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How To Comfort A Dying Dog (Make Them Feel at Peace During Their Last Moments)

Since your furry friend is a member of your family, the thought of them dying can make you sad.

Unfortunately, there comes a time when nothing can be done to save their lives, and you can only accept that they only have a few days to live.

During this moment, the only thing you can do is to make them as comfortable as possible.

By doing that, you make their transition easy, and you get to spend more time with them, which gives you peace of mind.

Ways to Comfort A Dying Dog

Some of the things you can do to comfort your dog include:

Let Them Stay in A Quiet Place

When your dog is stressed up and sick, they need to stay in a quiet and comfortable place to relax.

Most of the time, you will find them hiding somewhere where there are no people, such as under the tables.

Instead of letting them struggle to find a place to hide, let them stay in a quiet place far from people.

Ensure other pets are not present, too, since they can easily irritate your sick dog.

Speak to Them in A Comforting Tone

If you have lived with your dog for a long time, you know they listen to your verbal cues.

When they are sickly and almost dying, it’s the best time to talk to them more.

By doing so, you assure them that they are not alone.

Make sure you speak to them in a comforting tone.

Dogs not only hear your voice but are also keen on your tone.

Talking to them reduces anxiety and helps them relax.

Provide Comfortable Bedding

When a dog is sick, it can be challenging to keep their beddings comfortable, especially when they can no longer control their bowels.

Change the beddings severally to provide a clean sleeping area.

The beddings should be warm and easy to wash.

Ensure they fit on their bed comfortably so that they can lay in any position they find comfortable.

Place the bed where there is no big traffic, as, during this time, the pet needs privacy and may get irritated when there are so many people or pets around.

Get rid of any buttons on their bedding as they might chew it, leading to more problems.

If they are suffering from joint problems, you can get them an orthopedic bed that is easy to get in and come out and also supports their joints.

Give Them Plenty of Water

Your dog still needs plenty of water to keep them hydrated.

Always ensure they drink fresh water throughout the day.

Their food should also have plenty of water, especially if they refuse to take water but eat well.

Sometimes, they might refuse to drink.

If that happens, you need to be creative on how you can make them drink it.

Some of the tactics you can see include adding broth since its smell will make them drink water.

Using a syringe is also another effective option.

Make Their Area Warm

Just like humans, cold makes dogs uncomfortable.

It gets worse when they are sick.

Always make sure their area is warm enough.

Provide them with a heater by placing a heater nearby and prevent them from spending too much time outside.

You can also buy them a jacket, especially if they have fine hair.

A heating pad also works excellently and is safe. Ensure they are dried out completely any time you groom them.

Give Them Their Best Foods

Your dog might have lost their appetite during its last days.

Don’t force them to eat when they are not hungry.

Also, give them their favorite food as they are more likely to eat it.

Avoid giving them solid foods as they can upset their stomachs since they are hard to digest.

Instead, mix the food with water.

Avoid giving them too much food at once as they might not finish it.

Instead, serve smaller portions frequently.

Baby food is also a good option as it is easy to digest.

If they refuse to eat for two days, feed them liquid foods using a syringe or dropper.

Consult your vet first so that they can guide you on how to do it properly.

If feeding gets challenging, the vet can also prescribe an appetite stimulant.

The stimulant works by alleviating nausea and making the dog hungry, which helps them feed.

Interact with Them

If you have been interacting with your dog when they were healthy and energetic, don’t stop it all of sudden when they start experiencing problems.

This might make them feel neglected and worsen their situation.

However, you need to make some adjustments.

If you always took walks together, shorten the distance you used to cover as they might not have the energy to walk for long distances.

You might not play with them but might spend some time together on the couch.

Talk to Your Vet

Your vet will tell you whether your dog can use medications to ease discomfort, nausea, loss of appetite, and pain that comes when they are terminally ill.

They will also guide you on how to administer the medications and probably teach you different techniques, such as assessing your pet’s pain level.

What to Expect from Your Dog

When your dog is almost dying, here are some of the things you should expect from them.

Loss of Interest

You will start noticing your dog losing interest in some of the things they used to love.

For example, if they loved to run, they might not be able to do it during their last days.

They might also start isolating themselves from other pets and people.

All these are coping mechanisms and are understandable.

They might also stop responding to you, and it might hurt when you realize they can no longer welcome you when you get home.

One of the reasons for this is that their brain might start shutting when they are critically ill.

Loss of energy is also another cause.

They might also start sleeping more and staying in a single position for a long time.

Appetite Loss

You might notice your pet is no longer eating all the food you put in their bowls.

Some become choosier and only love eating particular meals.

Some will refuse to feed completely, especially when they are suffering from gastrointestinal conditions.

When their appetite is very low, try to make them eat small portions to avoid starving.

When they have appetite problems, they might also lose significant weight.

Try giving them water too and other healthy liquids to help them maintain their weight.

Loss of Bladder and Bowel Control

When your pet is at their weakest, they might lose their bladder and bowel control.

This happens even when your dog is trained.

Make sure you clean their spaces and wash their beddings frequently.

Decreased Mobility

Your dog might want to spend most of the time sleeping instead of moving around, especially when they are in pain.

Climbing the stairs and walking on slippery floors might become challenging.

Make sure their food and water are easily accessible.

It might also lead to depression when a dog cannot do what they loved doing when healthy and full of energy.

If they don’t want to walk around, don’t force them to.

Difficulties When Breathing

Your dog might start experiencing abnormal breathing patterns.

Some of the signs of abnormal breathing include breathing through their mouth and stretching his head outwards.

Try to make them relax when this happens.

What to Expect From Yourself

When your pet gets weak, you can get sad and stressed.

If it’s affecting you greatly and interfering with your life, it’s good to seek therapy.

It can also get hard for you to give them utmost care, like cleaning their beddings frequently, especially when you aren’t used to it or busy.

Seek help whenever you feel overwhelmed.

Should You Euthanize?

When your dog is in too much pain and suffering, you might start thinking of euthanizing them.

Euthanasia is often a major decision, and it concerns the life of your pet.

Having to let them go is not easy.

You might start feeling guilty even when the process has not taken place, but sometimes, it’s the only thing you can do rather than watch your pet suffer, and they cannot get treated.

Before deciding to euthanize, ask yourself the following questions:

Are They in Great Pain?

Is your dog in great pain, and no medicine is alleviating it?

It’s easy to know when they are in pain.

They might keep on whining or crying from time to time.

It might be time to let them go.

It can hurt to see them writhe in pain, and you can’t give them anything to ease the pain.

How Will You Handle Their Death?

Are you ready to let your dog go?

Is everyone in your family prepared to live without them?

If the answer is yes, you can go ahead with the process.

If not, it’s good to take some time and rethink your decision.

If it’s getting difficult for you, talk to someone who has had the experience and ask them how they managed to let their pets go.

Is Their Condition Incurable?

When a pet gets ill, the vet will do anything to treat and help them regain their health.

However, some conditions are incurable, especially when they have developed over a long time.

If your pet is suffering from such conditions, you can opt for euthanasia instead of waiting for them to die naturally and suffer greatly before then.

It will give them a peaceful transition.

How to Prepare for Euthanasia

If your dog can no longer be treated and are in great pain, you can choose euthanasia.

If you aren’t sure about it, it’s good to consult your vet.

When they advise you to go ahead, ensure you and your family members will be able to cope with your pet’s death.

To do that, here are some tips you can follow.

Come Up with Ways of Memorizing Your Dog

Your pet will forever be in your mind.

You can memorize them by creating a photo book with pictures you took a long time ago and also take others during their last days.

Whenever you feel sad or miss your dog, you will have something that reminds you of them.

You can also plant a tree or flower in your backyard that will always remind you of your pet whenever you look at it.

Help Your Children Understand What Is Happening

If you mention euthanasia to kids, they will not understand what that is.

Explain what it is and how it’s done.

Let them understand that it’s the only way to keep your pet out of pain and discomfort.

After the procedure, help them go through the grieving phase, especially if it’s their first encounter with death.

If they are old enough, you can let them choose whether to be present or not during the procedure.

If they are very young, it’s not appropriate to let them witness the moments even if they want to.

They might get disturbed mostly because they don’t understand death.

As an adult, you can choose whether you wish to witness the process and be with your pet during their final moments.

If you feel like you’ll get emotionally overwhelmed, it’s better to keep off.

Set an Appointment with Your Vet

Talk to your vet to set the most appropriate time for the process.

You might also request them to come to your home for the process instead of you going to their clinic.

That is when you want your pet to die at the comfort of your home and when you want everyone around to witness the final moments of your pet’s life.

All these are personal choices.

You do what you feel is right.

Plan for Burial or Cremation

It’s good to decide whether to bury or cremate your pet forefront.

Deciding what to do after they have already gone is not advisable as you might be overwhelmed by emotions.

You can bury them at home or at a cemetery.

When burying them at home, follow all the set rules concerning pet burying to avoid getting into problems with the authority.

If you go for cremation, you might request to keep your pet’s ash for memory purposes.

Your vet will also give you options where your dog should be cremated, so you don’t have to worry if you don’t have a particular place in mind.

The Process

Understanding how the process takes place will help you decide if you want it or not.

The vet might administer a sedative to calm them since some pets tend to be anxious during the process.

They then inject a medication known as pentobarbital in high doses, which stops the heart from beating and shuts down the brain.

Your pet will then relax and may let out a gasp.

The process is usually painless and takes less time.

Pros of Euthanasia

It Provides Comfort to Your Pet

This is probably the biggest reason why people go for euthanasia.

There is nothing as painful as watching your pet struggle with pain, and there is nothing you can do to alleviate it.

You Can Be There During Their Last Moments

If you’d like to witness your pet during their last moment, it is possible when you go for euthanasia.

You can give them reassurance and bid goodbye as they take their last breath.

Cons of Euthanasia

Guilt

After your pet is gone, you can start having feelings of guilt and wondering whether you did the right or not.

If you have children, they can start asking you hard questions too.

But if you chose the process since your dog was critically ill or very old, the feelings will come and go since your only aim was to see them transition peacefully rather than watch them suffer in pain.

Letting them go is not often easy and might take longer than you expect.

If you feel like you should let your pet die a natural death, it is still okay.

But you should be prepared to see them stressed, sick, and at their weakest.

They might also breathe their last when you are not around.

Weigh down the two options and decide which one to go for.

Although the vet might advise you on what to do, they let you make the decision since they respect the relationship you have with your pet.

Knowing that your dog has a few days to live can be emotionally draining.

When that time comes, it’s good to accept that their time has come, and there is nothing you can do to change that.

However, you can take care of them and make them comfortable during their last days.

When they become very sick, you can decide to let them die naturally or get euthanized.

You will also be proud of yourself for giving them a good ending.

It’s up to you to choose how you want your pet’s last days to be.

Your vet will also offer you guidance just in case you are confused about what to do.

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