10 Signs Your Dog Is Dying

10 Signs Your Dog Is Dying

5 minutes read

Keeping a dog can be a most rewarding and lovely feeling. A canine is one of the most reliable and loyal of companions and treasures its owner more than anything. A dog fills our life with color and delight. What can be better than the sight of your four-legged pal roving around the lawn, playing with your kids, and generally being a big, furry ball of energy? Truly, a dog is man’s best friend indeed.

However, one of the things that dog owners dread more than anything is the prospect of their dogs dying. This seems like an unreal and abstract concept until you end up dealing with it. The lifespan of dogs is shorter than humans, by a lot. It is rare to hear of a dog that has lived to be 20 years of age and bigger dogs have even shorter lifespans. While other breeds have varying lifespans, there is still no guarantee that a dog will live for 20 years or more.

How to know if your dog is dying?

Typically, there are certain signs that you can look for when your dog is approaching death. These signs are painful and might be unbearable for you, especially if you love your dog. However, it is something that you must look for. That is because timely ascertainment of these signs can allow you to make things easier for your dog, alleviate his pain and suffering.

So, as heartbreaking as these signs may be, we have to inform you about them. The top signs to look for if your dog is dying are mentioned as follows:

Your Dog Loses Interest

A dog begins to lose interest in its surroundings when it approaches the end of its life. For instance, it won’t pay any attention to toys that it once loved, it won’t jump with joy when you enter the room and it won’t race to the door when someone knocks on it or rings the bell. This is one of the most prominent, and most saddening of signs that corroborate your dog’s approaching demise. This loss of interest usually occurs because your dog begins feeling more tired and less energetic. It will also be painful for it to move about as pain in the joints and arthritis sets in. To be concise, it becomes normal for aging or dying dogs to become less and less mobile as time passes.

Signs of Depression

Your dog might start exhibiting signs of depression in the last stages of its life. These can be listed as follows:

  • It will cease to indulge in activities that it once found enjoyable
  • It won’t respond to your commands and won’t give you any attention
  • Becomes more reclusive and withdrawn
  • It will experience a notable change in its patterns of sleeping
  • It will no longer want to go for walks or play around

Now, depression is treatable in dogs during normal days but it is very difficult to treat a dog that is nearing death for this problem. Medication won’t help since it isn’t recommended by most vets to give strong medications to aging or dying dogs.

A decrease in Coordination

Dogs start losing considerable coordination when they are approaching death. Their muscle strength decreases and this significantly affects their balance. They also start experiencing problems like nearsightedness and become generally clumsier. So, if your dog starts showing these symptoms then perhaps it is time to worry.

Loss of Bladder Control

Aging dogs start losing control over their bladder and is not a cause for worrying if your dog is happy and energetic. However, if your dog shows incontinence and other signs on this list then it might point to it nearing its lifespan.

Weird Breathing

A dog’s bodily functions begin to deteriorate when it approaches death and this can cause it to start breathing irregularly. What, you thought that only occurs with humans? No, it is quite true for dogs as well. Your dog might start breathing fast and very slow from time to time. Its breathing will also become labored in the later stages and this points to imminent and approaching death for your pup.

Changes in Appetite

A Dog that is near death will also experience significant changes in hunger and appetite. In addition to changes in appetite, a dying dog might cease to eat altogether. Granted, dogs with stress or gastrointestinal problems might also stop eating but at least there is an explanation right. But, it is this unexplained and inexplicable change in appetite and hunger that is a cause for worry.

Digestive Problems

Some dogs start showing problems with digestion during the end stages of their lives. These include symptoms like diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, etc. This happens because your dog’s stomach weakens and its digestive system doesn’t perform as well as it should and did. Diarrhea can lead to dehydration which can be disastrous for your dog’s already dilapidated state of health.

Craves Comfort

Your dog will become clingier than usual during the last stages of its life. It will start to crave comfort from you as it won’t feel well more frequently. But, it is also possible for your dog to start avoiding you when it is nearing death. At the end of the day, your dog might opt for any one of these behaviors at the end of its lifespan. It might also become normal for your dog to start hiding under the bed and not coming out before it dies.

Gum Color

The color of your dog’s gums will become blue and less red in the last stages of its life. That is because sufficient oxygen won’t reach the bloodstream and this will bring about the said change in gum color.


A dying dog can also start to exhibit twitching. That is because when a dog is nearing death and ages, its muscles will lose strength and the dog will no longer have sufficient control over them. This manifests in the form of twitching in dogs.