One of the saddest moments for a fur parent to experience is to lose their beloved pet. At Rainbow Bridge Pet Memorial, we offer products such as pet memorial stones that you can use to honor your beloved pet’s life. Saying goodbye to your beloved pet is a topic that can be hard to deal with for all the pet parents out there, but it’s important to recognize the signs so you are adequately prepared. In this article, we will help you learn how to recognize the signs that an elderly pet is about to near the end of its life.

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1. Lethargy – As fur parents, we all know that dogs are usually very energetic and it is easy to recognize if something is wrong with them if we see that they are acting more lethargic and sluggish than usual. If you see any abnormal activity in your pet, you should consult your vet and ask what needs to be done.

On its own, lethargy is not a definite sign of failing health, but it can be one of the signs of a serious illness, which can lead to the death of your pet. Because of this, you have to pay close attention to your pet’s energy levels and act upon any changes right away.

Lethargy can be seen in the following:

Sleeping – A once active and playful pet that suddenly becomes sleepy for long periods and stays in isolated areas where it cannot be disturbed can be a cause for concern. You may observe that your pet is sleeping for longer periods than usual.

Apathy – Most dogs are typically hyper and energetic and will greet their humans at the door after them being away for the whole day. If your dog has suddenly become uninterested in greeting you, going to the park, walking, or playing with you, and it seems that they have become weaker, then you should pay close attention to this.

If you notice this kind of behavior, then you should allow your dog to sleep as much as they like. Provide them with a place where they can be comfortable and rest with no disturbances. If you have hyperactive and rambunctious kids, then you should place your dog away from loud noises and keep them in a safe area, like a corner of your home.

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2. Loss of appetite – If you are a pet owner, then you are likely aware of how your dog usually takes in their food. If you notice that your pet is suddenly eating less and has a hard time finishing its meal, a loss of appetite can be an indication of a terminal illness. If a pet has a tumor on their digestive tract it can also affect their appetite so they are capable of eating smaller meals. However, keep in mind that dietary changes do not automatically mean that there is something wrong with your pet. Sometimes, pets can lose their appetite or go through cycles of a normal and abnormal appetite, depending on the current state of their physical well-being.

Not only that, but plenty of pets are happy to munch on delicious treats or human food but will avoid their kibble, and some pets will only eat warm meals. Other pets will only eat their food if they are hand-fed by their fur parent.

If you suspect that this the case, then you can hand-feed or offer warm meals to your dog. You can also ask your vet if they can prescribe a medication that can increase your pet’s appetite. However, if the change in appetite is due to a health issue, then you can offer soft or liquid foods so that it is easier for them to eat their meals.

3. Slimming or weight loss – When your pet has been eating less than its usual food portion, it can result in their weight loss. Weight loss is common among elderly dogs that have renal, hepatic problems, or cancer, which causes them to become very skinny.

Some dogs that have cancer or other malignancies can experience cachexia, wherein there is a loss of fat and muscle stores. This happens when the cancer cells consume a lot of energy so it results in a significant reduction in the body of the pet. You must ask your vet for any appetite suppressants and ask about using a diet with high protein and fat to prevent cachexia from happening.

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4. Indifferent – If your pet is nearing the end of its life, you may notice that they like being alone and away from other animals and humans. Your pet may become detached more and more each day. You will also notice that they tend to find areas where no one can disturb them. If you have a terminally ill pet and they tend to seek distance and avoid human or animal interaction, it can mean that they are approaching natural death.

You must allow your pet to rest and stay in quiet areas in your home, where there will be no disturbances. Be careful when approaching them; avoid loud sounds that can easily startle them. You must speak slowly, and be gentle, calm, and reassuring to your pet.

The following are the warning signs to watch out for when you have a terminally ill pet.

1. Restlessness – You may notice that your pet has suddenly become restless. Understand that it can be a part of the natural process of imminent death. Make sure to pay attention to any significant behavior changes. They may be uneasy, panting, changing resting areas, lick their paws, etc. If you have a pet that cannot walk and chooses to lay down on their beds or resting area and they are becoming restless, they may be letting you know that they need to drink, relieve themselves, or be repositioned.

2. Decreased movement – If your pet is about to pass on, you may notice that your pet is less mobile. When a pet is near its death, it will become weak and no longer has the strength to move around. Their legs will be weak and powerless so they will not be able to climb the stairs and may have a hard time walking on slippery floors. As your pet’s health worsens, they may no longer be able to walk around and can even have a hard time lifting their heads.

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If you have slippery floors, you must put down padding so they will not have a hard time moving around. You can also assist them in getting around and keep their water and food bowl near them so they don’t have to walk a long distance just to get a drink and eat their meal. You must place a cloth under your pet’s stomach as you can easily support them if you see that they are having a hard time moving. If your pet is no longer able to move to relieve themselves, you must place incontinence pads underneath them.

3. Pain – For pets that are near death, it is not unusual for them to feel pain. You must ask for pain relievers from your vet. Pets that are not able to swallow pills can be given injection pain meds. Homeopathic remedies in pellet form are usually used for pets with terminal illness as they can help relieve pain and discomfort and can be easily given to the pet as a mouth melt. If you see that your pet is experiencing pain and discomfort, then you should have them checked by the veterinarian and ask for pain meds to help them manage the pain.

4. Difficulty in breathing – If a pet is close to passing away, you may notice a change in its breathing pattern. This change can happen hours or days before death, and it is a sign that your pet’s body is slowly declining.

Here are some of the changes in breathing patterns that you need to pay attention to:
Ragged breathing – Irregular and slow breaths and there may be a pause in between.
Heavy breathing or labored breathing – Labored breathing can occur when the pet is in pain or when there is fluid on its chest.

You can ask your vet to check your pet if it is congested or in distress.

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5. Cool body – Pets usually have warmer bodies compared to humans. But when they are about to pass away, you can observe that your pet has a cool body. This happens when there is reduced circulation in the body. You may notice that they have cooler breath and cold paws. This is a normal occurrence because the body temperature lowers and the blood pressure drops before the pet dies.

You can provide your pet with a blanket to keep them warm and comfortable. Make sure to give them a light blanket so it will not feel heavy on them. Losing your pet because of a terminal illness or a sudden accident can be extremely difficult. At Rainbow Bridge Pet Memorial, we understand the grief and loss that you are feeling from losing your beloved pet. We want to help you honor and commemorate your beloved pet’s memory. We are currently offering pet memorial stones and we can customize them according to your preferred designs. You can check our shop here. If you want to check our design catalog, check this link here. Fill up this contact form here if you have any questions or inquiries.

If you are searching for a shop that offers pet memorial stones, Rainbow Bridge Pet Memorial is worth checking out. We are a shop offering pet memorial stones, pet garden stones, or personalized pet gifts. You can customize your order according to your specifications.

Our pet memorial stones are made from natural river stones and we carefully design and engrave them to produce the best quality. If you want to inquire about our products or if you have any questions about our shop please reach out to us.

You can call us at 208-253-4557 or send us an email at [email protected]. You can also contact us by calling our toll-free number, 1-866-276-2548. You can write us through our PO Box Address, P.O. Box T Council, Idaho, 83612. Allow us to help you grieve and celebrate your pet’s memory.