort.

5. Gastrointestinal Symptoms

Well, some dogs do encounter stomach-related issues in their last stage of life. As they start ageing, their body stops functioning well. They develop stomach problems when they reach the end of their life. The stomach issue indicates vomiting, diarrhoea, or digestion issues because with age the body is not able to digest the food properly, and they also face loss of appetite issues.

gastrointestinal symptoms

In such cases, it is important to consult the vet and get the medication done on time. It is recommended not to give him a lot of medicine, as he is already in his last stage. Just provide medication to give him comfort, and power to deal with the weakness due to vomiting and diarrhoea issues.

6. Temperature Changes

It has been observed that when dogs are sick, growing old, or near the end of their life, their body temperature fluctuates. In other words, they fail to control their body temperature, and the hormonal changes lead to more complications in maintaining the body temperature.

So, to keep your canine companion’s temperature in control first, you need to provide comfort, and protect him from extreme heat, or cold. Try to give him a moderate temperature to live, so that his body temperature remains at a moderate level.

7. Irregular Breathing

Your dog might encounter irregular breathing issues when he is nearby his death. It has been observed that dogs while resting also start panting, are restless, and have difficulty breathing. This can be possible because of the cough, which directly affects their lungs.

PetMD states “a respiratory disease causing a change in their acid/base balance; cancer; or a metabolic disease such as diabetes, kidney failure, or liver or adrenal gland disorders.” In other words, these severe health issues lead to irregular functioning of respiratory function, which can also be one of the issues behind irregular breathing.

During such a phase, do not leave your canine companion alone. In fact, it’s your responsibility to calm him down and make him comfortable by snuggling or showing lots of love and care. Tell him that you are always there for him.

8. Change in Gum Colour

Another sign your dog is near the end of its life is that you will see changes in his gum colour. Yes, you heard it right. If his organs are not working properly, then you will see changes in the gum colour. Your furry pal might even develop a bad breath issue or dental issues. Different gum colours indicate different health issues.

change in gum colour
Credit:Andrey Maximenko

For instance, if you notice the blue colour, it means your canine companion is not getting enough oxygen to circulate in the body. White gums indicate the insufficient flow of blood, it is a common sign of blood loss, also indicates severe anaemia issues, etc…

If you notice any such change in gum colour, it’s recommended to seek the vet’s advice and not get panic. You just need to be calm, so that you can handle the situation wisely, and give comfort to your canine companion during the last stage of his life.

9. Emotional Detachment

Well, it is true, not all dogs react in the same manner. It has been observed that the majority of the dogs prefer to isolate themselves. They seek to stay alone, detach all their emotions, and just want to rest in their spot or low-traffic area in the house. On the other hand, there are dogs who will want to sleep in their pet parent’s lap and sob.

So, if your dog tries to detach himself during his end stage of life, then no need to get panic, give him the space. Plus, make sure you keep his food, and water bowl near him so that when he feels like eating or drinking, he has easy access.

10. Bad Odour

As you already know, during the last stage of your canine companion’s life, their body stops functioning well and leads to smell, or bad odour issues. It mainly happens due to kidney failure, changes in metabolism, dental issue, fur getting damaged/oily, they stop grooming themselves, etc… So, if you notice such signals, don’t take it lightly, the body is indicating he is at the end stage of his life.

bad odour

You cannot change the fact, but can always make your pup feel good in their last stage of life. If he is not able to groom himself, then you do the initiative. Take him for the regular bath/gentle bath, with pet shampoo. Plus, can change his bedding, and clothes. All these will make him feel better and won’t feel dull or cranky.

How to Help Your Dog at the End?

Being a pet parent, it is a difficult phase to suffer when your canine companion is near his death or reaches the end of their life. So, it’s important to ensure that your canine companion is comfortable during the last days of their life. For your reference, we have jotted down the tips on how you can help your dog at the end/during the last stage of their life.

  • Well, having a word with the vet and taking an appointment with your canine companion is important. So, after examining him, they can guide better what things should be taken care of properly and what to avoid.
  • Giving medicine on time is very important because it will give some relief to your canine companion during the end stage of their life. Plus, you can also give heating pads to them to release joint or back pain. By doing such a small gesture, he will receive comfort only.
  • As your canine companion has given away drinking water and food. So, to make them feel better, you can offer small food bites or an easy way to drink water. In this way, they will not recover but will definitely feel good.
  • Create a calm, and quiet environment for your furry pal, it will help them to relax. For this type of environment, you need to avoid crowded areas and avoid people/pets.
  • During their last stage of life, try not to change their surrounding, which means no place transformation, or interior of the house. In other words, just keep the place as it is because this will help them to stay calm and won’t get anxiety attacks by seeing new changes.
  • Don’t forget to spend time with your furry pal. Your presence means a lot, if you will shower love and affection, he will feel good. By seeing these gestures, he will get confidence that he matters to you.
  • As they are not able to groom themselves during their last stage of life. For that, you can be his groomer and clean his body, keep him tidy. Eventually, being groomed will boost his mood and bring him out of his dull mood.


What to do if your dog dies at home?

If your pup dies at home, the first thing you need to do is call the vet for the final check-up because many times dogs sleep so peacefully that it seems they are not breathing. Once, it’s confirmed, then call the pet crematorium to do the arrangements and put a towel on your pup’s tail and mouth. Plus, let other pets smell their beloved body, or let them say goodbye to him.

What happens when a dog dies?

Once your canine companion has passed away, you need to call the vet for confirmation of his death. He will come and do the procedure, then he might take his body to the clinic for the rest of the procedure. Then at the time of cremation, he will give away your pup’s body so that you can do the rituals as per your belief.

Why did my dog die suddenly?

Your dog might be suffering from severe underlying health issues such as heart disease, toxicants, gastrointestinal disease, and trauma, which you were not able to identify on time. Or his body indicated the sign, but you couldn’t guess it and failed to give him the treatment on time. So, these might be the consequences of your canine companion’s sudden death.

Why did my dog die with his eyes open?

Well, there is no such reason why your dog dies with his eyes open. Generally, we close the eyes to relax the muscles, and in case your pup has die eyes open them, it is no need to do anything. Just keep it as it is, because now his muscle will not contrast easily.

Well, It’s a Wrap!

Concluding our blog on 10 Signs Your Dog Is Dying: Dog Behaviour Before Death!

Let’s have a quick recap!

Well, as we know, it is important to be aware of the signs that your dog may be approaching death. You should look out for changes in appetite, mobility, or behaviour that could indicate that your beloved pet is nearing the end of its life. So, if you notice these signs in your dog, it can help you prepare emotionally and make decisions about how to give your pup a comfortable last few days.

Furthermore, it can also help to provide comfort and companionship during this difficult time. Though it can be heartbreaking, knowing the signs of your canine companion’s death.

So, remember, sometimes your pup knows when its time has come, and they just need you to love him until the very end.

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Tilly Walker
Tilly Walker is an avid animal lover and dog owner for several years. She owns a mix breed Cockapoo named Rio. She, along with her group of friends who wanted to help others learn more about the proper ways to take care of their pets, founded this website.

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