Grieving over the loss of a pet is traumatic. But sometimes, it can be even harder when we know that our pet doesn’t have much time left. Anticipatory grief is real, and a completely normal emotion to feel.
Dogs are very intuitive and your grief is contagious. Perhaps instead of spending your remaining time with your canine companion in a state of grieving and sadness, you can make the rest of your pet’s life as comfortable and wonderful as possible.
Here are some tips on how to make your pet’s last days the best that they possibly can be.
1. Create A Bucket List
Riina Cooke made the decision to make a bucket list for her terminally ill boxer, and it helped her with the grieving process tremendously. What makes your dog ecstatic? Is it taking luxurious car rides? Hanging out with some of your pet’s favorite friends? Create a list of what your dog loves to do best, and cross off as many as you can as long as your dog’s health and safety permits. There is nothing better than seeing your pup at his happiest, and there is no better way than to remember them in that state as well.
2. Go All Out With The Food
If your dog’s vet agrees that certain people foods are OK for your dog to ingest, give your dog the tastiest, most decadent food possible. When my childhood dog, a nine year old cocker spaniel, was suffering from a myriad of ailments, she received steamed rice and steak every night for dinner. Some nights, her dinner was fancier than what the humans of the household were eating. Check out our DogTime list of human foods that are OK for dogs and start making Fido gourmet meals.
3. Indulge In All Forms Of Pampering
Go buck wild with any and all forms of pampering, especially anything that will relax and soothe your dog. Have a dog masseuse come to your house. Go to a dog bakery and get them the most outrageous dog cake you can find. You can even go a little less traditional route and do things like take your dog to a dog or pet communicator to hear what they are really feeling.
4. Get Educated On Pain Management
This may not be the most fun part of the list, but it is crucial. If your dog is suffering, it may not always be apparent that he or she is in pain. Educate yourself on signs that dogs show of pain. If your dog hits a point of extreme pain or a point where you cannot take care of your pup yourself, it may be time to consider dog hospice care. Much like human hospice care, dog hospice care is from the comfort of your own home. You can work with your vet with things like administering medications and deciding of and when it is the right time for euthanasia.
5. Allow Your Friends And Family To Help You
In order for you to be in the right mind state for when your dog is nearing the end of his life, you should have a solid support group. Talk to friends who know your dog well, family, and a veterinarian you can trust. Many animal hospitals also offer support groups. By having this ring of support for yourself, you will be able to effectively and lovingly support your pooch through this painful time.
Letting go of a dog is never easy, but you can make it as positive of an experience as possible for both you and your dog. If you have gone through the grieving process of a dog passing away, what did you do to make your dog’s last days their best? Let us know in the comments or tell me on twitter @maggieclancy.