Home » Main Signs Your Dog Is Dying - You Need to Know Them and Try to Become Ready

Main Signs Your Dog Is Dying - You Need to Know Them and Try to Become Ready

We can admit it or not, but death has its own plans for each of us, for those whom we love – and our pets as well. The death of a dog can be completely sudden, for example, as a result of a car collision, or it can be predictable and expected. 

In this article, we will talk about the second situation, that is, about the death of a dog as a process, and tell you how to recognize signs of approaching leaving, ease the suffering of your dog in the last days of her life and deal with this grief.

7 Signs My Dogs is Dying

The nature of all living creatures is such that the process of approaching death and death itself are the final stages of life. And when we talk about the natural death of a dog from old age or a long illness, it is possible to describe a number of typical signs your dog is dying.


At the final stage of life, the dog’s breathing becomes shallow, intermittent, and inhalation and exhalation become rarer. This is because the lungs no longer need to be completely filled with air. In other words, the body begins to consume exactly as much oxygen as it needs to maintain the most minimal functions.


The dog’s pulse also slows, and it’s almost impossible to hear the heartbeat without a special tool. All organs and systems gradually begin to reduce their productivity – the heart makes as many contractions as necessary for slowed blood circulation through the arteries.

Muscle Condition

In a near-death state, the dog’s muscles also atrophy. The animal can no longer stand on its feet and move around. The only function that can remain in this state is the ability to wag its tail and focus eyes on its master. Atrophied muscles lead to the fact that the dog no longer feels natural desires and can not control them. Therefore, it is necessary to put the dog on absorbent diapers, periodically change them and wipe the dog with wet fiber.

Loss of Appetite

One of the most obvious signs of impending death is the rejection of food and water. The most important point is the rejection of water. Most dogs lose their appetite in a state of illness, but they never give up water, because they know that water can support life in the body for a very long time. Therefore, if the dog also refuses to drink, then most likely the question of is my dog dying or just sick is most likely no longer relevant.

Lack of Reactions

The dog’s consciousness is also distorted as death approaches. The dog no longer responds to external stimuli, does not feel pain, does not experience emotions. Perhaps the only irritant that can still have a minimal effect on the dog is its owner.

Atypical Signs

These were the most typical and obvious signs of impending death, but there are two more signs that are not too common, but you should still know about them.

Unexpected Activity Increase

Sometimes, it happens that the dog spends several days without movement, and then suddenly gets up, eats, actively plays and communicates with the owner. At such a moment, you will really want to believe that the crisis period has passed, the dog feels better and everything will be fine, but alas. Most likely, your dog has no more than a few hours – it was its farewell to you.

Leaving Home

Dogs that are very independent and self-sufficient in nature, such as husky dogs, can leave home anticipating death. This dog behavior before death is explained by the process of evolution and the need for survival. When dogs were not tamed by humans, they left their packs if they felt that death was near. A weakened animal that was unable to protect itself was a burden and a threat to the entire flock, so the decision to leave it was aimed at ensuring the survival of other members of the animal community.

Most socialized dogs that have been raised in a family since infancy will not exhibit this behavior, but you should still be aware of this possible symptom.

My Dog Is Dying – How Long Does It Take? 

Unfortunately, it is impossible to make as clear predictions as possible. The duration of the dog dying process will depend on the individual characteristics of your animal. The only thing that can be done is to describe the approximate time frame depending on the situation.

  • If your dog is generally healthy, and all changes in its body are related to a respectable age, then the process of dying is likely to be as long as possible. You will observe a gradual decrease in activity, loss of appetite, and at some point, the dog will simply switch to a lying lifestyle. This process can take several weeks.
  • If your dog is dying of chronic disease, then here it is also quite difficult to make any predictions. Much will depend on the stage and specificity of the disease itself. In this case, this process will take from several days to a week.
  • If the dog dies due to trauma or bleeding, it can take from several hours to several days, depending on the severity of the injury. And if it is impossible to cope with the consequences, for example, with a serious head injury, then the most humane solution is to save the dog from suffering.

How to Make Your Dog Feeling Comfortable 

Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to help a dog that is dying of old age and is in a natural state. All you can do is be near, show your love and care, change diapers and wait.

  • If your dog is dying of a terminal illness, continue with painkillers.
  • Do not try to feed or drink a dog who refuses water and food – even if the dog makes an effort and agrees not to upset you, this will cause another bout of vomiting.
  • Try to ensure a state of complete rest for the dog – turn off the bright lights in the room where the animal is located, remove all sources of noise and ask the children not to disturb it. 

My Dog Is Dying: What to Do Next?

So, what can you do if you understand that the death of a pet is inevitable?

Try to Accept This Fact

Unfortunately, understanding does not mean acceptance. Faced with grief, we go through several stages, from shock and denial to full acceptance. Try to accept this fact before your dog takes the last breath. In the case when the death of a dog is predictable and expected, it is possible to find the strength to accept the inevitability of this event. Being mentally prepared, it will be easier for you to cope, support your family and solve all organizational issues.

Talk With Family Members, Especially With Children

Your family members, especially children, should also know what happens to the dog. There is only one rule here: the younger the children, the easier your explanation should be.

Make a Tough Decision

If you understand that the dog is suffering from pain, and you can no longer help it, then your decision on euthanasia will be humane and fair. And most likely one of the hardest in your life. Try to find the strength to share this pain with your dog. By letting it go to a better world, you turn your dog’s physical pain into a pain in your soul – but your dog no longer suffers.

Think About Burial Options

Big cities have pet cemeteries. Many veterinary clinics also offer cremation services. Talk to your veterinarian about what you can do after your dog leaves.

Important! Most likely, your state provides certain rules for the burial of animals. Check out these rules. Do not bury the dog in an unauthorized place – this is wrong, illegal and immoral.

Consult a Psychologist If You Feel That You Cannot Cope With the Loss

It’s normal to feel grief after losing your pet. It’s normal to cry and not want to talk to anyone. But it’s not normal to get stuck in this state for a long time and allow yourself to slide into a real depression. Therefore, if you feel that the pain of loss puts pressure on you (or your children) too much, you definitely should consult a specialist. He will help you understand your emotions and find the strength to continue moving on.