Losing a pet is one of the saddest experiences you can go through. No matter how young or old we are, losing a beloved dog that has been with you through thick and thin is a painful experience. What makes it even harder is knowing that, ultimately, you will have to decide when to euthanize your dog.
When you know, the end of your dog’s life is near, either due to old age or terminal disease, there are things you can do to make your dog’s transition to the other side less painful and more comfortable.
Whether it is modifying your home to make their lives easier, giving soothing medication for particular ailments, or providing canine hospice care in their final days, we can be there to give our dogs the send-off they deserve.
Here are a few tips for a smoother transition before you euthanize your dog.
Comfort your dog as he ages
On average, dogs live between 9 and 13 years of age, depending on their breed and lifestyle. When your pup starts getting close to this age, you will need to make changes. Take steps to provide quality senior pet care to help keep your dog healthy for as long as possible. Doing so will keep your dog happy during their elder years and help them feel more at peace.
As canines age, they tend to gain more weight as their activity levels diminish. This weight gain can hurt their weakened bodies and shorten their lives. Keep your dog active with short walks, park visits, and toys.
At the same time, you can add supplements to their diets, including fish oil, or add a product like Ultra Oil, a blend of omega-3, 7, and 9 fatty acids from hemp oil, flaxseed oil, and fish oil from sardines and anchovies. Veterinarians believe adding fish oil reduces blood pressure and inflammation from arthritis.
You’ll also want to maintain good oral health, as pain and discomfort in the mouth can be agony for an older dog. Keep up the habit of brushing their teeth regularly.
Finally, modify your home to satisfy your dog’s needs by maintaining a warm environment and installing a ramp if your dog shows arthritis signs.
Provide relief with medication
If your dog is showing signs of pain, then comfort may not be enough. Instead, consider medicines for what ails them most. If your dog is hurting, then you should consult your veterinarian to understand the cause of the pain and the proper treatment. Many vets recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
NSAIDs are most commonly used for dogs experiencing fevers, arthritis, and inflammation in the joints, with some of the most common medications, including carprofen, meloxicam, and deracoxib. Some of these medications can have mild side effects, including vomiting, diarrhea, and skin ailments. You must keep an eye on your dog while taking NSAIDs, so the medication does not end up causing more harm.
Many experts also talk about using new pain relievers made of cannabidiol (CBD), which is extracted from the buds of cannabis plants. Available in oil form, these treatments have been found to help dogs suffering from digestion problems, anxiety, and chronic inflammation, with some stating that it can even help with the effects of certain cancers.
Since CBD does not contain THC and does not affect the dog’s brain, it is available in many pet centers. The oil you choose must be independently lab-tested because the battery of tests that the medications go through ensures that they do not contain a trace of pesticides, heavy metals, or other dangerous components.
Using hospice care
Although we try to do everything we can to make our pets comfortable in their time of need, at some point, all we can do is prepare for their final days. It is perfectly OK for you to feel grief at this time, but you can find comfort in knowing that you are doing what you can to make your dog’s last days as enjoyable as possible.
In these final days, consider pet hospice care or supportive palliative care during the final phases of your dog’s life, either at a care facility or by providing care at home.
Your veterinarian can give you advice on your dog’s specific needs, but it comes down to limiting suffering and creating a calm and comfortable atmosphere. Facilities that provide palliative care for your aging dog offer services based on your dog’s needs, including managing incontinence, bandage and wound care, and more. An internet search will lead you to dog palliative care facilities in your area.
Once you realize that the final days have arrived, many pet owners decide to euthanize their dogs to prevent the dog’s ongoing pain and suffering. Euthanasia is a process that uses medications to sedate your dog before stopping his heart. If your dog has a terminal condition and shows noticeable signs of pain and discomfort, euthanasia can ultimately give them peace.
Our pets give us so much love and joy that the thought of losing them can be too sad to consider. But by providing end of life care and preparing to euthanize your dog is the least you can do to your dog the caring send-off he deserves.
– Noah Rue