Losing your beloved dog is like losing a family member or close friend. You may be well aware that the end is coming, but it doesn’t make things easier when the moment actually comes. Grief is a heavy emotion that takes a while to overcome, yet as with all things, preparing for your old dog’s passing makes the grieving process a bit more bearable. Being familiar with some old dog behavior before dying doesn’t lessen the grief but it reduces the shock and impact that might otherwise catch you off guard.
The aging process in dogs is similar to that of humans in many aspects. Both experience physiological changes. Their body systems slow down. Their hair turns gray. They undergo joint problems. They move around less. You may have noticed your old dog experiencing these behaviors himself, but it doesn’t mean he is dying. It can be difficult to pinpoint the exact moment when your dog is ready to go. According to most dog owners, you’ll just know. If your old dog seems more sluggish than usual, keep an eye out for these symptoms common in a dying dog:
Loss of appetite
This is the most common sign of old dog behavior before dying. Most dying dogs no longer have the desire to eat or drink. When you hold out food or water to your old dog, he may lick the food or water but wouldn’t really consume a reasonable amount.
Your old dog remains in the same spot for hours on end. He refuses to move around and may express disinterest in your usual activities, like walking or moving around. Your old dog may sleep most of the time in the same spot.
If your old dog suddenly loses control of his bladder and bowel or develops diarrhea, don’t be surprised. Incontinence is one of the sure signs of dogs approaching the end, so prepare yourself for this.
Sudden bursts of affection
Dogs are one of the most sensitive animals around. Your old dog, sensing his end is near, may seek physical contact from you. This is his way of saying good-bye. It’s common for dogs to die in their master’s arms or in their sleep.
Most dogs have difficulty breathing as they approach the end. Also look out for problems in swallowing and reduced heartbeat.
Note that you need not be obsessed over finding some of the old dog behavior before dying in your canine friend. We just want you to be able to identify the signs so you can spend quality time with your old dog as he nears his end. When you can recognize an old dog’s behavior before dying you can make his last living moments comfortable.