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Dogs have much shorter lifespans compared to humans.
This is the saddest reality that pet parents have to deal with.
If you’ve owned many pups before, you have probably said goodbye to a few of them already.
Watching your beloved animal friend die is not fun at all.
Your heart breaks into a million pieces. It is even worse if the poor dog dies a painful and slow death.
Although dogs have a higher pain tolerance, they go through a great deal of pain and discomfort as they near their death.
This is the sole reason pet owners choose to put their dying pets to sleep.
It eases the agony by giving the dogs a quick and painless death.
But how about letting your dog die a natural death?
How long does it take before Fido takes the final breath?
We will discuss this among a few other interesting topics on the natural death of dogs.
How Long Does It Take For A Dog To Die Naturally?
According to VEThelpdirect.com, there’s no standard time a dog takes to die naturally.
It could be a matter of hours, days, weeks, or months.
The length of time it takes for your dog to take their last breath predominantly depends on the reason.
Very sick dogs are likely to die within a few hours but most take days and weeks to finally reach there.
For instance, dogs with spleen tumors tend to deteriorate quickly as the tumor bursts causing a lot of internal bleeding.
However, if your pooch is experiencing a slow-progressing illness, it is pretty difficult to predict how long it will be before she dies eventually.
If you are watching your sweet dog waste away, you’d have to make the decision of having them euthanized or letting them die a natural death.
The fact that you cannot predict how long death will take to come complicates things for you.
This is especially true if you are not for the idea of putting the pet to sleep.
Your dog could be going through an agonizing death that may take a longer time to end.
To know how to proceed, you might want to contact your vet.
They are likely to give you a good prediction on when your doggie is probably set to cross over to the afterlife.
They can do this by interpreting what the pet is dying from.
By testing your doggie’s vitals, your vet will also determine approximately how long death will come for your dog.
In case transporting your pooch will be a challenge, consider requesting the vet to come and access the situation.
They will also offer words of wisdom on what to do.
How To Help A Dog Die Naturally?
As your dog nears the end of her life, you can step in and make her journey a little less anxious and a little more comfortable.
How? You ask…
By doing the following:
I. Offer Palatable Food
A dying dog has little or no appetite.
You can help things by giving her the kind of food she wants.
Consider something like cooked chicken and tasty kibble to get her to eat it.
If the pet refuses food completely, don’t force her.
II. Get a comfortable spot for the dog
Most dogs tend to hide when they are dying as a way to protect their vulnerable bodies and for a host of other reasons. Check this post to learn more: Why Do Dogs Hide When They Are Dying?
If yours shows these tendencies, find her hiding spot and make it as comfortable as you can
III. Keep the pet’s bedding clean
Dying dogs tend to have incontinence, meaning they will lose control of their bladder and bowels.
You want to try and clean the pet’s bed as often as you can.
Place some towels beneath the dog to make cleaning easier.
IV. Clean the dog
Besides making sure the dog’s bed is clean always, you might want to wipe the dog as well.
A dying dog is difficult to bathe but with baby wipes, you can keep the dirt and mess at bay.
While you are at it, consider shaving the dog’s anal area to keep it clean and avoid bowel movements from sticking there. This is especially true for fluffy pets.
V. Offer support as the dog desires
As your pet dies, she may not want you near her at all.
By all means, stay away.
Else, if she doesn’t mind your company, be sure to offer enough of it.
Talk to her as much as you can and assure her of your support and encouragement.
VI. Change her position from time to time
Lying on one side can prove painful for just about any breathing creature—your dying dog included.
When she can no longer switch sides or move from one point to another, take over from her.
Watch how the dog behaves to know if she wants a change of position.
You may also want to check: Why Do Dogs Face East When They Die?
Is It Inhumane To Let A Dog Die Naturally?
Champions of letting pets die a natural death argue that this method gives dogs a dignified death.
Euthanasia done in the vet’s office is traumatizing for the already stressed doggie.
Secondly, euthanasia is playing Mother Nature. It is forcing death on a pet than letting Nature take its course.
No one truly knows when a dog should die. Letting her die naturally ensures she’s given every chance to combat disease and die when the right time comes.
On the other hand, vets and other proponents of pet euthanasia claim that letting the dog die naturally is putting them through needless suffering.
According to Veterinarian Dr. Jeff Werber, it is rare for a dog to be sick but not in pain and then pass away peacefully in its sleep.
He claims that when a pet is sick and deteriorating, he will be anxious, uncomfortable, and in pain.
The dog will often display signs of death long before it happens.
Ethically, allowing the pet to go through a natural death can cause undue suffering she looks up to her owners to make the decision for them.
With that said, letting your dog die naturally at home isn’t always inhumane.
It depends on the illness the pet is suffering from.
If the disease is causing a great deal of pain and suffering for the poor animal, the best thing would be to put them to sleep or make them comfortable as they wait for their death.
Some conditions can be managed with painkillers provided by vets.
However, if the pet is likely going to suffer a frightening, agonizing, and painful death, euthanasia is the kindest option.
What Happens When A Dog Dies Naturally?
A dying dog’s body goes through many changes.
You will notice a lack of energy which is often caused by dehydration.
Such a pet has no interest in food or water because her system is shutting down.
That means they will be hungry, lethargic, and severely dehydrated.
Dehydration also adds to the pain the dog is already going through.
Secondly, the dog’s body, after knowing that things aren’t okay will work extremely hard to fix things.
The heart will try to pump blood harder to keep oxygen and pressure levels right.
This will make the dog light-headed, dizzy, and weak.
As a result, the dog is unlikely to play or move.
Because of being vulnerable, a dying dog often retreats to a spot away from everyone and where he can best protect himself.
As death nears, the dog will have bouts of diarrhea and experience vomiting.
She will also suffer from incontinence and pass feces and urine without any control whatsoever.
Loss of consciousness will soon follow for brief or longer periods.
Further, the heartbeat and breathing will slow down before muscle spasms and twitching kick in.
Finally, the dog’s heart will lose its ability to pump blood and will stop altogether.
This is death as we know it.
After dying, the dog will exhale its final breath and have a black stare if the eyes remain open.
As tension leaves the muscles, the pet may defecate or urinate.
You may want to check: How to Tell How Long a Dog Has Been Dead
One of the most difficult things about being a dog parent is dealing with the inevitable end of life of your pet.
Going the euthanasia route is emotionally overwhelming and some pet owners prefer alternatives.
Letting the dog die naturally also has its disadvantages but it removes the guilt of killing your dog.
Additionally, in case there’s a chance that your pup could get better, giving nature a chance to take its course can save the doggie in the end.
When death will come naturally is a hard nut to crack.
It can take as short as a few hours or as long as several months.
Talk to your vet about letting your pup die naturally and let them advise accordingly.
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Sable McNeil is a canine chef, professional pet blogger, and proud owner of two male dogs. I have been an animal lover all my life, with dogs holding a special place in my heart. Initially, I created this blog to share recipes, tips, and any relevant information on healthy homemade dog treats. But because of my unrelenting passion to make a difference in the world of dogs, I have expanded the blog’s scope to include the best information and recommendations about everything dog lovers need to know about their canine friends’ health and wellbeing. My mission now is to find the most helpful content on anything related to dogs and share it with fellow hardworking hound lovers. While everything I share is in line with the latest evidence-based veterinarian health guidelines, nothing should be construed as veterinary advice. Please contact your vet in all matters regarding your Fido’s health.