Dog Is Dying: 3 Sad Signs And Tips From The Pro

The worst event for pet owners is when their own dog suddenly and unexpectedly dies. In most cases, however, as the end nears, your dog will show you some signs beforehand.

We will now discuss which signs you can recognize and what you can do for your dog.

In a nutshell: How do I recognize that a dog is dying?

The signs that a dog is about to die can be broken down into three stages of dying. These are characterized by the following symptoms:

  • Your dog will refuse his food and water.
  • In the second phase he will show an exceptionally high urge to move.
  • You can recognize the last phase by the fact that your dog vomits, cannot hold the faeces and urine, and has problems getting up. Cramps, barking, and howling are also typical symptoms of an imminent end of life.

3 signs the dog is dying

Since there are a total of three stages of death for dogs, which cannot always be clearly distinguished from one another, we would like to introduce you to the three most common signs of death in dogs.

1. No food and water intake

Sure, sometimes your dog just has an upset stomach or just no appetite. If the refusal of food intake occurs in old dogs, this can still be a clear sign.

Most of the time, your dog will no longer eat pieces of sausage or other great, rare treats. This is to avoid unnecessarily replenishing energy that would only make the dying process more strenuous.

2. Urge to move

Your dog isn’t eating properly or not at all, but he’s jumping around again? It really isn’t a sign of improvement.

Your dog uses whatever energy reserves it has left over to ease the dying process. It can happen that your dog wants to play with the toys more or wants to go outside more often.

3. Physical failure

Once death is only a few days or hours away, your dog will become unable to hold its feces and urine.

The body no longer has the energy to do this.

Many dogs also begin to howl or bark. Usually your dog is not in pain – he is just making it clear that he is now ready to go.

How do I know if my dog ​​wants to die?

Not every dog ​​shows the exact same signs before death.

Observations have shown that dogs that used to like to cuddle with their owner or lay together on the couch are particularly close to their human.

Other dogs, which were more independent, usually withdraw and probably don’t want to burden anyone with it.

It is important that you do not pressure your dog or even offend it. Try to recognize what your dog wants right now and make it as comfortable as possible.

Physical signs

There are also some physical signs that can tell you that your dog’s body isn’t going to last as long.

These include:

  • Weak muscles that cause your dog to stumble and stagger more often.
  • The organs cease operations.
  • The intestines can no longer be controlled. Dogs often have blood in their stools.
  • Blood flow to the mucous membranes decreases, resulting in dry noses, pale tongues, and scaly skin.
  • Breathing and heartbeat slow down.


Don’t get scared You can feel your dog take a deep breath moments before death and then the lungs collapse on itself.

How do dogs behave just before they die?

We have already explained the three stages of death.

Your dog will refuse his food and water.
In the second phase he will show an exceptionally high urge to move.
You can recognize the last phase by the fact that your dog cannot hold the faeces and urine and has problems getting up.
However, not every dog behaves the same way. Some dogs want to spend time with their buddies, some want to lie on their owner’s lap all the time, and still other dogs just want to be alone.

Some dogs make it extremely clear that the time is “Goodbye!” has come to say. They often bark at their owners or howl for unknown reasons.

When does a dog need to be euthanized?

A veterinarian should answer this question in any case.

Theoretically, you can have your dog put to sleep as soon as it suffers severely from old age or incurable diseases and the pain associated with them. Of course, this also includes serious injuries after accidents.

How can I best help my dog?

The answer to this question is simple, but the execution is atrocious for most dog owners.

Let your dog go

You can try to carefully hand your dog some food, let him drink directly from your hand, or soak the food for a particularly long time.

In the second phase you should simply let your dog do what he actually wants to do. So if your dog wants to go for a walk, go for a walk with him.

The last stage is uncomfortable. If your dog does get dirty, gently clean up your dog and stay with them as much as possible. You should never leave him alone.
If your dog likes to be alone, it is sufficient if you are also in the room.

Take farewell

Probably the hardest task.

Give all members of the family a chance to say goodbye to the deceased dog.

This includes other pets. Make sure they were able to sniff the dog. In this way you also prevent them from later searching in panic for the deceased conspecific.

Try to be as honest as possible about your dog’s death. Grief is okay and absolutely necessary.

We wish you a lot of strength and hope for better days with you and your loved ones.


Saying goodbye is difficult and the signs can be many and varied. Basically, however, dying is a completely natural process.

You’ll notice most of the signs on your dog’s body because they’re eating less, losing weight, and possibly walking worse.

The behavior of the dying dogs is different. Some want to cuddle, others want to be alone.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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