The Process of Natural Death

The process of natural death is different for every animal, though some similarities exist. Generally speaking, animals nearing their final days will naturally slow down. Their eyes may have a "distant" look. Your pet may "forget" to eat or drink, as well as be "off" its normal schedule. Toileting accidents can happen on rugs and abnormal places. As the final hours move closer, most pets will lie down; stretch out, usually in a comfortable, familiar place. This may be the time to move your pet to linoleum surface or other area of your home where you can easily move around the animal, and where it is easier for you, as the owner, to maintain the animal as death approaches.

Your pet needs water, even if she can no longer stand to drink. This is the time when liquids may have to be administered by a dropper or syringe. You will want to have your pet laying on "wee-wee pads" (see resources), especially under the rear of your pet to catch bodily fluids that the animal can no longer contain on his own.

Your pet may make audible sounds, as well as experience quivering muscles that are essentially involuntary movements, as are the sounds the animal may vocalize. These signs are not necessarily expressions of pain, but rather physical displays that the animal can not control.

Your pet's gums will become increasingly pale. The animal's temperature will drop until cold. At certain points, your pet may pant briefly. Breathing will become heavy, then increasingly shallow. Your pet will urinate and defecate involuntarily. Please know, not every death resembles the other. What I've attempted to provide here is a general description to prepare the owner for what is ahead, covering common stages that animals typically experience as part of the final passage.