When a Pet is Near the End of Life

One of the hardest things for us to accept is when our pets become old or sick and it is time for us to say goodbye to them. As pet owners, it is normal to go through this tough time at least once in our life. But the death of our dog, cats, and other pets will not come as a surprise, unless it is due to an accident, because there are some key symptoms and behaviors that will tell us that our pet’s time has come to an end. If you’re wondering about the symptoms when a pet is near the end of life, we are here to let you know about it.

Signs that a Pet is Near the End of Life

If your pet has a terminal illness or it is dying because of old age, there might be a need for you to care for it during its final days. There are some common signs that a dying pet is in its final decline. However, you need to keep in mind that each pet experiences dying differently and some of them might not experience every symptom that we will give.

  • Complete Loss of Appetite

When your pet shows no interest in food or water, when it cannot keep food down, and when it refuses to eat anything at all, its death might be drawing closer. But you also have to keep in mind that an unwell dog or cat might also not want to eat, therefore, simple veterinary attention might be needed.

  • Extreme Fatigue

When a dog or a cat is actively dying, it will show signs of extreme fatigue. Your pet might just lie in one spot and will not attempt to get up anymore or even have the strength to lift its head.

  • Vomiting

This is a general sign that can occur for many reasons. It can be because of motion sickness, infection, virus, or a more serious decline. If your pet has a terminal diagnosis, its digestive system will begin to shut down and the undigested food in its stomach can make your pet feel nauseated. When your pet starts to vomit, it is a serious complication. But if your pet is relatively well and suddenly becoming sick, there are other options to make it comfortable and buy it more time.

  • Lack of Coordination

When your pet becomes very unsteady on its feet and has difficulty moving from one place to another, it might be because of physical weakness, impaired brain function, or both.

  • Shows No Interest in Surroundings

As pets draw closer to death, most of them begin to withdraw themselves. They will no longer respond to their surroundings and they may even stop responding to their favorite people as their bodies begin to shut down.

  • Twitching

Twitching or shaking is also a sign that a pet is near the end of life. They can become chilled as their body temperature begins to drop. Placing your dog or cat on a heating pad can provide them the extra heat and help them feel more comfortable.

  • Worsening of Illness

If your pet has been diagnosed with a terminal illness like cancer, kidney failure, or heart failure, then you should be alert for a deterioration in your pet’s condition. For example, if your pet has heart failure, its breathing may become far more labored when it is near the end of life.

How to Comfort Your Dying Pet?

When everything has been done to save your pet from its illness but it did not get better, or your pet is really very old, then maybe it’s really time for him or her to go. If you decide to let your pet pass away at home, there are some things you can do to make your pet’s last hours on earth more comfortable.

You can provide your pet with a warm and quiet place where it can rest comfortably. You can also offer your pet with food and water if it’s willing to take it, but do not force it to eat. It’s because pets, specifically dogs, know when eating no longer works for them. You can also place a waterproof pet pad close to your pet or beneath it especially when it no longer has the power to go outside.

Aside from that, you can pet your dog softly and talk to it. Give it reassurance that everything will be okay and show your pet how much you love it. Try to be calm and soothing to your pet so it will be able to pick up on your emotions. Make sure that your pet is not suffering or in pain.

But if you do not want your pet to suffer too much, then you can consider euthanasia. You can bring your dog to the vet and they will be able to tell you if euthanasia is the right choice. If you choose this, you can bring your pet’s favorite toy or blanket to make it feel at peace near the end. If you cannot bear to witness the process, you can simply stay outside the room.

For pet lovers, losing a pet is the same as losing a family member. It is one of the hardest trials for them that anyone ever has to endure.

It is never easy to let a pet go especially if it has served you for years so dearly and loyally. Therefore, while your pets are still alive, always try and do the best for them and always make sure that they are not suffering from any pain and stress.