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As dogs approach natural death they may seek out solitude. They may detach a little bit more each day from their routines and seek resting areas away from all the hustle and bustle of busy homes. Before my uncle's dog passed, he reported that in the previous days his pretty collie dog was not showing up as much as before. He preferred sleeping in the barn rather than being present in the mornings to greet him and have breakfast as he always did in the past 10 years.

Many owners, however, report that their dogs remain very present and affectionate for most of the time. Some report them even being clingy, although at times they may still seek distance. Respect your dog's need for peace and quiet. Approach him or her quietly to prevent startling them. Calmly touch them and reassure them. Avoid loud noises or bright lights. Consider spraying some Rescue Remedy or Adaptil in the room.

There are some signs that are more likely to occur as a dog is days away from death. As mentioned, there are no rules set when it comes to the dying process and some signs may pop up earlier than expected. Most dog owners who elect euthanasia after witnessing the early signs may not witness the signs described here; however, in some cases it can happen that natural death in dogs unfolds either because the owners elect to do hospice care with assistance from a vet or the dog has a fast-moving illness that catches them off guard the vet may be unavailable when the dog passes.

It is always best to be prepared. Many vets now offer house calls. There is even a new franchise company called Lap of Love that specializes in vets offering hospice care and humane euthanasia at home. As a dog nears death, he or she will become less mobile. The dog may start getting weak and no longer have enough strength to get up.

Their legs may start giving out or they may have trouble climbing stairs and have difficulty navigating slippery floors. As things progress, the dog may no longer be able to get up and walk around; some may also struggle to lift their heads. Provide non-skid flooring. Some dogs require assistance getting around.

There are several mobility harnesses, slings, carts, and wheelchairs available nowadays. A towel or blanket placed under a dog's belly may come in handy to help support his or her weight. As your dog no longer gets up to potty or drink, place some incontinence pads underneath them and offer water as needed as long as the dog can swallow. Water and food provide energy and hydration and are meant to sustain life, not death. It is normal for dying dogs to want only soft foods and liquids such as bone broth or water. If a dog is mobile and able to swallow, ensure easy access to food and water.

If the dog is in a weakened state, caution is needed when offering water. Forcing water down a dog's throat if the dog lacks the ability to swallow may cause choking and aspiration pneumonia. If your dog is on medications, dehydration may potentiate their effects and cause liver damage or similar organ damage. Consult with your vet for instructions to avoid side effects.

This refers to both bladder and bowel incontinence. Incontinence may occur due to a lack of sphincter control; the dog may soil easily because he or she is weak and can no longer get up and move around as he used to. As the dog stops eating and drinking, accidents will occur less frequently considering that gastrointestinal functions are starting to shut down. Keep pads under your dog if he or she is no longer mobile and clean up messes as soon as you can.

The failure to clean up messes may lead to sores caused by waste irritating the skin. Dog owners may notice their dog becoming restless. It's important to understand whether or not this is part of the natural process or whether this is an indication of discomfort either due to pain or something else that needs to be addressed.

Determine whether your dog is too hot or cold, whether they are thirsty or need to be turned. Keep calming aids on hand if needed. Talk to your dog softly and use a gentle touch. Such practices are considered unethical and inhumane. It is not unusual for a dying dog to experience pain, so dogs owners may have pain relievers on hand as prescribed by the vet.

Dogs that are unable to swallow may require drugs given by injection. These can be provided by a vet specializing in hospice care. Homeopathic remedies in pellet form may be suitable to ease some discomfort and can also be delivered as a mouth melt. You have been familiar with your dog's breathing for many years, and now you notice that your dog's breathing pattern is changing. As dogs near death, it is common for their breathing patterns to change or for them to have a difficult time breathing.

This change may take place just hours or days prior to death and is a sign that the dog's body is beginning to slowly shut down. Here's what you'll observe:. Looking at the dog's gums is an optimum reference when it comes to determining a dog's health status. In a healthy dog, you want to see nice bubblegum-pink gums. These pink gums are proof of oxygen-rich blood circulating throughout the dog's body.

The gums are also typically moist. If the blood vessels aren't vascularized and oxygenated well, changes in color may be observed:. There is not much that can be done to reverse the gum color changes caused by reduced circulation. If your dog is anemic, due to a bleeding cancer, you can ask your vet about an emergency transfusion, but in many cases this may only provide transient relief. Yunnan Baiyao emergency pills the red pills found in the middle of the packet , can sometimes help for acute hemorrhage due to hemangiosarcoma.

Consult with a vet. He or she may suggest a a PCV a hematocrit level to asses the situation. For critical cases, humane euthanasia may be elected. For the dry mouth and dry gums, you can help keep the lips and gums moist with lukewarm water by using a cotton swab if the dog appears to appreciate this.

As things progress and death inevitably approaches, the body cools down because of reduced circulation. Owners often notice cold paws and cooler breath. This is normal considering that the body temperature lowers and blood pressure drops before death. Keep a very light blanket on your dog for comfort, but make sure it's a very light one as a regular blanket may feel very heavy on a dying dog.

When an animal hospice patient is in the last hours of life, recognition and alleviation of pain are top priorities for the pet owner and the healthcare team. Pain should be addressed as soon as it is suspected, when physiologic or behavioral signs are noted.

Contrary to a common fear, there is no evidence to suggest that pain suddenly intensifies during active dying. A study published in the journal Animals observed dogs and cats who had recently lost an animal family member. It was revealed that many of the animals in the study continuously went to check on their companion's favorite places in the home. Other trending behaviors included increased clinginess in both cats and dogs, increased napping in dogs, increased vocalizations in cats, and reduced appetite in both dogs and cats. The stages of grief are nonlinear, but understanding that one may experience each and every emotion helps to aid in the healing process.

Here are the five stages of grief :. Death generally unfolds following several milestones, but not all dogs will stop at each milestone. Some dogs may skip some or go through them very quickly, while others may take months to reach the end of their journey. It's important, therefore, to recognize that none, some, or all of the changes described above may be observed. You may stumble on some dogs who remain active, eating, and up on their feet up to their final day, while others may be sluggish and sleep for hours on end in their final weeks. There are no rules set in stone. Some dog owners report a surge of energy a few days prior to a dog's death.

The dog suddenly walks or eats and appears to have more energy. As pleasant as this is, it's often short-lived and not a sign of getting better, rather, it's often a sign of nearing death—the signs of dying return and are often more pronounced. After a dog displays some or several of the signs described above, death takes place. Sometimes muscle twitching may be observed immediately after death. Breathing or gasping may be noticed too; it's not to get oxygen though, but a reflex of the nerves.

These bodily reactions are part of the natural event of dying and should not be interpreted as suffering. The bladder or bowels may empty. Diarrhea may seep out. Keeping towels under the dog may absorb messes. The eyes of a dead dog remain open. After a few minutes, it's normal for the cornea to assume a glassy appearance. Death rattle is not as common in dogs as it is in humans. Death is usually confirmed by using a stethoscope and listening for lack of a heartbeat, but what is death?

Death is the collapse of the dog's cardiovascular system, which translates into the failure of oxygen delivery to the tissues, cells, and vital organs of the body. It's the end of the journey. Death in dogs may occur naturally or through injection of euthanasia solution by the vet. Most dogs are euthanized by a vet, but more and more owners are now electing hospice care for their dogs with the assistance of a vet. Hospice care doesn't mean that euthanasia is never considered.

On the contrary, it is considered as a last option should the dog be in unmanageable pain. It's important that dog owners remain in constant contact with their vets during this time and that they keep injectable pain relievers on hand should the dog no longer be capable of taking pills by mouth.

Work with a vet that specializes in hospice care to make sure your dog is comfortable as much as possible throughout the process. Death is quite a journey. It is part of life and sadly it's one that all of us dog owners will eventually have to face at one time or another. As the saying goes though, "forewarned is forearmed. In an ideal situation, your veterinarian will be with you at the time of your dog's passing.

Many veterinary clinics will collect your beloved pet's body and offer cremation services and burial services for the deceased. Mobile veterinarians, regular cremation services, and animal control can also be of help.


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If these services are unavailable to you, here are some tips on what to do:. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately. It is not unusual for a dying dog to vomit. The white liquid may be mucus which is is often produced in the GI tract when it is irritated.

In dogs dying from heart problems like heartworm disease coughing up and vomiting foam is not unusual. Dogs dying from bloat may retch and vomit only small amounts of foam. If there is no more swallowing, saliva may pool and cause drooling or there may be nausea if the dog is off food. All in all though, vomiting a white liquid is not specific enough to indicate one disease or disorder, and it may be seen in a dying dog but also in a non-dying dog.

Black diarrhea and gas can be signs of several medical conditions and, are therefore, not necessarily a sign of a dog dying. However, black diarrhea can be potentially serious, and left untreated, can be life threatening.

How to Make Decisions About Dog Cancer Treatments - Dog Cancer Blog

Black diarrhea can be indicative of bleeding in the upper digestive tract. When blood is digested, it turns dark giving stools a dark color. This is medically known as melena. Melena can be a sign of a bleeding stomach ulcer, which can be seen in dogs given aspirin, steroids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, it can be seen in dogs who ingested rat poison or who have serious blood clotting disorders or bleeding cancers.

When Your Dog Has Cancer - Making The Right Decisions for You and Your Dog

If you are seeing black diarrhea, please see your vet at your earliest convenience. Chances are, this can be managed if caught early enough. How do I know if my dog is dying of old age? The symptoms you are listing are very concerning. White gums can be indicative of anemia which can be seen in dogs with several conditions such as bleeding cancers a common one is hemangiosarcoma , blood clotting disorders, heavy parasite loads, and ingestion of rat poison, just to name a few.

When Your Dog Has Cancer

White gums are caused by the dog not having enough red blood cells circulating in the blood. Dogs with white gums can be in shock from this and become weak and lose appetite. If your dog has white gums and is not eating or drinking, please see your vet at your earliest convenience. Caught early, sometimes shock can be reversed by stabilizing the dog and supportive care e. From the list of 12 signs that a dog may be dying, my doh only has one of them which is she can no longer jump up into bed.

I have to lift her back end, but she's still eating and drinking. Any idea what could be going on? This can simply be a back problem or a hip problem or some other orthopedic issue, commonly seen in dogs who are aging. Have your dog see the vet. Your vet can prescribe pain relievers that can help her mobility. It's very good that she is eating and drinking. If you are planning to do cremation, several of the companies will come to your home to pick up the body. Costs may obviously vary from one place and another. I will give you a rough estimate based on what I paid for when my dog passed away.

The cremation costs vary based on a pet's weight, so this is based on a large dog. Communal cremation should be considerably lower. I am so sorry you are going through this, but careful planning seems to make it all a bit less stressful. Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

I would suggest seeing the vet sooner or see another vet altogether. I see no reason to wait and monitor for 5 days when bloodwork can be done right away to get some hints of what may be going on. Nose bleeds can be serious in some cases as they can be triggered by ingestion of rat poison and autoimmune diseases. Of course, there are also nosebleeds occurring from less serious issues like a foreign body in the nose or an injury but in those cases, usually the nose bleed comes from only one nostril. Tauler, unfortunately only your vet can answer this based on your dog's medical history and physiological signs.

If you cannot go to a vet anymore due to financial issues,consider that Care Credit can help out dog owners at difficult times with no interest for several months. I can't go to a vet anymore so I hope someone can help me. My Yorkie has diabetes and is on insulin. This is the second day of her having a fever, shivering, weakness.

I've been trying to keep her comfortable by cooling her down and keeping her hydrated. She still eats and drinks but that's all she does. Do you think she is dying and what can I do to make things easier for her. Ash, so sorry you are going through such a tough time. Preparing is always a good idea as we never know when we may lose them. Dear Candy, it is difficult to say. A vet should assess your dog.

There are appetite stimulants that can turn helpful. Prednisone helped both my dogs when they started getting picky eating. Dear Michelle, many dog owners feel this way and this emotional state is called "anticipatory grief. My 13 year old boxer is at home palliative with heart failure, his breathing has changed where he is breathing from his hind quarters, his behaviour has also begun to change he went out to our garden and went and lay behind a very small space behind his kennel, we have a young family who adore him should we be preparing them.

He's now refusing food, only wanting to eat hot dogs. He's recently developed a 'hot spot' on his upper leg which isn't getting better or any worse on the cephalexon. Is it safe to assume he's succumbing to the cancer? I got Ginger, a beagle mix, in She was believed to be 1 or 2 then, so she is now 17 or 18 years old. She cannot walk down the stairs, but can still walk up them. She has a limp and we give her doggy ibuprofen. She loves to eat and drinks well. We have covered the carpeted portion of the hallway upstairs with pee pads, because she can't always wait until we carry her outside.

I love this dog beyond all reason, and I can't stop worrying about losing her. Our beagle-sheltie mix died several years ago and we still miss her. I'm grateful Ginger is still with us, but I cry when I realize our time with her is without a doubt limited. I feel like every day is a gift and I just can't stop thinking about losing her. Anybody else feel grief before they even lose their doggo? Teresa, so sorry to hear your dog has cancer.

Cancer cachexia is what causes dogs with cancer to get thin despite eating. It is hard to say whether the eye changes you are seeing is related to the cancer advancing or other changes in the eyes seen in older dogs and known for causing haziness such as lenticular sclerosis or cataracts. Sometimes, a side effect of cataracts takes place and it's known as uveitis. Uveitis causes inflammation of the iris and can sometimes make blue eyes appear brown. Another possibility is that redness of bleeding within the eye may cause blue eyes to look brown due to the red overlapping the blue.

Seeing your vet may be your best bet to get an idea of how she is doing overall and what may be causing this eye change. My Great Dane is 12 years old with stag 4 mass cancer, she is terribly thin but eats ok not great but ok. She has become very weak, and is having a hard time walking and staying standing.

But her eyes are crystal blue and she is deaf, but in the last 2 days her eyes have become foggy And now a brown color. Is she getting close to leaving me? Jeff flowers, there can be a variety of problems that may be causing the signs you are seeing. A common cause for dogs to have paws that feel cold to the touch and weak and not eating is some type of cancer that causes internal bleeding spleen rupture, liver rupture , but so can a variety of disorders known to cause reduced blood flow such as it may happen with circulation issue due to heart problems.

Only your vet can truly help find out what's going on. Some dogs recover from this others keep worsening and decline. Pale gums and pale tongue often accompany these signs. We have a German Shepard who will be 14 on July 17th, Her hind legs are slowing down and hard for her to get up on sofa and up steps, we spoon feed her since she was born out of a can, thats the only way she can eat or everything comes back up, Lately she has not been eating or drinking anything, her front paws are cool to the touch, and just lays around Just wanted to know what this means.

Annie, your story is bittersweet and very touching. Thanks for sharing. She woke you up to say goodbye and stay in the comfort of your lap one very last time. You must have had a very strong connection. So sorry for your loss. My 12 yr old dog Soffee an English Springer Spaniel woke me up at am , then i asked her if she wants to go out to pee, instead, she lay down on my lap and she was breathing hard, in just 5 mins.

Abbie, sounds like something that needs investigation with a vet. Perhaps your dog has severe arthritis or intervertebral disc disease or some sort of degeneration of the nerves. Please see your vet. I am going to use the beautiful theme Remember. It brings tears to my. Eyes and with the passing. Of my dog Alex. This suits him Alex was 14 yrs old and sadly he pass while I was there.

A space in my heart that only. Alec could fill. Last night I loss my best friend my love Alex. Hi, West highland terrier is 15 years old, a few months ago he had a bad turn which has made his back legs stiff and he is now unable to get up the stairs, also he seems to be soiling himself in his bed during the night, what do you think this is? Fonzie, so sorry for your loss. It's so tough losing them. Sending you my deepest condolences.

Caring for Dogs with Cancer

Hello dog peoples, my dog angel is gone she's really gone. It happened so within 3 days of her not eating nor drinking. It's so so sad. Paulette, so sorry you are in this situation. It's tough deciding what is best for our dogs, but we must remember that no decision is ever wrong as we make it out of love and what we think is best for our dogs. Thank you for this compassionate and informative post.

I believe that the chemo we are giving one of my rescue dogs is having only marginal benefits and she is not long for this world. It is good to have some concrete information because I need both heart and head at this time. Ksyusha, so sorry about your loss. I too witnessed the effect of vaccines on the body with my senior Rottweiler who compelled me to write this article about the dying process in dogs.

She got her rabies vaccine at the age of 10 and then 3 months later was diagnosed with cancer. I tried to fight against having her vaccinated but no vet would give me a waiver and here it's the law. Didn't make it better that that year there were several cases of rabies from skunks and bats. I tried very hard, with no result. And this is something I would always feel guilty about.


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  5. It just seems that when we lose our dogs there's always something we blame ourselves for. If it helps, please note that dying with eyes open is normal in dogs and it happens in euthanasia too. It's due to lack of nerve signals requesting the muscles to keep the eyes open. My dog died too with eyes open as she looked up and took several gasps very normal, happens in humans too prior to dying.

    My husband was with her, petting her lovingly and I think she just wanted to look at him for a very last time before going. Again, so sorry for your loss. May Fluffy's loving memories help you during this hard time. Your love for him was very strong and I am sure he felt it until his very last breath. We had ups and downs healthwise for the last two years since he turned 9 years old and his immune system started acting up after vaccinations, dewormers or antibiotics.

    I pulled him out of that twice in and This year we last the battle. I checked his gums they were pale white vs pink the previous evening. She gave him prednisone shot and antibiotic shot and I took him home and scheduled inhome euthanasia for the next day. My husband was flying in early morning to be with us. I understand now how stupid I was to plan for something that we have no control of..

    Fluffy started rapidly getting worse around 8 pm.. And then 5 or 6 gurgling sounds, looked up and he was gone.. I was just so shocked on that day and nobody guided me really.. As someone who just experienced this horrible death.. Beth Cross, so sorry for your loss. Having lost my dog last August, I wanted to share my personal experience along with what helped in the last days. I attended two wonderful courses on hospice care which prepared me to a higher level on all the possible outcomes and that to me was a tremendous help.

    I wanted to share about the process whether dog owners decide to do euthanasia or hospice. After working for a vet, I have seen my fair share of euthanasia appointments but also natural deaths when dealing with emergencies. In any cases, forewarned is forearmed as the saying goes. Going through losing one dog and then possibly another one later on is devastating. We made the mistake of getting two littermates. So much joy when they are young, so many heartaches as they get older. All we can hope is that we are given a little break in between at least to recover.

    Six months have passed and I hope to have my other dog for at least another year because I feel I haven't recovered yet. But I think we are really never ready to take another loss. All we can do is cherish each day. I am so sorry for all of your losses. It is extremely hard to deal with, and like Trisha and Rodric said, not everyone understands or realizes what kind of loss it is.

    What to feed a Dog with Cancer (Hemangiosarcoma )

    They are not "just pets" or "animals" We love and take care of them the best we can and they love us and take care of us too. I have already lost several pets over my life. My dad had her since she was a pup before I was born and she was the 1st pet I ever knew, loved, and lost. I was very young and at that age you don't fully understand death but it still hurts. I still have a framed picture of her. When I was about 9, we moved and started a small farm with the usual ducks, chickens, 2 horses, and sheep.

    We grew a little bit but stayed small for the most part. We got a ram so that he could breed with our female sheep. His name was Thor. He liked to headbutt people and me at 1st as well. But over time, he stopped trying to headbutt me. Probably because I was the 1 that fed all the animals and cleaned their stalls.

    When the females were pregnant and about to deliver, we would have to take Thor to a different pen on the other side of our farm. At 1st, I would use a bucket of grain to get him out of the ewes pen and have him follow me to the other pen. Eventually, I didnt need the grain bucket anymore.

    He would just follow me. I would actually open the gate and he would come thru and then stand there waiting for me to lock it up. Then we would take our walk down to the other pen. We had 2 other gates to go thru and every time he would go thru 1 and then just stand there waiting for me to lock it. He was such a sweetheart. It was funny to me because if my Dad, Step-mom, or sister went around him, he would try to headbutt them still During the summer, we had fruit trees and i would sometimes feed him plums and he was so cute the way he took the whole plum in his mouth and could eat it and then spit the pit out.

    My sister and I always got a kick out of that. I still remember when he passed away, like it was yesterday even though it was 23yrs ago. It was so sudden and unexpected!! I went to feed him and I didnt see him out waiting for me like usual and I got a real sick feeling in my stomach. I knew something wasnt right I dont think my dad n step-mom ever understood why I was so hurt. I still miss Thor. When I was 16, I went across the U. She had a dog named Abby. Such a big Sweetie!!!

    I grew so attached to her and several years later, she got really sick and passed away. It was really hard to watch, especially because the Vet had given her some medication that counter-acted with something else and was deadly. It took her so fast Abby was so gentle. Dont get me wrong, if someone would've tried to hurt 1 of us, she would've protected us. Otherwise, she was just a big sweetie baby. We couldnt let her keep them of course n returned them to their mom without incident.

    Then after I had children and got together with my husband, we bought a yellow lab named Cali. She has some tumors and she's not as quick as she used to be. Im trying to prepare myself, and thats how I came across this article.

    ellasedgeresort.com/wp-content/jywunuxy/xeg-rastreamento-via.php I wish I would've seen it several years ago though. When Cali was just past 1 yrs old, I found and brought home a stray dog. He was big and beautiful and after looking into those big brown eyes, i couldn't just leave him. I knew he needed to be a part of our family. I didnt always bring strays home, but something was different with him. Maybe it was the story in his eyes, or maybe it was the pregnancy hormones getting the best of me, considering I was 8 months pregnant!! Either way, i had connected with him and couldnt resist.

    My husband almost freaked when he 1st saw him, because he was so big n black n fluffy and almost scary looking at 1st glance. He was a Newfoundland n Black Lab mix. He looked like a black bear!! Which is why we named him Bear Bear. But within a few mins, my husband had fallen in love with our beautiful Bear too.

    We brought him in cautiously to meet our kids and Cali, and he got along great!!! He even slept in the kids room on their bedroom floor that 1st nite. After our daughter was born, he started spending most nites in our room next to her bassinet. When she would be in the living room in her baby swing, he would be laying right next to it. We noticed that Bear seemed like he was older because of how he had a harder time getting up fast from laying down.

    So when we took him to the vet for the 1st time, we were shocked to find out that he was only 2 or 3 yrs old!! But then came the news that he had 2 different types of Lyme Disease. We got the medication n treated him for it, but the effects never go away completely. We did notice a major change in him though. He was able to move a lot better and acted more his age.

    He would follow the kids around when they were outside playing, and never let them out of his sight. We loved him so very much and still do. He and Cali would go out and play and run around on the 16 acres we lived on at the time. When we moved, they would go out and play with the 1 neighbor dog. It was so cute. I could watch out the kitchen window and see the 3 of them meet up, sniff eachother for a minute, n then off they all went to go play and run in the field and the woods.

    We try to help you find the best exercise plan, the diet plan. Then we're going to talk about things like what are changes that they start to have inside their body like their kidney, their liver, their pancreas, heart, lungs, things that are starting to change as they age. We want to stay on top of these things because quite often these are things that we can get ahead of by checking some lab work and maybe taking x-rays, listening to the heart, checking the eyes, the ears and putting all these things together to help formulate a plan that's specifically for your dog.

    Always want to make sure your dog stayed on a preventative medication such as heart worm control and flea and tick to avoid any of those things that are going to cause an unpleasant experience for your dog. Then review behavioral issues too because sometimes behavior changes occur as dogs age. If they were a little bit anxious when they were younger, quite often they'll become more anxious as they age. If they have any fears, those fears will accelerate as they get older.

    We want to help you determine the best way to manage those. There's all kinds of things we're going to talk about. Every dog is different, and we want to formulate a plan of action that's going to be specific for your dog. Unlike many other species of animals, dogs are susceptible to the same types of cancer as humans. Cancer is caused by the uncontrolled growth of cells in the body. If not found and arrested in time, cancer can expand and connect with the circulatory or lymph systems, and also can spread and infect other tissues in the body.

    Canine cancer is the leading cause of death for dogs 10 years of age and older. However, half of all cancer in dogs is treatable if it is arrested in its early stages. Some signs of cancer in dogs are easy to spot and others are not. Signs of cancer in dogs may vary greatly depending upon a number of factors. However, the following list identifies some of the most common signs of cancer in dogs:. Should you witness any signs of cancer in your dog, we strongly recommend making a veterinary appointment immediately.

    Tumors in dogs usually appear as fleshy but solid lumps of tissue underneath a dog's skin and fur. Not all tumors will be outwardly evident. Humans react to the diagnosis of cancer much differently than Fluffy does! This is vastly different than prey animals like rabbits or guinea pigs, who must hide their pain to prevent carnivorous attacks. When discussing the decision to euthanize, we should be just as concerned about anxiety in our pet as we are about pain.

    Frankly, anxiety is worse than pain in animals. Think about the last time your dog went to the vet. How was his behavior? Was he nervous in the exam room? Now think back to when he last hurt himself, perhaps scraping his paw or straining a muscle after running too hard. This is akin to being stung by a bee but not seeing the bee itself; you may be more anxious at the lack of knowledge of the origin of the pain and therefore about the unknown duration or potential augmentation by more bees instead of strictly the pain alone.

    Due to hormonal fluctuations and other factors, these signs of anxiety usually appear worse at night. Anti-anxiety medications can sometimes work but for pets that are at this stage, the end is usually near. An interesting trend that we did not expect when starting our hospice practice is that the more times families experience the loss of a pet, the sooner they make the decision to euthanize.

    Owners experiencing the decline or terminal illness of a pet for the first time will generally wait until the very end to make that difficult decision.