Owning a dog is a beautiful experience. Dogs are your constant companion for years. But what do you do when your dog is reaching the end of their life? What do you do when your dog is no longer able to participate in their favorite activities?
End of life care for your dog can be challenging to navigate. It’s also a necessary part of having a dog. The more you plan for your dog’s end of life care, the better prepared you’ll be when the time comes.
Read below to learn more about how to prepare for yourself for your dog’s end of life care.
End of Life Care for Your Dog
When your dog is nearing their end of life, your first goal should be to make them as comfortable as possible. This would include things like raising their food and water bowls, so they don’t have to bend over. You may also consider getting a set of stairs near your couch or bed if these were common spots for them to relax. You want to find ways to make it easy for your dog to live the life they have known.
If your dog is having incontinence issues, be sure to check them occasionally to make sure they are not wet or have not defecated on themselves. You might even have to go outside with your dog to make sure they can adequately relieve themselves. Specially designed slings or even a towel can allow you to assist your dog going potty.
When caring for your dog at their end of life, you must allow them to try and live the life to which they are accustomed.
Maintaining Quality of Life
When your dog becomes elderly, it’s vital that you monitor their quality of life. After all, you two have enjoyed the time you’ve had together. If your dog cannot enjoy their life anymore, it may be time to consider euthanasia. While we prefer not to think of this option, it may be the most humane choice for a dog that is suffering.
When you consider your dog’s quality of life, there are many factors that you should think about.
- Does your dog seem irritable or restless?
- Is your dog able to eat and move on their own?
- Does your dog avoid activities they once enjoyed?
- Is your dog doing unusual things, like sleeping in strange places?
If your dog is acting strangely or is not able to enjoy things they once did, they may have a poor quality of life.
What to Do If Your Dog’s Quality of Life is Poor
Even if your dog can enjoy some activities they used to do, they may be suffering. Here are some signs that your dog might be in pain or suffering.
- Your dog is reluctant to move.
- They excessively pant or gasp.
- They seclude themselves from others.
- They become picky about the kinds of foods they’ll eat.
These are signs that your dog may be in pain or are not enjoying life. If your dog seems to be in pain, you can try a few things to help them. The first step would be making an appointment with your vet. If your dog has pain while moving, they may have arthritis. This can be taken care of with anti-inflammatory drugs.
If your dog has chronic pain, your vet might consider giving them a narcotic pain reliever to help with the pain. As always, your vet will be your best resource in managing pain. They have the best knowledge of your dog and will be a great resource. They will also be able to let you know when you should consider euthanasia.
What is Euthanasia?
Euthanasia is a procedure used to end your dog’s life. It involves your vet injecting your dog with a sedative that will put the dog to sleep. Then the dog is infused with a particular medication that quickly ends your dog’s life. The process only takes a few seconds and causes your dog no pain.
Your vet is going to be able to tell you if the time is right for euthanasia as well. They will be able to run advanced tests that will determine if the time has come. It may be very uncomfortable to let go of your pet, but if they are suffering, it is the best course of action. There is no reason to prolong your dog’s suffering.
If you have other pets in the home as well, you might notice a change in their behavior. While your other pets cannot tell you what they are feeling, they will undoubtedly miss their friend as well. Be sure you are there to help them along with extra affection too.