Do Dogs Understand Their Own Mortality?

Dogs have uncanny abilities to detect medical issues and changes in their bodies. They may be aware that they are not feeling well or are sick.


Dogs don't assign complex emotions to death like humans do. They may sense our stress levels and know something is wrong, but they don't self-assess about death.

Dogs' Perception

Dogs nearing death may show changes in behavior, appetite, and physical condition. They may become detached or show signs of depression, confusion, or anxiety.


There are four stages of death in dogs, each with different symptoms. The first stage typically occurs about three months prior to death.

Stages of Death

Euthanasia provides a pain-free, humane end of life for pets. It's a less stressful experience for both the pet and the pet parents compared to a natural death.

Role of Euthanasia

The decision to euthanize can be difficult. Use Quality of Life scales and work with your vet to determine if there are more bad days than good for your pet.


Keep your dog comfortable with familiar items and surroundings. Being present during euthanasia can be therapeutic and give a sense of closure.


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