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How Do I Know If My Dog Is Dying? (Do Dogs Know They’re Dying?)

Have you noticed that something just isn’t quite right with your dog lately?

Has your dog been sick or diagnosed with an illness or other medical condition.

You may not like to hear this, but your dog may be dying.

I know this isn’s something any pet owner wants to hear. It’s tough to think about losing your furry best friend.

But no matter how hard you try, it is inevitable that all dogs die eventually.

We’re here to help you make sense of that with this guide on the how to know if your dog is dying.

Signs Your Dog Is Dying

Being able to notice the signs below that signal that your dog is dying, means that you’re better prepared for it when it happens.

This allows you to make better decisions for your doggo’s final days.

Here are the most common signs that your dog is dying:

  1. Lack of energy or extreme fatigue
  2. Losing control of bladder or bowel
  3. Loss of interest
  4. Loss of appetite
  5. Trouble breathing

Of course, each of these things can be attributed to things other than imminent death, so it’s best to double check with your veterinarian before you start worrying about death.

So, let’s dig into each of these signs that a dog is dying to give you a bit more info on what to look for in your own pet.

Lack of energy or extreme fatigue

Usually when a dog is dying, he just doesn’t have the energy to run around and be his normal self. Instead, dying dogs tend to just kind of lay there all day.

In some cases, the dog doesn’t even have the energy to lift her head for you.

It’s possible that this is the result of the dog being in pain. We really don’t know.

One of the telltale signs that your dog is doing this because she is dying is that she doesn’t lay down in her normal spot. Often, it’s a quiet, secluded part of the home where you normally do’t find her.

Of course, loss of energy and moving more slowly can just mean that your dog is old or it can be a symptom of a chronic illness.

You should have your dog checked out by your veterinarian.

Losing control of bladder or bowel

One thing we see a lot when a dog is dying is that he has accidents in the house when he didn’t used to have this problem.

It’s basically just a loss of control of the bowel or bladder, or both.

This happens because the organs are shutting down in your dog’s body.  I know, it’s horrible to even think about, but you need to know these things before they happen with your dog.

Sometimes your dog has these accidents because he’s so fatigued that he can’t even muster up the energy to pee outside.

If your dog is experience this loss of bladder or bowel control, then you need to make sure to clean the doggie bed so that he’s not laying in urine or poop and developing bed sores.

And remember to have patience because your pupper can’t help it – he’s not having accidents on purpose.

Loss of interest

If you notice that your dog is no longer interested in things that he used to like, then it may be a sign of dying.

For instance, he may no longer have interest in his favorite toy, in playing, or even in you.

They also lose interest in food, which we’ll get to in a moment.

This loss of interest tends to happen because the dog’s brain functions are shutting down and preparing for death. This can also lead to confusion for the dog.

Loss of appetite

Not wanting to eat is a big sign of imminent death for your dog, but it can also be a sign of other illnesses.

Most veterinarians say that the closer your dog is to death, then the bigger the loss of appetite for the doggo.

Sometimes this is the result of pain, and sometimes it’s the result of your dog’s body shutting down and not sending any hunger signals to the pup.

You can’t force your dog to eat or drink when this happens, but you should definitely take your dog to the animal hospital or your vet to get things checked out.

Trouble breathing

If you notice shallow breathing or general difficulty breathing from your dog, then this can be a sign that your dog is dying.

In younger dogs, this symptom is likely due to something other than death.

But regardless of the age of your dog, it’s a good idea to take your dog to the animal hospital or your vet to get things checked out.

Do Dogs Know They Are Dying?

It’s hard to know for certain what dogs know, but if you ask me, I do think that dogs know when they are dying.

And I think they especially know when death is close.

If you’ve ever dealt with the death of a dog in the past, then you know that at the end your dog looks to you for comfort – their eyes seem to say that they know and they just want you to be with them.

I don’t know that we’ll ever really know for certain if a dog knows when the end is near, but we can do all that we can to comfort them in their final moments.

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National Canine Research Association of America