Death of a Pet Dog

The death of a pet dog can be one of the most painful losses that a human will experience.

When your beloved pet develops a disease without a cure, you hope for the best, and if you’re like me, you pray that your cherished companion may die naturally at home rather than having to put yourself through the pain of choosing to euthanize him to stop his suffering.

As your dog’s health slowly begins to decline, you may notice some or possibly all of the following symptoms:

excessive sleeping, limited movement, vomiting, diarrhea, the tail always held between the legs, lethargy, difficulty in swallowing, runny eyes, less coordination, shaking or twitching, a decrease in appetite, slower heartbeat, or incontinence

What You Can Do
Take time to make sure your dog is well taken care of as he dies. Give him a good death. As you continue to watch for the symptoms of a dying dog, call your vet to make sure that what your pet is experiencing is normal. Your vet may prescribe some medications to ease your pet’s distress or alleviate pain.

The following suggestions will help as you prepare for your dog’s final days:
* Keep him well hydrated even if he can’t get to his water bowl. Give him swallows or sips of water using a medicine dropper if necessary. I feed my dog ice cubes by hand which he seems to enjoy.

* If he can’t get to his food bowl to eat, bring the bowl to him. Mixing dry dog food with water will make swallowing it a lot easier.

* If he is unable to go outside to urinate or defecate, surround him with waterproof pads or use doggy diapers.

* Make sure he is comfortable at all times.

* Gently rub his fur and talk to him.

Sudden Death
Sometimes there is not an extended period of time when a dog is dying. Death is sudden and quick. When dogs have heart attacks, death occurs immediately. Although no one wishes to lose a pet, this sudden passing can be easier than having your dog endure months of suffering, eventually ending in putting him to sleep.

When your pet dog does die, you can expect to be sorrowful and probably feel depressed. It is perfectly normal to miss your dog. When you see his leash, water bowl, or favorite chew toy – and knowing he is gone from your life – will often make you sad.

Anticipating Death
Your pet might be very ill, and after countless trips to the vet, it is inevitable that he is going to die. What can you do?

Preparing yourself for the death of a pet dog is never easy. Try to make your pet comfortable. Talk to him often. Let him know how much you appreciate him. Your pet will not understand your words, but he will sense your love.

If you and your vet decide it’s best that your dog to be put to sleep, and even though you know the decision is what is best for your dog, the reality of your choice can be hard to accept.

After your pet dies, you will need to dispose of his body. Some dog owners choose to bury their pet at specially designated animal cemeteries, designed as quiet, reflective surroundings where you can visit your pet’s grave whenever you wish.

Cremation services are also available in some parts of the United States. Your vet can recommend one and you should also be able to locate one online or in the yellow pages of your phone book. I personally plan to have my dog cremated and his ashes placed in a urn. I want to be reminded of my loving pet and I will proudly display a photo by his urn of the most loving companion I have ever had in my life.

Grieve Well
Know that there is nothing wrong with feeling sorrow when dealing with the death of your pet dog. Pets provide solace, companionship and comfort for humans, and losing one is never easy. A noble relationship has come to an end and there is now an emptiness in your heart that your pet once filled.

Some choose to get another pet as soon as possible after the death of a pet dog, while others cannot bear the thought of “replacing” the one they loved so much. Do what feels right for you. No one else should make that decision for you. It will help to talk to others who have been through what you have just experienced and you may find some comfort knowing you are not alone in your grief.