The hardest part of owning a pet is when to say goodbye. Whether your dog has just reached old age or has a terminal illness, it’s important to understand the signs and signals that their life is coming to an end.
How do I know if my Pug is dying? There are several signs that a dog is dying, but the most common ones are loss of interest, extreme fatigue or loss of energy, bowel control loss, loss of appetite.
Every dog is different and unique in their own ways. Meaning that some will exhibit more signs than others. Keep reading to find out what the signs and symptoms of a dying dog are.
As a Pug parent or prospective dog owner, you should first read about the average life expectancy for the Pug dog. I’ve also put together some personality traits of the Pug dog that only Pug lovers understand.
I had to personally experience this back in 2016 when I had Mindy my black Pug put to sleep. Let me tell you, it’s a very difficult thing to do, but you need to take your dog’s quality of life into consideration.
This article is assuming that your dog has just reached old age and it’s just time for a natural death. No one, not even humans can escape death.
As a Pug parent, it’s important for you to monitor your senior dog’s behavior.
In this post, you’ll learn how to spot the signs of a dog dying process, as well as how to comfort your four-legged friend.
Here are a few signs to help you know when your Pug is dying:
10 Signs A Dog Is Dying
#1 Complete Loss of Appetite
You’ll know something is wrong when your Pug refuses to eat, and this is one of the classic signs a dog is dying. If your pooch reaches this point, you’ll notice that not even the tastiest treats can get them to eat.
Some dogs will still eat if you hand feed them or give them treats such as cookies, bacon or other human foods.
As dog owners, it can be frustrating to see your dog’s loss of appetite because we understand how important a dog’s nutrition is for a healthy lifestyle.
At this point in the dying stage, the organs have started shutting down, remove the sensation of thirst or hunger.
That being said, just because a dog stops eating or drinking for a day, doesn’t necessarily mean they are dying. It’s important to rule out other health issues, which may require a visit to the vet.
#2 Social Detachment
As dogs approach death, they prefer solitude and tend to pull away from their normal interaction with the family. Pugs by nature want to be a part of the family and will follow you everywhere you go.
In the end, you’ll notice they will detach a little bit more each day. They no longer get up out of their bed to greet you when you get home. At this point, they will not even follow you around the house. (it’s so hard to see your dog at this stage in life)
Your dog will spend pretty much every waking hour on their bed. As death gets closer, distancing, physical, and emotional detachment are not uncommon.
#3 Extreme Fatigue
You’ll notice that your once active pooch prefers to lie in one spot without getting up anymore. They won’t even have enough energy to lift their head.
Mindy used to lie in her bed all day long and wouldn’t get up anymore to greet me like she used to. In fact, I used to have to pick her up and carry her outside to use the bathroom.
Fatigue can also be a sign of anemia, lack of energy, or poor circulation. If your pooches gums are white instead of a healthy pink, it’s most likely anemia.
Also if your Pug’s gums are pink and go white when you press on them and stay white for several seconds it could be a sign of circulatory collapse, which is a precursor to death.
#4 Loss of Coordination and Balance
Your once coordinated happy go lucky dog becomes extremely unsteady on his/her feet and has difficulty moving from one point to another. The lack of coordination could be due to impaired brain function or lack of weakness from less food.
Either way, it’s not a pretty sight to see your dog struggling to walk. However, according to PetMD, a dog that suddenly loses their coordination, could have become infected by an ear infection. (source)
Always seek out the advice of your pooch, especially, if they have not shown any early signs of dying or are not old enough to die.
#5 Labored Breathing
Pugs are known for breathing problems, especially, in the heat. In the end, they will struggle to breathe even more.
You’ll notice that their breathing will be uneven. They may even experience rough lengthy gaps when inhaling and exhaling.
This was one of the hardest things to see my black Pug experience because you know they are suffering and there’s nothing you can do about it.
During these painful hours, you need to say goodbye to your pooch and realize that the dying process is out of your control.
#6 Seeking Comfort
Dogs know when the end is near and some of them will choose isolation, others become even more snuggly.
Pugs love their human companions unconditionally, and if they are all of a sudden staring at you with adoration or trying to snuggle on your lap at odd times, it could be a warning sign that the end is near.
Of course, it’s not uncommon for Pugs to cuddle with their owners or crave unlimited belly rubs. These dogs love attention, so make sure that they are not just being needy.
#7 Muscle Tremors
Due to the lack of food and water, your pooch will have a low glucose level, which will make them weak. They will also be suffering from dehydration, which is known to cause muscle tremors and shaking.
You’ll notice your dog will suffer from involuntarily twitching and shaking. Their body temperature will eventually drop where they will need a comfortable bed, doggie blanket or heating pad to help keep them warm.
A dying dog will no longer be able to hold their bladder until you take them outside. In fact, it’s not unusual for them to pee while walking or just relieve themselves anywhere in the house.
This is a signal that your dog’s internal organs are not functioning properly anymore. At this point, you will want to do everything you can to keep their bed clean and dry. You may even want to consider investing in a waterproof bed cover to make it easier to clean up accidents.
#9 Weight Loss
Since your dog is eating less or not at all, weight loss is a very common sign. In fact, it’s not uncommon for geriatric dogs to become thin and emaciated due to old age.
In many cases, extreme weight loss is due to some degenerative disorders such as different types of malignancies, cancers, or other health conditions that can be responsible for your pooches discomfort.
While vomiting in dogs can be a symptom of an infection or virus. A canine that is in their final days and has been diagnosed with a terminal diagnosis, you’ll notice that they will not be able to keep water down and may eventually become dehydrated.
At this point, the digestive system is shutting down and any undigested food in their system can make your dog nauseated.
If your dog has suddenly become sick and throwing up, you may want to take them to vet to ensure there is nothing you can do to buy them more time.
As I mentioned before, not all dogs exhibit the same signs when they are dying. Some dogs will exhibit several, while others will only exhibit a few of them.
How to Comfort My Dying Pug?
Nothing is worse than seeing your dog dying. It’s important for you to stay strong mentally to help make their last days as comfortable as possible.
After all, they’ve given you unconditional love for several years (or however long you’ve had them).
Here are are some things that you can do to help comfort him/her and make their last days and hours as comfortable as possible:
Hand Feed Them: While it’s true they may not be able to eat their regular dog food. You can try hand feeding them some cooked rice or chicken (without bones).
Don’t force them to eat, but they’ll be more likely to eat something if you provide some special food for them.
Mindy my black Pug would eat tiny pieces of cooked chicken on her final days. At this point, she wasn’t drinking a lot of water, if any.
Good Bed: Make sure they have a quiet and warm dog bed to help them rest comfortably. Everyone in your household, including children, and other pets should respect their space.
Talk To Them and Pet Them Softly: Your pooch understands you love them. Reassure your furry friend that everything is fine.
It can be challenging to stay strong for your pet, but your job is to soothe your pet as much as you can.
Keep Their Comfort In Mind: Make sure Fido is not suffering or is not in extreme pain. I realize that you don’t want to lose them, but if they are suffering it’s not a good thing to prolong their life because you’re not ready to lose them.
Making The Decision
It’s never an easy process and most dogs will not just fall asleep and not wake up. With Mindy, we had to intervene with the process.
She was showing at least 5 of the signs from above. In fact, I could see it in her eyes that she wasn’t even truly there anymore.
I had researched the process online and instead of choosing a vet that made a house call. I took her to the vet that had been seeing her since she was a puppy.
I held her in my arms throughout the entire process, so she knew that I loved her and wouldn’t leave her alone.
The vet injected her with a sedative tranquilizer, which was to help her relax. He told us she wouldn’t feel the shot, but she made a yelping sound and that totally broke my heart.
Then he gave us some time alone to say our final goodbyes. At this point, Mindy was not in any more pain.
When we were ready, the vet injected Mindy with an overdose of barbiturate. This form of euthanasia helps stop your dog’s heart, muscles, and breathing.
Saying goodbye in these last hours is a very personal and private thing. The way you choose to do is the right way for you, and your lovable pooch.
Making Final Arrangements
It’s best to make the arrangements of cremation arrangements before you have to intervene with the process. You’ll be too devastated the day of.
We ordered an urn for Mindy and took an impression of her paws, to keep it as a memento about a week before we scheduled an appointment at the vet.
I keep her urn and impression of Mindy’s paw on my nightstand in my bedroom. Mindy’s ashes are in an engraved urn that sits on a shelf in the family room, where she loved hanging out.
Maybe it’s weird, but I have never wanted to scatter her ashes anywhere. I prefer to keep a part of her in our home, where she was raised from a puppy to a 16-year-old dog.
As I mentioned, every pet owner is different and can choose the end of life option that works for them.
Your four-legged friend was a member of your family and showed you, unconditional love. They deserve to be remembered and not forgotten.
References and Further Reading
PetCoach – Capillary Refill Time (CRT) In Dogs & Cats