The signs that may tell your dog is dying is: appetite, confusion, slowed respiration, loss of coordination, lethargy, and a desire to be left alone or get closer to their owners. If you suspect these signs, calling your vet to take a look at your dog’s health is essential.

You would want to stay close to your pet as much as possible in his last days.
When you are a dog parent, you need to know some signs that may indicate that your dog is slowly moving towards death.


Euthanasia is a humane alternative for helping your ill dog in transition.
Here “Eu” stands for “good or well,” and “thanasia” stands for “death” in Greek.


Your dog is the most adorable member of your family. While you may never want to think about your dog leaving your side, the time will naturally come when you have to say goodbye to your beloved pet. Whether your pet is reaching its age limit or it is struggling with extreme illness, they might start showing signs when they are about to die. Identifying the possible signs that your dog is dying can provide you enough time to prepare. You will get time to make arrangements for your pet’s last days, whether you make your mind for their natural death or opt for humane euthanasia [1].

15 Signs That Your Dog Is Dying

These are some signs that can help you determine if your dog is getting close to its last days.

  • Loss of Interest
  • Depression
  • Loss of Coordination
  • Incontinence
  • Odd breathing
  • Extreme Lethargy
  • Reduced Appetite
  • Gastrointestinal Symptoms
  • Seeking Comfort
  • Twitching
  • Change in Gum Color
  • Irritability
  • Lowered Body Temperature
  • Weight loss
  • Decreased Thirst

Loss of Interest

When your dog approaches his last stage, he can slowly start to lose interest in the things and people around him. The toys he loves will collect dust, and your pet might be able to jump to give you warm hugs when you arrive home.

Unfortunately, it is the starting sign that your dog is losing his quality of life.

A sudden loss of interest in his favorite things and activities could be possible due to many reasons:

  • Your dog starts getting tired in a short time, which further decreases the time he spends playing.
  • It becomes difficult for your dog to move around and have fun if he has joint pain or arthritis.
  • Even if he is not in any pain, old dogs might have problems in a regular walk. He might experience trouble on slippery floors or judging distance.

They are left with no choice but to sit or lay in their bed all day, showing no interest in their favorite activities. Your dog has not stopped loving you; he just not has the same amount of energy left to express.

You must always remember that even if your dog shows no interest, this never means that he does not love you.



Many dogs that are near their deathbed might experience some symptoms of depression.

It does not happen because they could feel when they are about to die. Instead, it happens as he is not keeping well.

He may, often:

  • Stop taking part in the activities he once loved
  • Become withdrawn
  • Lose his interest in a trip or fun walks to the park
  • Avoid responding to your voice
  • Experience changes in sleeping pattern

While your dog’s depression might be treatable in some other situations, but it may be difficult when your pet is approaching his last days.

Medical attention might be necessary for some depressed dogs, but your furry friend may not show a positive response if he is too old. It is essential to talk to your vet regarding this problem.

Loss of Coordination

Loss of coordination gets common in dogs as they get close to their end. They lose their muscle strength like they used to have, and it affects their balance. In addition to this, they might have trouble judging the distance or start losing their eyesight. All these factors play a huge role in making them clumsier.

Moreover, many disorders play an equal role in their loss of coordination, which includes dehydration. If your canine is facing gastrointestinal issues along with the loss of coordination, there is a possibility that he might be dehydrated.

However, if your pooch is experiencing more than one of the above symptoms, it is crucial to get in touch with your vet.


It is common among dogs to lose control bladder control as they grow old. Incontinence does not always mean that your dog is about to die; it also a sign that your canine is aging. However, if incontinence starts at an early age and joins other symptoms, it could indicate that your pet’s body is developing to shut down. However, if your pet is having these symptoms yet still bouncing and having fun, he is not leaving your side this early.

We would still recommend speaking to your vet about his lost bladder control. Incontinence could be a sign of many underlying health concerns, which require your attention [2].

Pro Tip: Try to keep some pads under your dog if he is having difficulty getting up or moving. Keep him as clean as possible as it may cause sores if his skin is left dirty for a long time.


Odd Breathing

When your dog is near his last days, then his body starts shutting down its functionality. It could result in having issues in breathing.

It is the same for humans as well. If you have been watching your loved one closely, you may have noticed that they experience irregular breathing during their last couple of hours.

However, your pet’s breathing could be either very fast or slow. It could get normal for a while but may soon fluctuate. Your canine may find it very hard to move the air in and out [3]

If you suspect that your dog is having trouble breathing, you need to call the vet right away. It could be an indication of an illness that requires treatment [4].

Often, it is counted as the last sign when your dog is about to die. It could continue to go on for a few hours before he finally passes.

Reduced Appetite

Dogs that are near to their deathbed will often experience a decrease in their appetite. They might even refuse to eat, which is worrying.
Just like us humans, dogs may stop eating their food when they are upset.

If they are experiencing gastrointestinal issues, they may simply stop eating because they feel sick.

Reduced appetite does not always mean that your dog is dying. Many diseases like cancer, tumor, extreme illness, or distress could also reduce your dog’s appetite. Dogs that are having kidney failure or heart attack symptoms can also lose their appetite.

Pro Tip: If he is refusing to eat, try to feed him with your hands. On his end days, try to hand-feed him what he enjoys the most; make sure it is not toxic to your pet. You may also shift to a liquid diet if he does not prefer to have his regular meals.


Gastrointestinal Symptoms

It is rare to happen, but some dogs might develop gastrointestinal issues when they are in their last days. Gastrointestinal problems may also develop due to Canine Parvovirus [5]. It may also include diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.

These symptoms could happen for the following reasons:

  • Firstly, when your dog shifts close to his death, he is more likely to develop digestion issues. Vomiting and nausea become a part of it.
  • Secondly, your dog’s diet might decrease, which could be the reason for nausea. Gastrointestinal issues are linked with many other diseases.

If your notice such symptoms, we recommend speaking to the vet right away. In either case, it gets essential for your dog to stay hydrated. Diarrhea could cause dehydration, and your pet might get constipated due to dehydration.

Seeking Comfort

Your dog may turn super clingy when they feel like they are about to die. They will feel sick and search for their owners to comfort them.

They may also get the feeling that their life is soon going to end, and they might try to hide the fact that they are not feeling well.

Moreover, if your pet is showing signs of lethargy, then he might not have the energy left to seek comfort.

Dogs know their owners very well, and they would try their best to hide that their death is near. They would try to be alone when they die.


Your pet might encounter some muscle control loss as he grows older, which could lead to twitching.

It is possible for the dog to develop twitching when he is in pain or feel dehydrated.

Twitching alone is not a bad sign at all. Like us humans, our pets can also twitch for absolutely no reason.

However, twitching that causes your dog to lose his balance, or if it lasts longer, then it could indicate some serious underlying health concern. You need to fix a meeting with your vet to discuss its treatment.

Change in Gum Color

If your canine’s organs fail to work, as usual, it may result in a change of color.
For instance, if your pet’s gums are blue in color, it could indicate that his gums lack the appropriate amount of oxygen in the bloodstream.

It could happen if your dog has either heart or lung problem. It could also mean that your dog might have a serious problem like congestive heart failure. Another serious illness such as pneumonia could also be the reason for your dog’s gums to change their color.

White or pale gums are a clear indication of insufficient blood flow. It further shows signs of blood loss in your dog, which could possibly happen due to any internal bleeding.

Alternatively, it also shows signs of anemia. It could develop due to poor diet and any other underlying issues.

Bright red gums are signs of heatstroke in old dogs. The gums turn into this color when your dog is not capable of having control of his body temperature and is getting too hot.

Gum discoloring is quite rare, but it is possible when your pet is dying [6].

Pro Tip: If your dog has dry gums and mouth, you can help his gums and lips moist using lukewarm water with the help of cotton.



Your dog’s behavior before death will not be the best. He might get irritated for no reason.

He might react unexpectedly to many things he could tolerate before, snap on you, or even growl unnecessarily. It happens when he is in pain or fear.

If he is in pain, he might feel that being in contact with his owner will cause more pain.

He might try to become offensive to keep you away from him in this pain.

On the other side, if you feel that he has a lot of energy to get irritable, it is possible that he is having some other problem other than death. As dogs, when gets closer to their last stage, become lethargic, rather than getting irritable.

If you notice these behavioral changes, talk to your vet immediately [7].

Lowered Body Temperature

Dogs slowly lose control of their body temperature as they grow old and develop health issues that might lose heat from their bodies.

It usually happens when the dog is about to die, and its body gets very cold.

You need to make sure to regularly keep a check on his body temperature to be on the safe side.

You can choose to keep your dog’s body warm with the help of heated beds, heat pads, or hot water bottles, and electronic heating blankets. Call your vet if his body temperature feels very low.

Weight Loss

As your dog reduces its diet, it will eventually reduce its weight. It is quite worrying for the dog owners to see their pet losing weight.

It is not normal for dogs to lose weight on their own, as it is often related to some serious disorders like hepatic insufficiencies, malignancies, and chronic renal.

Decreased Thirst

Food and adequate water provide energy and hydration that are essential to sustain. It is also normal for your dog to want to have soft foods or a liquid diet like water or bone broth.

As the dog slowly shifts to its end, its ability to swallow food gradually reduces. Dogs may find it difficult to chew solid food and might end up choking on solid food. They might not even able to walk to their water bowl as they used to.

How long does it take the dog to die if he quits water? Dogs can survive for two to three days if they quit water. In dehydration, the whole body of the dog gets affected. If your dog is in a very weak stage, you must be very careful in giving him water as he might choke.

Final Thoughts

Losing your pet is very painful, but we hope this information could help you in some way.

Try not to panic and stay calm and think about your dog’s smiling face. It is not easy to see your dog dying right in front of you, but you need to focus on your mental health and try to keep good care of your dog in his last days.