For most dog owners, the dog within their home becomes less of a pet, and more of a family member over the years. Dogs are a cherished animal by many, that will be gravely missed when gone. Therefore, when a dog is at its end, how can you comfort it?
To comfort a dying dog, stay close to your pet, give them a comfortable place to rest, find them a quiet space to retreat to, talk to your dog with quiet conversation, and pet or hold your dog as it passes on.
Dogs are long-term pets that come into people’s lives and walk with them through their single days, dating adventures, marriage, children, graduations, and more. They are the lively spirit in every room, the welcome home greeting at the end of every day, and the best crumb catchers around. As sad as it may be though, all good dog’s time eventually runs out and as their owner, you might be looking for ways to comfort them through this period, how though?
Stay Close to Your Dog
Dogs are loved for many different reasons, but one of their greatest appeals, as far as pets go, is their love of human interaction. Of course, this love varies from dog to dog, but when it comes down to it, they are social creatures who have a large affection for those who love them back. With this being the case, if your dog is tending towards its last breaths, keep this factor in mind when you feel as if they may need some space.
To comfort a dog that is dying, one of the most effective things you can do is stay close to them. If your dog prefers it, allow them a bit of distance, but be within sight or get close enough to where they can feel you. The presence of a human can be incredibly calming.
By saying to stay close, this does not mean that you need to be glued by their side every second (unless you simply prefer or if they insist), but that you are always around to let your dog know that you are there whenever they may need you. Even being in the same room as them during this process can do quite a bit to ease their anxiety and feel more at peace about their current state.
It may also be comforting for your pet to be in a place that is more personal to you, like your bedroom, so that they are able to feel even more at ease being surrounded by your scent. A dog’s senses will decrease as they fade, but being surrounded by their owner and the scent of their things can help to increase the stimulants around them that are conducive to comfort and ease.
Give Your Dog a Comfortable Place to Rest
Speaking of moving your dog into your bedroom during this time, this brings up the conversation of comfort. Although your pet may have been the type that would sleep, eat, and play on just about any surface before they fell ill, hard floors or wired cages may not be the best place for them when they are in their last hours. If your dog is dying and you notice they need a bit more comfort, consider placing them elsewhere.
To give your dog as much comfort as possible during death, give them a comfortable place to rest their body. If they have a favorite bed, preferred cushion on the couch, or prefer your bed to their own, give them the chance to make themselves as comfortable as possible in these areas.
The key to keeping your dog comfortable is not only to give them a place that is soft and easy for their body to conform to, but a place that is warm as well. For dogs that are in the midst of passing away, their bodies will tend to get cooler and cooler which will eventually cause them to shiver as their body attempts to warm itself. By placing your dog in a comfortable spot, it can be surrounded by soft items that are conducive to holding in heat.
If you do not have a formal bed for your dog (some dogs simply prefer the rug or a nice cold hardwood floor in summer!) you can make a makeshift area for them to lie on. Simply rustle up a few cozy blankets and towels that will allow for a good amount of cushion beneath your dog’s body and place them together in a way that will keep them from separating if your pet begins to shift or move rapidly.
Give Your Dog a Quiet Space
Many dogs, although not all, in their early years are more than happy to welcome the hustle and bustle of a busy home. They are eager to meet anyone new walking through their door, are always happy to play a rambunctious game with their owner, and are fueled by the invitation to go outside. However, when your dog is making its way toward death, the loud noises that come along with these events may not be something they are so keen on.
If your dog is dying, allow them to stay in a quiet space to give them the most comfort possible. Take them out of any high-traffic rooms or areas that are exposed to a significant amount of noise and allow them to lie in the cozy bed you prepared them without any intrusive noises.
Dogs can be very sensitive to noise in their last moments and if there is chaos surrounding them, it can cause them to fall into distress and even lash out without warning. Therefore, try to find your beloved pet an area that is intrinsically quiet. Consider placing them in a room that is away from any main areas or even small spaces that allow for a door to shut so noise can be blocked out and comfort can be welcomed in.
If you live in a place that does not have much room for escape, try to set a quiet mood within your area. Inform others with your space of the state of the dog, keep TVs off or on a quiet volume, play soft and peaceful music, and be conscientious of the level of all voices. Your dog does not have to be completely separated from a group to be at peace as long as everyone is respectful of the current needs of the pet.
Comfort Your Dog With Quiet Conversation
If you have your dog either on your lap, in your arms, or within arms reach, you may be feeling a little helpless just sitting there watching them go through the motions. It can be painful to watch your dog pass, but you may feel as if the silence between you and your pet is just as painful. Dogs thrive on the voices of their owners and because of this, complete silence may not be completely necessary.
To comfort your dog as it is dying, it may be comforting for your dog to hear your voice as you talk him or her through the process. During this time, speak to your dog in a low and calming voice that just goes over a whisper. Hearing your voice may ease their mind and allow them to relax.
Conversation is not only beneficial to your dog while it passes, but can also be incredibly therapeutic to owners. Take this time to tell your dog how much you love them, talk about all the adventures you have taken, reminisce on the memories made, playfully scold them for all the times it gave you grief, and allow yourself to talk through what is inevitably about to happen. This will allow you comfort while also drawing your dog closer to you.
Pet or Hold Your Dog
There are very few dogs who don’t enjoy a good ear scratch, a good belly rub, a soft pat on the head, and a good hind scratch. Dogs love to be pet and in turn, like to return the favor to their owners with (welcomed or unwelcomed) licking, wagging, and happy barking. Dogs are affectionate animals, which is one of the biggest reasons why people love them. Therefore, would they want this same affection even in death?
To comfort your dog when it is dying, one of the most important things you can do is either pet or hold it so long as your dog has always been inclined to this action. Petting allows for them to feel at ease as their owner is close, is warm, and is showing them love in a rather perplexing time.
When petting your dog, be sure that you are as gentle as possible, as vigorous petting or scratching is typically not needed or wanted when they are in their last moments. Gently take your hand and stroke the top of your dog’s head, its back, and even its legs, but be sure to go with the growth of the hair rather than against it. Slowly proceed with this action in a repetitive way to allow your dog to feel your presence and find safety in your touch.
If it seems as if your dog is wanting to be held and is not injured in a way that would make holding more uncomfortable, allow your dog to sit with you on your lap or held in your arms. You should very gently either pick them up, or coax them to you and allow them to find a position that is comfortable. Once they have found a good position, cover them with a warm blanket to keep heat in so that they don’t become cold.