Dogs come into your life when you need them the most, and somehow bring a unique love and joy that you didn’t even know you needed. However, they only stay for a portion of our lives. Dogs are extremely intelligent animals and can give some pretty strong signs of their passing coming up even months away. There are some signs you should know about when your best friend may be reaching the end of their journey, and how to say goodbye.
Watch Out For These Signs
Nobody wants to hear their pet is at their end of life, but it is a cycle that has to come to an end. You may have some clues due to age, but here is a list of symptoms to look at for that may signal you might need to start spending your last moments together.
- Loss of coordination/confusion
- Loss of appetite/no longer drinking water
- Not wanting to move or play
- Severe fatigue
- Vomiting or incontinence
- Muscle twitching
- Slowed respiration
- Seems uncomfortable
- Loss of consciousness
- Wanting to be near you, or wanting to be alone
These signs usually come months away. A dog can begin losing weight, stop grooming, have duller eyes, become dehydrated, and have gastrointestinal changes up to 3 months before its passing. As it gets closer to time, they will lose a lot more weight, have a change in appetite and respiration, and have less interest in activities that include moving. Unfortunately, these signs mean you will have to begin looking at options and planning for the end. It’s not something any pet owner wants to consider or hear, but it would definitely help bring to talk to a vet about their opinions and their options as well.
What You Can Do
If your dog seems peaceful and you are able to emotionally, letting them pass at home would be a natural and comfortable way to go for your buddy. The best thing you can do is give them a warm, comfortable place to rest with a blanket and give them all the love they desire. Some say their pets held on until they reassured them it’s okay to let go, so if that brings so closure to you or your pet you could try that. It’s very hard to know that your pet is about to pass, but it’s important to keep in mind that it’s a natural process. You should keep in mind that although they came into your life for a short period of time, you were there the whole time. It’s human to grieve, but be thankful for those precious memories.
Unfortunately, some people may notice that their pet seems like they are in pain or really uncomfortable. If your dog seems uncomfortable or in pain and needs help getting comfortable, hospice could be a great option. A hospice near you would have some more detailed information about the process, but it could keep them more comfortable until they pass. Another option is to put your dog down at a nearby vet. This may seem like a hard decision, but if your pet is struggling and its final moments wouldn’t be peaceful, it may be something to consider. Both options would require some strength, as the process would be speedier and not at home, but if it brings some comfort to your pet before they pass it may be something to consider.
When Pet Passes
You might be wondering what you should do after your pet has passed. There are many options today when pet deaths are just as important as any death. There are burials, cremations, and the option to bury them in your own backyard. If none of these options sound like something that you can afford or have the ability to do at the time, you can also call a local vet for the pickup of your pet. It is really just up to your preference and what you can afford. Something interesting that is now being offered with cremations is the option to put the ashes in necklaces and other jewelry so you can keep your old friend close to you even after they are gone.
Saying goodbye to your pet is a reality nobody wants to face. It’s a painful, scary process for you and your pet. It’s important to reassure yourself and your dog that this is a natural part of life and that everything will be okay. There are so many options, like hospice, that are available for your pet if you feel that is a good decision. After they pass, you will need some time to get through the grieving process. Something that can help is keeping memories, such as pictures, their collar, or anything else that is sentimental near you. Grieving is a very hard process, but it’s reassuring to remember those wonderful memories you made with your pet and the love that you shared.