How to help your dog in his last days

‘Some angels choose fur instead of wings’ - Anonymous

Hello guys!
I have been contemplating on writing this post for a very long time. I really hope it helps you and your pet.
Losing a loved one is never easy, and the fact that it’s a pet doesn’t make it any different.  Knowing that her end is near is the most painful emotion I have ever felt. There were a few mistakes that I should have avoided, but I was in denial. I didn’t want to accept that she won’t be around. It’s been 8 years since she passed away and I can still feel the lump forming in my throat while writing this article.
Although it’s a very hard time, being able to take care of your dog for their last few days of life can actually be a blessing in disguise. It gives you time to calm your pet and help them to feel loved and appreciated before they pass away. It gives them the opportunity to spend their last days with the family that they love.

See a veterinarian
As obvious as it may sound, at times we may tend to neglect our pet’s behavior. The first thing you should do when you notice that they aren’t acting quite right is to see a veterinarian and then provide your pet with plenty of follow-up care in the days, weeks or months after that initial appointment. This will give you an opportunity to ensure that they aren’t suffering needlessly and it will also give you the peace of mind of knowing that you really are doing everything you can for them.
Follow all instructions
Depending on your dog’s condition, your veterinarian might give you instructions that are to be followed to the letter. It is imperative that you don’t deviate from these instructions, even one time. Doing so could significantly exacerbate the condition and make things worse for your pet.
Be vigilant about medications
If your pet has been prescribed medications or injections, make sure that you give the appropriate dose at the appropriate time. It is just as important to keep up with medication intervals, so do your best not to miss a dose or even be late for one.
Manage pain effectively
One of the most important things you can do for your dog at this stage of his life is to manage his pain effectively. If it seems like it is impossible to do so, don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian for further instructions. The last thing you want to allow to happen is for your pet to be in constant pain.
Feed a healthy diet
It’s important to feed your pet a healthy diet that is easily digestible when they are unwell. If you have any doubts about what type of food you should be feeding, speak with your veterinarian about it.
When my baby was unwell, she wouldn’t eat anything and I remember how my mom used to force her to eat some rice gruel. It’s important to feed and water them, they need all the strength possible. Don’t feed them left overs. It angers me so much when I see people feeding their pet’s leftover scraps! Please don’t do that.
Make them comfortable
You can make your dog comfortable by creating a quiet place for them that allows them to be with the family. He/she would have a favourite place or toy, ensure that they have it around and they are as comfortable as you can possibly make them.

Spend time with them
Even if they aren’t able to express it, they will appreciate the fact that you are nearby and that some of their last moments are spent with you. You may or may not be able to pet them, depending on what is wrong but even if he doesn’t want your hands on them, let them know that you are there by speaking to them softly and simply spending time sitting next to them for long periods of time. Nothing is worse than watching someone you love slowly slip away, but the last thing you want to do is pull back and begin to isolate yourself from them. Remember, at this point in time, it is more about what he needs from you than about your own emotions. That is something you will be able to deal with later on.

Deal With Your Shock, Denial and Grief

This is where I Faltered. And it’s not easy at all.

I was in denial, I just didn’t want to accept that she was going away. That I won’t see her when I come home. That I won’t be able to hug and smother her and tell her how much I love her.

You will probably go through a number of emotions as you say goodbye to your beloved dog and all of them are understandable and natural.
The process of grief begins as soon as you hear your pup’s diagnosis, not just after your dog dies. It might not even seem real. Guilt, anger and depression are common, as well as bargaining and looking for ways to control what’s going on.

Accept That Some People around You Won’t Understand

This is very important.

I lost her when I was in college and had some horrible professors who were unaware of a very important emotion – EMPATHY. A loss is a loss. You cannot put a label on it, neither can you sum it up.

What I realized is that not everyone is lucky enough to experience the kind of bond that I had with my girl. Not everyone is lucky enough to experience unconditional love.

Help Your Dog Say Goodbye Too

My second mistake!

I only focused on my feelings. Loss is never one-sided. Your dog probably knew something was wrong even before you did. Even if that isn’t the case, they are definitely sensitive to their family’s emotions.
You don’t want your dog to think that it’s their fault you’re sad, or that they have done something wrong. Talk to them, and let them know it’s okay to let go. Tell them what’s going to happen, and that they’ll always be in your heart.
Preparing for the inevitable can give you a way of dealing with the coming loss of your dog. You can’t control how long they are going to live or solve all of his inherent health problems, but making choices where you can will give you a certain sense of control during this difficult period.
Give yourself permission to feel exactly how you’re feeling and time to process what’s going to be a big change in your life. The sadness associated with a loss of a dog we feel is because of how much we love our pets, and when we think about it that way, it’s a beautiful thing.

‘Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened’ – Anatole France

Image Courtesy: Pixabay

Tinu Menachery

Tinu Menachery is a restless soul. She loves trying new things that don't involve water, as her hydrophobic self is yet to overcome her fear. She loves talking, and can speak for hours together. Drop a mail, if you want her to talk about a particular topic. We all have 'blank mind' days don't we?

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