End of Life Care: 5 Decisions Dog Parents Need to Make

It is always heartbreaking to know that the winter of your dog’s life has arrived. Just imagining losing your pet someday even to old age already makes your eyes a little misty, but all you can do is prepare for it.

As your dog’s end of life approaches, your focus as dog parents should be on how to make the remaining days of your four-legged family member as comfortable and easy as possible. You also need to be making a few decisions on what to do about their ultimate demise.

So, what are these decisions? Five of them are discussed below.

1. How should the family go about palliative care?

Palliative care is focused on making life as easy and convenient for your furry pal. It no longer deals with healing – it is all about making pain as manageable as possible for your pet.

If you all truly love your Fido, everybody can have specific duties to perform. Ask your vet about how all the members of the family can alleviate your pet’s deteriorating health.

2. How do you tell the young kids?

At times, parents find it hard to break it to their children that their dog is dying, especially if the young ones are greatly attached to their pet.

Some prefer to sugarcoat the story at first to make the animal’s death less traumatic and painful for the young kids. With older children, on the other hand, the truth can be presented more bluntly because they already have a better grasp of life’s workings.

If your children are still quite young, you must decide on the story you will tell about your pet dog’s demise. It’s important to be consistent because kids are known to take it hard when they realize their parents weren’t truthful about what had happened to their beloved pet.

3. Should you let your dog have a natural death or make a decision to end the suffering much earlier?

This is a perhaps the most difficult decision to make for a dog that is ill and dying. Most of the time, the decision does not just involve the parents but the entire family as well.

Choosing a natural death usually means extending the life of your canine but also having them experience possible worse pain every single day.

Meanwhile, euthanasia (a.k.a. “mercy killing”) will shorten your time with your beloved pet. Most of the time, it is unbearable for members of the family to even just consider assisting the early demise of their furry family member.

4. Will you bury your dog or have them cremated?

This is another decision that all the members of the family have to make.

Do you want to somehow maintain your dog’s presence at home by having their ashes in an urn kept at home? Or, do you want them buried in your backyard or some pet cemetery?

5. How will you preserve the memories of your beloved dog?

Many families choose to preserve the memories of their beloved pet.

There are several ways to go about this. There are those who create a scrapbook of mementos, while others make a family movie featuring their canine friend. Some even make a shrine. There are also some pet services which include taking paw prints and nose prints.

To make this particular decision easier for the family, sit all the members down and ask for ideas. This way, you all will be able to do something to your liking with regard to keeping your furry little family member’s memory alive.

Saying goodbye to your animal life companion is never an easy thing. There are people who never get over the death of their dog and even refuse to have another.

But the vital thing here is to make your dog’s final moments as filled with love as possible.

Spend as much time as you can with them. Ease their pain in all the ways you can. Most importantly, do not fail to thank your dog for the joy, laughter, friendship, loyalty and love they have showered upon you.


Dr. Max Spicer is the Managing Partner and Senior Veterinary Surgeon at The Veterinary Hospital in Dubai. He has taken strides towards providing comprehensive service by hiring veterinarians that are flexible, approachable, and highly specialised in their respective fields.

Richard Hayes

Hey there! Meet Richard Hayes, the big boss and marketing guru behind Pet Dog Planet. He's been a total doggo fanatic since forever and loves all kinds of pups, from tiny teacup Chihuahuas to big, burly Bulldogs. His absolute favorite pastime? Snuggling with adorable puppies—he can't get enough of those cute little faces! Plus, he's totally into iced coffee, chilling in hammocks, and, of course, more puppy cuddling!

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