We must all accept that in our lives, nothing is permanent. Just like our beloved pet dogs. They accompany us in our lives for years – making us happy and being there with us as friends whenever we need to. But the lifespan of dogs is not as long as that of humans. In one point of our lives, we have to face the fact that our dogs will pass away naturally from old age or because of a terminal illness. Though sad and painful, we must remain strong to spend good quality time during our dog’s last days.

If you ask, what are the signs that your dog is going to pass away, you will find out the answers below. Furthermore, you will learn the necessary preparations that you can make for that as well as how you can cope with such tragic event.

Signs that a Dog is Going to Pass Away

Dog Passing Away Signs

A loving pet owner will easily notice whenever something is wrong, odd, or different with their pet dog. Different dogs will have different experiences when it comes to the behavior shown that pertains to them going to pass away soon. The following are the common signs that your dog is going to pass away:

The signs that a dog is going to pass away include loss of interest, energy, appetite, control of bowel movement and urination, and an odd breathing pattern.

Losing Interest

One general sign that a dog will pass away soon is when it loses interest into the many things around it, including people. You will no longer see it playing with its favorite toys or getting interested with its favorite treats. It is also possible for you dog to lose interest in coming and responding whenever it is called by its name. An explanation behind this is that your dog might be shutting down its brain functions. It may also become detached from you as its owner when it experiences mental confusion.

One important thing to take note of is that when your dog becomes uninterested in you, it doesn’t mean that it no longer cares about you. It still does. It still can recognize you. It will feel happy whenever you are around it. it just doesn’t have the energy to show its interest it gives you the way that it did back when it was still young, energetic, and full of life.

Losing Energy and Being Lethargic

Another sign that your dog will leave the world soon, related to the first one, is it losing energy and it becomes lethargic. One common thing about dying dogs is that they tend to stay in one place. They may move but only a little. The place can be an area of your home that is isolated where people do not come often or a quiet corner of your hose.

Your dog may still move from one place to another but doing so will require it a lot of energy and it does slowly. This is common when your dog is about to pass due to old age. Just like old people, it no longer has the energy and strength to do the things that it can when it was still young. If your dog is weak, slow, lethargic, and has no energy but it is still quite young or in middle age, you should consult your veterinarian to determine what is wrong with it.

Losing Control of Peeing and Bowel Movement

Losing control of peeing and bowel movement are also signs that your dog will pass away soon. Dying dogs often cannot control their bladder anymore. They also cannot control their bowel movement since their organs begin to shut down. Even if you teach them the places where to pee or poop, they cannot control those anymore.

They may even poop or pee in the place where they stay because they no longer have the energy to get up and do it elsewhere. What you can do is to nurse your dog pretty well. You may recognize that your old-aged dog will pass away soon. The least the you can do for its hygiene is to clean its pee, poop, and maintain a clean place for it to lie on. Just make sure to maintain the cleanliness of its bed and surroundings so that it won’t get infected.

When these happen, be patient and do be understanding with your dog. Remember all the happy moments that you share together and it is just right for you, as its loving pet owner, to nurse it for cleanliness when it cannot control its peeing and pooping anymore.

Losing Appetite

A dog about to pass away will also lose its appetite. It will no longer become excited when you give it food or treats. it may still eat a little bit or it may take lots of time for it to finish its food. When you notice that your dog does not eat at all, chances are it already is very close to its death. When your dog is about to die, its organs will shut down, causing it not to feel thirsty or hungry.

When your dog loses its appetite, you will notice that its weight decreases and its appearance becomes frail. There may be cases when your dog still drinks or eats when it is about to pass away. But afterwards, they may vomit.

What you should do is to continue offering it food even if it doesn’t want to eat them anymore. This will show them that you care, even during their last days being with you. Do not force your dog to eat or drink. They should do that willingly.

However, there are times when dogs lose their appetite because of sickness and does not necessarily mean that they are dying. If your dog is not yet old yet its appetite is low, consult with your veterinarian.

Odd Pattern of Breathing

Another sign that your dog may be dying is that it has an odd pattern of breathing. It might be experiencing difficulty in breathing, trying to catch its breath, having an uneven breathing, or having a shallow breathing. These signs, in combination with all the other signs mentioned above, may indicate that your dog is near its death.

However, if your dog is still young and it experiences these symptoms, it is best to consult your veterinarian so that it could assess your dog and determine what’s wrong with it.

How to Comfort a Dying Dog?

Comforting Dying Dog

When you have determined that your dog is near to passing, the best thing that you could do for its sake is to comfort it. while it is nearing its final days, you may find it both challenging and frustrating to deal with the various signs and symptoms that your dog is showing before it passes away. Your dog will not be able to control its bowel movement and urination. It will also tend to vomit whenever you feed it food. But you have to keep up with these. The following are the things you can do to make your dog’s passing as peaceful as it can be:

Stay Close to Your Dog

When dogs are about to die, they need as much comfort, care, and attention as they can get. Hence, you should sit with your dog and pet them most of the time. Even if your dog does not respond, talk to them and tell them that everything will be okay. It would also be good to reminisce all those fun memories you have with your dog.

Take note that dogs are sensitive to emotions. They can detect what you are feeling. Hence, you should not show to them your sadness. Do not break down and cry your tears out loud in front of them. Doing so will just distress them.

You should remain as calm as possible. Be comforting to your dog while being on the optimistic side. Show them your kindness and love for them. Your dog may not respond due to weakness and low energy but it will still be able to feel all the comfort you are giving it.

Don’t Take Your Dog to New Places

When your dog is dying, it means that it has low energy. It cannot be taken for a walk, especially in new locations. Hence, it is not a good idea to bring your dog to a new place. It can only cause distress and confusion to your dog.

Also avoid introducing your dying dog to new people. It will only discomfort them. When other people interact with your dog, make sure that they do so kindly and gently. Take necessary precaution in the case of children since they may not be able to fully understand the situation that your dog is in.

Let Your Dog Do Its Normal Routine

When you have an old dog that is nearing the end of its life span, let it continue to do its normal activities. Take it on walks and play with them. But be wary of its energy levels. You don’t want it to get too tired.

Let it live its normal life during its last days. But do observe its behavior. Don’t force them to do things that they cannot do anymore. You must remain caring and attentive to your dog.

Consult with Your Veterinarian

If your dog is about to pass due to terminal illness or of old age, you still need to bring it to the veterinarian. They may be able to recommend medicines that could alleviate the panful symptoms your dog might be experiencing. This will only allow you to make your dog’s last day as comfortable as it can be and not delay its passing.

Dealing with Your Pet’s Loss

Dealing With Dog Death

Grief is a natural part of dealing with the loss of your pet. Grieving is a part of the healing process. The following are the things that you can do to cope with your beloved pet’s death:

Give Time for Yourself

A very important thing to do when you lose your pet dog is to give time to yourself. Take a look at the pictures of your pet and remember all the good memories you have with it. Don’t hold back your tears. When you feel like crying, do so. When you want to cry a river, do it. Allow yourself to release all the emotions you are keeping within you. This is the start of the healthy process of moving on.

Talk to Your Friends

Talking with your friends about the situation that you are in will also help you cope with your loss. Share to your friends the feelings that you have. Your friends might also be able to empathize with you especially if they have experienced the same scenario of losing a beloved pet dog.

Hold a Funeral

You should try to arrange a funeral for your dog, especially if it has accompanied you for a long time. Invite your friends and family to mourn for your pet’s death. This might be a difficult scenario but it does help in the process of moving on. This is kind of giving closure and respect to your dog’s passing. This lets you recognize that your dog is someone special, a very important part of your family and that you will bury it in the same way as humans because it is just as important family member.

Take Good Care of Yourself

Grieving might make you do things that are unhealthy for yourself such as binging on unhealthy junk food or not eating at all. This can be hard to combat but what you must do is to take good care of yourself. Eat healthily and get a good night sleep. Maintaining a good physical health will translate into good emotional health because it can improve your mood.

Keep Your Dog in Memory

When your dog passes away, you should not let it be forgotten in memories. You can do the following things to memorialize your dog:

  • If your dog was cremated, put its ashes in a decorative urn with a nameplate containing your dog’s name, and an image of your pet dog. This way, you can still keep your dog close to your heart and will let it be remembered by people who see the urn.
  • You can also make special mementos of your dog. You can display in your house its paw or nose prints to remember this beloved pet of yours.
  • Also do not forget to hang a picture of your pet dog in your house. Whenever you or other person see this picture, you will all remember your beloved dog.


Indeed, there are several signs one can observe when a dog is dying. Though unfortunate, sad, and kind of hard to accept, a pet’s passing is a natural occurrence. The best thing to do when your dog is about to pass away is to make it live its last days in the best way possible. After its death, there are several things, mentioned above, which you can do to deal and cope with your pet’s passing.

Dr. Annie Spencer

Annie Spencer is a certified Dog Health Expert Veterinarian and holds a masters degree in Dog Emotion & Cognition from the Duke University, USA. She owns a private clinic and shares knowledge of her 30+ year experience at PetsBeast.com - helping worldwide people with their queries and recommending them with best dog health care products to purchase.