Do you have an older German Shorthaired Pointer and want to start learning to identify dying symptoms so you give it a proper goodbye?
If your dog is older at this point, it has probably been with you for years through the good and bad that a long and healthy life affords us all. And it’s hard to accept that you will lose your German Shorthaired Pointers love, but it is inevitable. The reality is that your GSP will not be around forever, so preparation is critical if you don’t want any regrets.
In the future, you will come face-to-face with the day your dog becomes sick. On this day, it will go from being fun and hyperactive to needing comfort and empathy due to health problems that may require euthanasia.
It will be your duty to identify when your German Shorthaired Pointer shows symptoms because it cannot communicate them verbally. This guide will help teach you how to spot the signs of death so your hunting dog can die with dignity and the least amount of pain possible.
How To Spot Signs Your German Shorthaired Pointer Is Dying
The symptoms described in this section are identified in sicknesses that are not always fatal, so don’t panic without going to your veterinarian first. Sometimes serious illnesses can be treated with pain medication but being proactive is vital if you want your German Shorthaired Pointer to live the most extended life possible.
Below are the symptoms most present in dogs that are dying.
Cardiac or Respiratory Symptoms In German Shorthaired Pointers
Along with heart illnesses like congestive hair complications and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, German Shorthaired Pointers also contract these symptoms from cancerous health issues that reach their lungs. Some cancers your GSP can get are lymphoma, melanoma, osteosarcoma, or fast-spreading mast cell tumors. Lastly, you can count any other sicknesses that lower the number of red blood cells created in your GSP’s body. Red blood cells are responsible for releasing oxygen in their blood. When this stops happening, even a healthy breed is at risk of contracting bone marrow cancer or a diseased kidney, which puts your dog’s life at risk.
- Lethargy – Heart and lung diseases will leave your German Shorthaired Pointer exhausted and unable to stay active around the house. Whenever you want your best friend to get proper exercise, it will take a lot of persuasion and effort. In addition, it will most times use the bathroom on the bed without giving you any warning signs.
- Increased Respiratory Rate – Your dog will have a lot of trouble breathing which is a cause for serious concern. The average breathing rate is one breath every four seconds while sleeping, but while it has breathing problems, the breaths will be shallow at around 50 to 80 breaths per minute.
- New Preferred Sleeping Position or Location – If your dog used to love sleeping on its stomach, it might now like to rest on its side so it can breathe with less effort. It may also stretch its neck while taking a nap and hang it off the edge of the dog bed. Also, many dogs with these issues find another sleeping spot that has a rougher surface, like a rug. These habits may be normal or expected for other dogs, but you will know if it is for yours. You can always talk with your vet if you have any health concerns.
- Extreme Levels Of Restlessness – If your dog wakes up often throughout the night to walk around restlessly or to sleep in another room to find comfort, it may be in pain. Senior dog anxiety is quite normal when it’s much older, so it may be just a sign of aging.
- Pale Mucous Membranes – German Shorthaired Pointers with lower than average red blood cell counts are easy to spot because they will have pinkish-white gums instead of a darker color. The source of pale gums could come from Immune-mediated hemolytic anemia and blood loss from a splenic mass in the body.
Gastrointestinal or Abdominal Symptoms
Anything related to organs breaking down, stomach cancers, and other sicknesses related to the abdominal area will lead to the symptoms below.
- Loss of Appetite – If your dog starts refusing to eat or doesn’t seem enthusiastic about the snacks it used to love, it could be because of a severe disease or something temporary. You should not ignore it and seek professional help as long as you have pet insurance because this may be the start of a life-threatening condition.
- Vomiting – Dogs that start vomiting blood should be taken to a vet immediately, especially if the vomit looks like red coffee grounds.
- Nausea – If your dog approaches its food enthusiastically, but after smelling its meal, it turns away quickly, it is a symptom of sickness or nausea. You will also notice German Shorthaired Pointers start to drool more.
- Diarrhea – This is a typical symptom dogs display when they are sick. The Stool might be red if there is blood or resemble the appearance of tar. If it looks like tar, it’s probably bleeding internally in the GI tract, and a trip to the vet is warranted. We recommend pet insurance because German Shorthaired Pointers often have to go to the vet when they get older for constant care.
Mental or Brain-Related Symptoms
- Behavioral Changes – When your dog displays anger, anxiety, confusion, and aggressiveness that it has never displayed before, these are all signs that it has a mental condition.
- Temporary loss of vision, ability to hear and coordination – You will see these symptoms in German Shorthaired Pointers when they start to fall, wander your home aimlessly, and trip often. Genetic testing is essential to ensure your pet’s breed doesn’t have a history of brain conditions.
- Seizures – Seizures are typical in dogs with mental or brain-related diseases. The initial two episodes are a few hours apart, with more to come that last for extended periods.
- Reduction in Mental Awareness – After your dog goes through a seizure a few times, your best friend might no longer be able to remember you or people in your family. It will forget the skills you taught it and won’t even be able to acknowledge if someone is nearby.
Nonspecific Signs Your Hunting Dog Might Be Dying
- Starts To Avoid You – If your dog is known to be friendly and social, but it now starts to avoid you, it’s a sign that it may need medical help.
- Bleeding – If you notice bleeding from your dog’s buttocks or nose, you should be seriously concerned and have an active family meeting.
- Unnatural Muscle Twitching and Spasms in Hind Legs – These are all signs of hip and elbow dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is painful for your dog, so take it to a vet immediately after noticing this because they are signs of death.
- Pain – Your dog will do everything possible to show you that it’s in pain, like crying, whining, and groaning. The pain may be nothing serious, or it could be a sign of an incoming heart attack from exercise intolerance.
Summing It Up
It’s essential to be very attentive to your dog when it’s older because you need to be on the lookout for the signs of death mentioned above. Be proactive and keep all your observations in a notebook so your veterinarian can review them when you have appointments.
If you want your dog to have a peaceful death surrounded by its loved ones at home instead of at the hospital, spotting the symptoms of its disease early is a must to allow you the chance to make the appropriate plans.