Because a dog’s life span is much shorter than a human, most pet owner experiences the loss of an animal from the companion at some point. Recognizing the symptoms of impending death will help prepare you emotionally for dealing with the loss of your pet. In addition, the proximity of your dog during the last days of his life will provide him with a sense of comfort and ease of death.
Factors that affect the lifespan
– The average lifespan for a dog is 11 years. However, breeding, weight and overall health affect how long your pet will live. The average German shepherd lives 10 years; Golden retrievers tend to live 12 years; Bulldogs six years; Beagles 12 years and toy poodles 13 years. Smaller dogs in general live longer than large breeds. Dogs weighing less than 20 pounds have an average life expectancy of 11 years. Dogs over 90 pounds live only an average of eight years. Some dogs die suddenly due to injury or illness. According to a study conducted by the University of Georgia, one of the most common causes of death in dogs younger than 2 are trauma-related incidents. Respiratory disorders is a frequent cause of death in bulldogs and Afghan hounds. Cancer is the top killer of Golden retrievers and boxers.
The end of the road
– If your elderly pet is diagnosed with cancer, heart disease, kidney failure or just on the decline due to old age, your veterinarian can talk to you about what you can expect. Dogs approaching the end of their lives will show a decrease in activity along with extreme fatigue. Your pet may refuse to stand up or stand on his own. He can lack coordination, and travel or lose his balance easily. His body can shake or vibrate. Some dogs can be confused, even not to acknowledge their owner. There is usually a significant or complete loss of appetite when your pet begins to seal organs. Many dogs lose control of the bladder and intestines. You can also notice longer periods between breaths.
When the disaster strikes
– If your dog has been hit by a car, attacked by another dog or wild animal or has eaten a poisonous substance, he may suffer from extreme blood loss, shock and death. Shock is a life-threatening condition in which tissues of the body do not receive a sufficient supply of blood and oxygen as a result of trauma. Symptoms are blue or white gums, glass eyes and fast heartbeat. Breathing may be rapid and shallow or very sporadic. Your dog can suddenly become weak and sink into a coma. Immediate veterinary care can save your pet’s life. If that is not the case, you will deflate your dog’s chest as air is expelled from his lungs. His body is relaxed and stiff muscles. Liquid can leak from his nose and mouth and his intestines can let go. His eyes will have a blank look and there will be no heartbeat.
The issue of euthanasia
– There may come a point in time where you will have to decide whether or not to euthanize your pet. If the quality of your pet’s life is significantly reduced due to illness or injury, euthanasia is a humane option that will prevent your dog from experiencing unnecessary pain and suffering. Indications that the quality of your pet’s life is being compromised include: constant pain that can not be relieved by medication, the inability to walk or stand on his own, difficulty in breathing and refusal to eat. During the process of euthanasia your veterinarian will give your pet an injection of sodium Phenobarbital, which will stop his heart. Your veterinarian will probably be present during the procedure you choose. Some veterinarians will come to your house to carry out the procedure.