How To Comfort A Dog In Pain?

They say there’s a time to be born and a time to die. A time for joy and a time for pain. Being loving dog owners, we would have wanted to spend forever happiness with our dogs. So it is so hard to witness your beloved dog deteriorate from being active and healthy to being a sick dying dog. It’s the worst feeling especially if your precious is suffering and you feel like there’s nothing you can do to stop the pain. Deep in your heart you just want to make the last days of your beloved’s life as comfortable as possible. In this article, we will discuss the process sick dogs undergo in their last days and how to care for them.

1. What Are The Signs Your Dog Is In Pain And Discomfort

More often than not when dogs display a change in overall behavior it is most likely that their illness has advanced. This means that they’ve been in pain for such a long time. If your vet has diagnosed your dog with an incurable disease, then it is best to know the signs and symptoms of pain and discomfort for you to give proper care to your ailing dog. Here are some of the telltale signs:

  • Whimpering when a part of the body is touched
  • Shying away from everyone else
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Weight loss
  • Ears that are tilted back which indicates stress
  • Constant growling
  • Rapid breathing
  • Incontinence
  • Losing interest in everything
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Shaking or Trembling

2. Practical Tips on How To Comfort A Dying Dog In Pain

Now that you’ve recognized the signs that your dying dog is in pain, all you want to do is make him feel as comfortable as possible. At this point in your beloved dog’s life, you and your patience will make a big difference until he crosses the rainbow bridge. 

Stay with your dog

Your dog needs a lot of your presence at this time. He may withdraw himself from everyone else but your dog will seek your comforting voice and soothing touch. You can also take this as an opportunity to spend time with your dog. Just show your dog how important he is to you.   

Be calm

Your emotions are very important as well when giving comfort to your dying dog. Remember that dogs, in general, are very sensitive to their owners’ emotions. You have to understand that pain and discomfort are stressful enough for your dog so you have to set a comforting mood to alleviate the stress that your dog is already in.

Find a comfortable yet quiet spot for your dog

If you have other dogs around, it is best to find a spot away from the pack. Pain will change your ailing dog’s behavior and might growl or attack other dogs. Make sure that you’ll place him in a familiar yet quiet spot. A chaotic environment will highly likely drain sick people, how much more in sick dogs who have no way to speak out what they feel.

You can provide him with a soft bed and warm blankets that he can comfortably lie on. You may also surround him with his favorite toys to cheer him up. 

Keep your dog’s sleeping spot clean

Due to the overwhelming pain and discomfort, your dog will likely wet and soil himself where he is resting. That’s why you have to make sure to clean his bed and surroundings daily. This might require a lot of your time and patience since this scenario might happen a couple of times a day.

Clean your dog regularly

At this point, your dog might have problems with mobility and he might not like being moved due to pain. So the most practical way to cleaning your dog is using baby wipes. They come in handy and are very useful in cleaning messes on your dog’s fur. Of course, you want to make sure no dirt will stick to your dog’s fur near the anus so you may cut that hair if possible.

Hydrate your dog

There will come a time that your dying dog will start refusing to eat or drink. Your dog can go on without eating for several days but water is still essential to him. Dehydration will cause your dog to die a painful death and you don’t want to see him suffer that way. So here are things that you can do to encourage your dog to drink:

  • Offer your dog bone broth. The inviting smell and taste of bone broth may entice your dog to drink.
  • Give ice cubes for your dog to lick and chew
  • Dip cotton into the water and gently squeeze it to let water in your dog’s mouth. You may also use the same procedure to moisten your dog’s mouth and lips.

If all else fails and you can see your dog excessively drooling, has sunken eyes, and sticky saliva, then you should take your dog to the vet right away. You might think that you are prolonging his suffering but then again, you don’t want him to die in pain.

Give your dog whatever he wants

Since your dog is in pain and maybe in the last days of his life, give him anything he wants. Forget about his prescribed diet. Give him any food that will encourage him to eat. Remember that your goal is to let him enjoy his last days with you.

Consult your vet about pain medication

Although dogs aren’t vocal about pain, it is very important to ask your vet about pain medications. Proper pain medication does not only ease your dog’s pain but can also lessen other symptoms such as shaking, vomiting, and fever. 

Show your love and support

Your dog is used to hearing your voice all the time so talking with him in the most comforting tone will assure him that everything will be okay. Your dog will likewise appreciate your soothing touch but not in the areas where your dog feels pain. Make sure to give him long, gentle strokes, however overdoing it might stress your dog. You also have to maintain the space that he’s comfortable with.

3. What Do Dogs Do Before They Die

Each dog’s journey towards their final days is unique and may vary according to their circumstances. Some dogs transition to natural death in 2-3 weeks depending on the severity of the disease. While some will transition in 3 days. In some cases, their transition will take months so you can imagine how agonizing it is for them. 

Your dog will show signs that his last days are drawing very near. They may look like signs of pain but when you happen to observe all of them in your dog, then it’s most likely that your dog is transitioning to natural death.

  • Showing signs of breathing difficulties such as open-mouth breathing and labored breathing
  • Frequent seizures that may last for more than 10 minutes
  • Change in body odor
  • Vocalizing such as whining or crying
  • Totally refuses to eat or drink
  • Unusually still or restless
  • Lack of interest
  • Blank distant stares

4. Final Thoughts

As dog owners, witnessing our dogs suffer in pain is something that we never wish to experience. But there are ways that we can comfort them, be their companion during this difficult moment of their lives. You might feel helpless but you have to remember that caring for them on their last days is a privilege not given to all dog owners.

When you see your dog’s suffering is way too much, just remember that you have the right to end your dog’s agony through a compassionate, peaceful death called euthanasia. It is painless, quick, and a peaceful way to go for your dogs. 

And lastly, it’s okay to grieve and feel sad about what’s happening with your fur baby. Our article, “How To Get Over The Loss Of A Dog” will guide and help you in this tough time.

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