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Featuring Demian Dressler, DVM and Susan Ettinger, DVM, Dip. ACVIM (Oncology), authors of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide

Do Dogs Know When They Are Dying? What Your Dog Would Say If Your Dog Spoke English

Do dogs know when they are dying?

That simple question posed to Dr. Dressler by a reader of the first edition of his best-selling book The Dog Cancer Survival Guide prompted the chapter we’ve excerpted below.

Of course, the truth is that no one really knows what another creature is thinking — even humans. We may never know for sure if dogs know when they are dying.

On the other hand, we do know that dogs live in the moment more than humans tend to. And Dr. D is pretty sure dogs don’t “think” about death the same we do.

So, as he often does throughout his wonderful book, in this chapter he gently reminds us that dogs live in the moment, rather than anticipate the future.

In it, he takes everything he knows as a dog lover and a sensitive veterinarian and gives you a message from the heart of Dog.

Have your tissues handy as you read. Even after all these years of working with this book and its readers, it still makes us tear up.

It really doesn’t need more introduction than that — so we’ll just remind you that The Dog Cancer Survival Guide is available everywhere books are sold, and also in our online shop.

Chapter 26: Do Dogs Know When They Are Dying? If Your Dog Could Speak English

Excerpted from The Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog’s Life Quality and Longevity, by Dr. Demian Dressler, DVM, with Susan Ettinger, DVM, Dip. ACVIM (Oncology)

If your dog could speak, this is what I think you would hear:

“Thank you, thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!”

“Thank you, thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!” – Your Dog

As a lifelong dog-lover and a veterinarian, I have heard this message and felt waves of gratitude from many dogs.

Their natural enthusiasm can be a gentle reminder to us to treasure our time together, no matter how short or long it may be.

Throughout their lives, dogs pack their To Do Lists with the very best experiences life has to offer:

Cuddling with loved ones…

Plenty of time outside in the fresh air…

Long and peaceful naps…

Running at top speed…

Playing with the most entertaining toys…

Exploring new places…

Eating delicious food…

Standing next to your side.

We can learn a lot about living the good life if we pay attention to our dogs. They keep offering us teachings right up until their deaths, and even beyond.

My childhood dog, Bogart, runs through my memories when a certain breeze blows through the fields near my house. The same breeze used to lift his red hair as he caught a delicious scent and took off, tail wagging. This memory reminds me to stop, right now, and enjoy myself. I can hear Bogart, telling me:

“It is good to be alive. It is good to be here. It is good to be with you.

“It is good to be alive. It is good to be here. It is good to be with you.” – Your Dog

I think every dog on this planet feels this way. We humans tend to forget what dogs are eager to remind us:

We live.

We breathe.

We smell the breeze and it feels good.

We hold each other and we like each other.

We play and walk and run.

This life is good.

I am good.

You are good.

Becoming your dog’s guardian is a great gift. His trust in you is justified by your loving him as deeply as he loves you.

He thanks you for that.

She thanks you for that.

If your dog is with you right now, take a moment to look at him. Gaze at her with soft eyes and a melting heart.

This is why she was born – for this moment, right now.

This is why he is with you – for this moment, right now.

If your dog could speak, she would tell you that her love for you is bigger than you can imagine.

He would remind you to always remember:

“You are loved. You are loved by me, your dog, and you always will be. Our love lasts forever.”

“You are loved. You are loved by me, your dog, and you always will be. Our love lasts forever.” – Your Dog


Found that FREE chapter helpful? Get the full 500-page book The Dog Cancer Survival Guide for only $9.99. There are 40 more Super Helpful Chapters, 5 Incredible Appendices, and 1 Fantastic Index in The Dog Cancer Survival Guide.


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