How to Know When Your Dog Is Preparing to Make the Transition
The hardest part of having a dog in your life is losing a dog. No one can predict the exact day that your dog will leave you. Breed-specific life expectancies can vary by several years depending upon the expert that is making the predictions. While you can’t predict the exact date and time that your dog will pass away, there are several signs that will tell you that your dog is dying. Knowing how to recognize these signs will help you assist your dog in making the transition as peacefully and with as much dignity as possible.
Your dog has many ways to communicate to you that he is ready to make the transition. He may have trouble moving or show pain and stiffness in his joints. He may exhibit a lack of energy, a level of confusion or a loss of coordination. He may have no appetite. When he does eat, he not be able to tolerate the foods he used to love, or he may not be able to keep food down. Your dog may also lose control of his bodily functions. Your dog may be very cold and shiver or shake. As always, if you are concerned about your pet’s behavior or he is acting differently than he normally does, call your vet and get appropriate advice.
You should always see a vet to diagnose your dog’s condition. Depending upon your dog’s condition, you may wish to obtain medical care for him. Medications and holistic treatments may not be able to prolong your pet’s life, but they can ease his pain and make his passing less traumatic for him and you both. Your vet will also be able to advise you if you need to help your pet to pass due to a reduced quality of life. No dog wants to feel as if he is a burden to his owner, and every dog deserves to live his final days with dignity.
How You Can Help
Your dog depends on you for everything: shelter, food, water and the other basic necessities of life. Most importantly, your dog relies on you for love and compassion. When you have a sick dog or you see signs that your dog is dying, it is important that you remain strong for him. Keep yourself together and support your dog; after he passes, then you can break down and grieve. Spend as much time with your dog as you can in his final days. If he is still physically able, help him enjoy his favorite activities. Trips to a favorite place to just sit and chat are great ideas. Also, treat him to his favorite foods if his system is still strong enough to handle them. Keep your dog warm with fluffy blankets, and keep him comfy in a fluffy bed or allow him to snuggle with you in your bed. But above all, be there for him. Tell him what a great dog he has been and how much you appreciate his companionship. Thank him for being your friend, and let him know that you’ll be okay after he’s gone. Tell him you love him and give him lots of hugs and pets. This will help him make the transition easier, and will help you know that you did the best for him that you possibly can.
Another way that you may be called on to help your dog is to make the decision to have him put to sleep. This is a decision that no owner ever wants to make. However, when your dog is suffering, letting him go is one of the most loving and selfless acts you can ever perform. Your dog will let you know when he is ready to go, and your vet will help you as you assist your dog with this.