Losing your beloved dog is always painful. It is never an easy experience for anyone who loves and shares their life with a dog—they are in your heart forever and always!
A dog is a part of our family, and most pet parents are in distress when their pet displays signs that something is wrong. Sometimes age and sometimes illness can lead your friend to part from you. Since a dog’s life span is much shorter than a human, thus every pet parent will have to face such calamity at some point. Your veterinarian will advise you when it’s time to let go, and it’s for you to make him always feel loved and wanted.
When it’s time to let go
Dogs are considered to be a man’s best friend. The impending death of a dog can feel like your world has crumbled all around you. Take your vet’s advice and guidance.
- Seeking comfort: It has been observed that dogs can sense their approaching death and will look to their family for comfort. Stay with your dog and reassure him with gentle stroking and a soft voice. It might be their own special way of saying a last ‘goodbye’. Dying pets often seek a place of shelter, almost like a hidden place, when death is near. Notice where your pet spends most of his time. If he has found a hiding place where he typically doesn’t go, he might be in pain and be preparing for death. Most dogs die in their sleep and prefer to be close to their pet parents at the final moment.
- Stop eating and drinking: In the final stages of life, dogs show no interest in food and water, even if you provide their favourite food. He may just lick whatever is held out to satisfy his pet parent. He no longer has the sensation of hunger or thirst. You can try to keep him hydrated by giving him water with a dropper.
- Stop responding: This is the most common sign that the dying process has begin. Dog that is nearing his end may lie at the same spot for hours together. He may sleep for most of the day or night. He does not enjoy things he enjoyed before and he might stop grooming himself. Also note if he stops displaying the usual signs of happiness, such as wagging a tail.
- Showing confusion: A dying pet can act confused and irritated; he might even bite a family member. He might even begin failing to recognise his long-time human companions. If your dog does get up and move around, he may appear disoriented. He may shake or convulse while lying down.
Providing peaceful and comfortable departure of your dog
For most animal lovers, losing a pet is like losing a member of the family. This can leave you grief-stricken and depressed.
- Quiet and comfy place: Provide a warm and quiet place for your dog to rest comfortably. If you can, keep him in a confined, quiet, comfortable area and remove anything he may bump into or knock over.
- Do not force feed: You can try offering him food and water if he’s willing to take it, but don’t try to force it on him. They stop eating when it is time to go.
- Be there for him: Pet your dog and talk to him. Reassure him that everything is okay and that you love him. Just be there for him.
Coping with the death of your lovable four-legged friend
Though death is inevitable, still it is sometimes, very difficult to overcome the loss.
- Rest in peace: Give your pet a decent funeral.
- Memories forever: Keep memories of your friends like snaps, hair clipping, paw mark – whatever you like.
- Death is inevitable: Don’t blame yourself for your pet’s death. You did whatever you could and regretting will not help in any way.
- Seek help: Talk to people who have lost their pets. Knowing that you are not alone in this grief will make you deal with it in a better way.
- Live a normal life: Don’t shut yourself from the world. Go out and interact.
- Give a thought: Don’t rush into buying a new pet, unless you are completely over the loss of the old one.
- No two dogs are alike: Avoid bringing a pet that looks exactly like the deceased one. Remember, no two pets are the same and you need to cultivate a new relationship with the new pet.
- Go to an animal shelter: Spending time with other dogs will help decrease the pain. But the times you have spent with your beloved pet will be your precious memories forever and true.(Dr Ashwini Kumar Singh and Dr Kumar Manglam Yadav are students of Mahatma Gandhi Veterinary College, Bharatpur, Rajasthan).
So when tomorrow starts without me,
Don’t think we’re far apart,
For every time you think of me,
I’m right here, in your heart.