7 Most Common Signs Your Dog is Dying

7 Most Common Signs Your Dog is Dying

Author WDF Staff | Last updated: Jun 28 2023


One aspect of dog ownership no dog owner ever wants to talk about or even consider is parting ways with their dogs. The biggest flaw our dogs have is their lifespan; it is shorter than ours. If you know how to spot signs your dog is dying, you might get a few extra moments you can cherish for the rest of your life.

Larger dog breeds have shorter lifespans, and it seems our furry best friends got it all twisted up in that department. In the wild, larger animals live longer. Elephants live longer than mice, but a Great Dane lives shorter than a Pomeranian. If you recognize signs your dog is dying and getting ready to leave you with a broken heart, you can bring them comfort and make sure they spend their last moments on earth in the best possible way.

Most common signs your dog is dying

Dogs come from wolves, and wolves hide the fact they are unwell until their last moments. Their pack will leave them if they stay behind, and dogs still have some of those instincts. They might hide they are unwell, so if you don’t notice something is wrong with your dog, don’t beat yourself up too much. Here are some of the most common signs your dog is ready to say goodbye;

1. Depression

Your dog will not actually be depressed, but it might exhibit the same symptoms a depressed dog might display. They will probably feel unwell and have no energy to do the things they usually love. Your dog might stop responding to the attention you are giving them, lose interest in walking, and change their sleeping pattern. In case of actual depression, the dog might react to the medication. However, if you have a senior dog, the vet might advise you against it.

sad dog

2. Overall interest drop

Dogs reaching the end of their road will most likely lose interest in their surroundings. They will not care about things going on close to them. They will not greet you when you come home or won’t be as excited to go to the park. Senior dogs might have arthritic pains, making it hard for them to move. You have to be careful around slippery surfaces.

3. Loss of bladder control

Loss of bladder control might not be a sign your dog is dying but rather a sign of old age. Suppose the loss of bladder control developed suddenly and is paired with symptoms like loss of coordination, depression, and loss of interest. In that case, it can be a sign that your dog is approaching their life's end. However, if your dog lost bladder control but is still happy, interested, and jumping around, you should take them to the vet and check for any health issues they might be experiencing.

RELATED: Incontinence In Dogs - Signs, Symptoms & Treatment

4. Change in breathing

If you have ever witnessed a loved one on their deathbed, you might have noticed how their breathing changes. This is usually a sign final moments are approaching, and vital organs are shutting down. The lungs will try to compensate and might go into overdrive or simply cause irregular breathing. If you notice that sign, ensure your dog is as comfortable as possible and prepare to say your goodbyes.

5. Hiding

Dogs usually seek comfort in their owners, but they might act the opposite when their final moment approaches. One of the most common signs your dog is dying is if they start hiding and seek the comfort of their bed or crate. This type of behavior has remained with them since they were wolves. Dogs are not the only animal that does that. Cats act the same way when their final moments approach.

6. Gum color changes

When a dog’s organs don’t function properly anymore, you might notice changes in their gum color. Gums that do not receive enough oxygen can turn blue or purple. This is usually a sign the lungs or heart are shutting down. This might happen in a few final moments, but you will know how to spot this sign your dog is dying. We know this is absolutely heartbreaking, but spotting this sign will give you time to prepare for what’s coming.

If your dog isn’t in their final moments, but you notice gum discoloration, it can be connected to health problems like pneumonia, DCM, insufficient blood flow, or anemia. If you notice gum changes, you should call your vet and schedule an appointment.

sad dog

7. Body temperature drop

Dogs that are nearing the end of their life might experience a drop in their body temperature. They will have issues controlling their temperature as they age. Still, if you know you are sharing final moments with your dog, body temperature drop can be one of the signs the end is nearing. Senior dogs might often be cold, so getting them a heated dog bed might not be bad.

In conclusion

Saying goodbye to your dog is never easy. They have been a part of your family and your best friend for many years, and knowing they might leave you soon is devastating. However, knowing how to spot signs your dog is dying will help you share some lovely final moments with your dog and give you a chance to say goodbye. Plus, you can give your dog their favorite meal and make their passing as comfortable as possible.

World Dog Finder team

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