Grieving over the loss of a pet is traumatic. But sometimes, it can be even harder when we know that our dogs don’t have much time left. Anticipatory grief is real, and it’s a completely normal emotion to feel.
Dogs are very intuitive, and your grief may be contagious to your ailing pet. 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 dog’s life as comfortable and wonderful as possible.
Here are some tips on how to make your dog’s last days the best that they possibly can be.
Create A Bucket List
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Dog parent Riina Cooke made the decision to make a bucket list for her terminally ill Boxer, and it helped her with the grieving process tremendously. From a cheeseburger to a pedicure, she filled her dog's remaining time with fun and happiness.
What makes your dog ecstatic? Is it taking luxurious car rides? Hanging out with some of their 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's nothing better than seeing your pup at their happiest, and there's no better way to remember them than in that state, as well.
Go All Out With The Food
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If your dog's vet agrees that certain people foods are okay for your dog to ingest, give your pup the tastiest, most decadent food possible.
When my childhood dog, a nine-year-old Cocker Spaniel, was suffering from a myriad of ailments, we gave her steamed rice and steak every night for dinner. Some nights, her dinner was fancier than what the humans of the household were eating.
Ask your vet which foods are appropriate, and start making Fido gourmet meals.
Indulge In All Forms Of Pampering
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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 pet communicator or psychic to hear what they're really feeling. You may not be a believer, but it will probably be a fun experience and a fond memory.
Get Educated On Pain Management
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This may not be the most fun part of the list, but it's crucial. If your dog is suffering, it may not always be apparent that he or she is in pain. Educate yourself on the signs of pain in dogs.
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 on things like administering medications and deciding if and when it's the right time for euthanasia.
Allow Your Friends And Family To Help You
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In order for you to be in the right state of mind for when your dog is nearing the end of their 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’ve gone through the grieving process of a dog passing away, what did you do to make your dog’s last days their best? Do any fond memories bring you comfort? Let us know in the comments below!