Do dogs want to be alone when they die?

In this article, we answer the following question: Do dogs want to be alone when they die? We talk about the reasons why dogs prefer to die alone and what their behaviour is like in their last moments. 

Do dogs want to be alone when they die?

Why do dogs hide to die? A question that goes through the mind of every person who has one, and yet does not have a scientific answer.

No matter how controversial there is around the issue of dogs and their age – and no, one year of a person does not equal 7 of the animals – these animals, like all living beings, grow old and die. Our furry friends are very sensitive pets for whom displays of affection are essential, becoming as important as the food itself.

In most cases, dogs have a very strong bond with their owner, because for them it is everything, or have you not heard that there is no loyalty to a dog? Exactly, the animal only wants the welfare of its master in every way, even in its worst moments.

The two theories that explain this type of behaviour focus on two issues, on the one hand, the psychology of the animal, and on the other, the love it feels towards its master.

The psychology of the dog

Domestic dogs, despite being quite ‘humanized’ keep their canine instinct intact. That’s why males want to mark their territory whenever they get the chance, and puppies can’t help but bite whatever comes their way. When they are going to die, the same thing happens, the discomfort that the animal experiences in the precious moments are a new sensation that indicates that things are not in order.

As a consequence, the survival instinct – inherited from his ancestors who lived in a herd – tells him that in such a situation it is best to let the rest follow their path, that is why he prefers to be alone, not for himself but for the group.

A dog’s love

The second theory, and the most valid for many, focuses on the dog-master relationship. The furry wants the best for his owner, and aware that he may not be in his best condition, he does not want to be a hindrance and that is why he decides to retire to be alone.

Two very different theories, which despite not being scientifically proven, make one thing clear, there is no animal more faithful than the dog, which even in its last moments, thinks about the welfare of its master.

What do dogs do when they are about to die?

Many concerned caregivers ask us if dogs cry before they die, what they are thinking, or if they know they are going to die. In this article, we are going to tell you what dogs do when they are about to abandon us, a hard time that is very hard to go through and for which we hope we can prepare you with this article.

Do dogs hide to die?

This is a very common question that is often raised. Dogs do not hide when they are going to die, they just need more rest, silence, hours of sleep and space to be calm and quiet. The elderly dogs lose their strength little by little, so you will know that they are about to die if they are older and they need more and more rest as the days go by, also more privacy.

That he is spending his last hours like this is a good sign, because it means that he is not dying or dying from an illness. However, this does not mean that you have to let him doze non-stop. A good walk, games, hugs, and cuddles will lift your spirits, and a lively dog is a happy dog. Do not forget.

Do dogs cry before they die?

However, if instead of resting calmly he does not stop protesting or sobbing, it means that he is dying. If your dog is suffering, your responsibility is to go to your vet and ask him what to do. Remember that these last years of his life must be spent in peace, if he is not capable, if he is suffering, you have to accept that it is time to say goodbye.

Symptoms of a dying dog: lack of activity and appetite

In addition to sleeping a lot and spending half the time lying down in a comfortable and warm place, it will be difficult for your colleague to move, walk and even respond to stimuli. Don’t worry if he doesn’t act as lively as ever or if he doesn’t wave his tail when you pet him in his favourite spot. You keep giving him love but assuming that he will not respond the same.

What you never have to do is get depressed. We know it is hard, but furry animals are animals, they do not understand death as a traumatic process, so if they see you sad they will think they have done something wrong, not that you cry because they are dying. If you find it difficult to be smiling before your dog that you know is about to die, seek the help of a friend, but when you are by her side, be happy, for her.

By not moving around as much and spending more time sleeping, you will need to eat less. Older dogs with the little left by our side will even show signs of a complete lack of appetite. Be understanding of him but encourage him to eat. One trick that you can resort to is to space your meals more with less quantity, that will help you to eat food with less effort.

A dog that is about to die will have black gums

Another of the symptoms that your dog is dying is found in its gums. As you may already know, a good way to find out your dog’s health is by checking his stool, the colour of his vomits if he has a fever, how smooth his skin is, the moisture in his nose and the colour of his gums. When you are healthy and young, your gums are strong and a nice pink colour.

However, as the years go by and they overcome the ten mark, the furry ones are covered with a dark colour, they blacken and they continue like this until they leave you permanently. Another indicator that you will find in his mouth that he is older is that he breathes more intensely and with short breaths every time he tries to perform any task.

Saying goodbye to your dog

The loss of a dog means that a very special relationship is lost and, although not all people can understand it, the most important thing in these moments is to let the feelings surface because ignoring the grief will not make it go away. When the dog reaches old age, the option of euthanasia may need to be considered. 

This decision must be made together with the veterinarian and honestly evaluating the health of the animal; It is not simple, but it can be considered as the last act of love towards him. Avoiding suffering is, normally, a constant of the owners during the life of pets and, in the final moment, it should be more than ever.

If the owner decides to be present during the process, it is essential to reassure the dog, dedicate words of affection to him and be as cheerful as possible, since the animal will perceive these emotions. Remembering the good times that you have given us can be of great help to avoid tears that, on the other hand, would be completely natural, but that would annoy the dog. 

For some people, it is important to check that their pet has left in a calm way and, at the same time, having the possibility to say goodbye can be a great help to overcome the loss. However, for many, this could be a traumatic situation difficult to handle, so it is necessary to think carefully whether being with the animal in this circumstance will be beneficial for him or not.

The first few days many owners will be devastated at the thought that they will never see their pet again, but the pain is a logical response to death and there is no need to feel ashamed about it. And, although each person lives it in their own way, when facing death it is usual that the first feeling that appears is that of denial. 

It is difficult to accept the idea that we will not see our animal again and that it will be worse in the face of sudden death. Anger is another of the phases of grief, and it is produced by the loss and against everything that seems to us that has not helped to keep the dog by our side. Guilt is another of the inevitable feelings when we wonder if we have done everything possible to prevent his death. 

Depression is the stage in which you are fully aware of what has happened, so the feeling of loss will be even greater. But, little by little, the situation is assumed, which happens during the acceptance phase when there is already greater tranquillity and the pain begins to be replaced by the pleasant memories of our faithful companion. 

If after a few weeks their loss has not been accepted or the sadness seems to increase, it is possible to go to specialized counsellors or support groups, with whom our veterinarian or any animal association can put us in contact.


In this article, we answered the following question: Do dogs want to be alone when they die? We talked about the reasons why dogs prefer to die alone and what their behaviour was like in their last moments. 

We know that losing your dog is a very hard time, however, remember that your responsibility is to avoid transmitting your sadness and try to make it happy. When you see that he is panting a lot, that he sleeps more than necessary, that he barely eats and that his gums are black, you will know that he may be about to die.  Find someone to talk about the subject and what you feel, pamper your dog a lot and celebrate all the years that you have been together.

If you have any questions or comments on the content, please let us know!

FAQ on Do dogs want to be alone when they die?

Can dogs sense their own death?

In most cases, when it’s due to natural causes, dogs can sense their own death. As a matter of fact, it is believed that dogs have some sort of sixth sense that lets them know their time is ending. 

Why do dogs isolate themselves when dying?

Dogs isolate themselves when dying because they are weaker and cannot defend themselves against possible dangers. They also want to rest and spend time in a quiet and calm place. 

Do dogs know you love them?

Yes, dogs know we love them. Dogs and humans can create a really special relationship and this is proven by the fact that our oxytocin levels go up high when we play or even when we just stare at our dog!

Can a dog wake up after euthanasia?

No, a dog cannot wake up after euthanasia. However, it makes it more peaceful and it makes it possible for you to hold your pet at the final moment.


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