How Dog Acts Before Death

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How Dog Acts Before Death

January 25, 2023 5 min read

Many people wonder what kind of dogs go through before they die, or at least what behaviors they see. While there is no clear answer as to whether this is normal behavior for all animals that pass away, it is very common for certain breeds to show some sort of activity or behavior before they give up their life.

Some theories suggest that when an animal becomes too old or sick to live anymore, it will try to do everything in its power to avoid more pain by giving up and dying. This may include things like refusing to eat or drink, or even chewing off your own limbs to end your own life.

However, other than thinking about how to help them feel better, we should be looking into why these behaviors occur in the first place. Some believe that dogs experience death in a way that is different from humans. They say that instead of imagining themselves to be dead, dogs seem to forget about you after you are gone.

This could be because they have socialized themselves to learn about death early in life, or due to something about the structure of their brain. Either way, they don’t understand the concept of human mortality so well.

There also are stories of deceased beloved pets coming back to life and interacting with loved ones again, which suggests that they remain connected to the world around them until the last moment.

Slow death

Many dogs seem to know when it’s time to die. They will show signs of depression or sadness, pacing back and forth in their kennel or room, whining or crying intermittently, refusing food and water. Sometimes they appear to be asleep with their paws up, not moving at all.

These are usually very mature dogs who have lived a good life. When you try to rouse them, they don’t respond. It is kind of like they say “goodbye” and then nothing more happens.

This can also happen days or weeks later when you try to wake them up for whatever reason. They may still be sleeping when you finally get them out of bed but they aren’t responding to anything and they no longer eat.

It's important to note that although this might look like a peaceful end, there could be lots of underlying health problems that contribute to death. A dog that has never been awake before might actually be suffering from an untreated heart condition or other illness.

Excessive licking

Labrador Licking its Nose

Photo by Gabe onPexels

When your dog is acting very thirsty, he may be trying to tell you something about his water supply or how much of it he has left.

If your dog is constantly drinking large amounts of water, this can indicate that he’s feeling ill or unwell. This could be due to health conditions such as kidney disease, which would cause him to drink more in order to urinate less frequently.

Alternatively, he might be suffering from heat stroke, so he is drinking increasingly larger quantities of water to try and cool down.

Since dogs don’t have sweat glands like we do, they must rely on their fur to keep themselves warm. If they are exposed to hot temperatures for too long, however, then their body will start to break down all of the protective layers of fur, resulting in liquid escaping out through the pores of the skin.

This is what causes dry flaking and excessive grooming, both of which are signs that the dog is trying to get rid of excess moisture.

Excessive scratching

Closeup Photography of Adult Short-coated Tan and White Dog Sleeping on Gray Textile at Daytime

Photo by Christian Domingues onPexels

When your dog is acting very nervous, it’s usually because he's feeling stressed or scared. If you see this happening, try to determine what is making him feel that way. Is someone new in his life? Has something bad happened?

If so, then make sure his needs are being met — food, water, shelter, etc. -- and if possible, help him deal with the source of his stress.

But if he seems particularly agitated at another animal, there may be no easy solution except to say goodbye.

You can never predict how a dog will react when put under pressure, but perhaps talking about death as an option would reduce fear and anxiety for both of you.

However, only do this if you really want to give up on rehoming or adopting instead of letting nature take its course.

Excessive drinking

Soaked Wet Long-coated Dog Opens Mouth at Water Streams on Green Grass


When dogs drink too much water, they can become very thirsty and uncomfortable. If you notice your dog acting strangely or looking slightly sunken in appearance, check to see if he has gone through the process of dehydration.

He may try to lick himself excessively to get some moisture back into his system. He may also have trouble standing up and/or grooming himself due to lack of hydration.

If you discover signs of lethargy, pain, or stiffness when walking or moving him, take him to the doctor right away!

**Note: It is never okay to leave a dog alone while it is experiencing symptoms of dehydration. Even for an hour could be too long as conditions worsen.**

It’s important to note that even though puppies need more water than adult dogs, how much liquid their body needs changes as they grow. An eight-week old puppy will require one cup (250 ml) of plain water every two hours until they are up to par. A five-year-old dog does not need as many cups per day.

One way to make sure your furry friend gets enough liquids is to give her a bowl full of fresh water at least once per day. This can be done during meal times, before bedtime, or any time she seems hungry.

Excessive eating

a beautiful cute dog sleeping on the street


When your dog is hungry, she will look for food to eat. If she does not find anything within minutes, then it is time to worry.

If you notice that her appetite has diminished or she seems lethargic, talk with her about what you can do next.

She may indicate that she does not feel well by acting like herself. For example, if she was playful before, now she is more quiet than usual. She may also be warmer than normal.

If possible, try waking your dog up a few hours later than usual so that she can wake up feeling better. This could mean taking her out for a short walk or changing her sleeping area.

Many times, dogs are reluctant to get into their crates or kennels after they sleep, which makes them even colder. You might want to bring blankets to warm these areas up until she gets used to them.

In some cases, a vet visit is needed to determine whether your dog is suffering from something serious such as kidney failure or heart disease.

Cindy PetsForLife
Cindy PetsForLife

Hello, I'm Cindy, the founder of PetsForLife. I am a true animal lover with 3 cats and 1 dog of my own. My passion for all things pets has led me to create a unique collection of personalized pet gifts. Check out our personalized pet gifts on our website.

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