When a dog dies, or his death is imminent, it usually has a profound effect on those humans who loved him. It does help you cope a little better with the trauma if you understand why and how it happens.
Why Dogs Die
This is for two reasons: sudden death through accident or illness, or euthanasia (being 'put down' or 'put to sleep') following an accident or due to illness when a cure is not possible and the dogs quality of life is, or will be, poor and/or painful.
If death is sudden due to accident or a heart attack, it is upsetting for owners - but instant. A prolonged natural death is extremely traumatic for both dog and owner, and painful for the former.
In cases of emergency you sometimes don't have a choice, and this is usually at the vet’s clinic. If you know that it is imminent, talk it over with your vet first, as to whether a home or clinic visit is best for you and your dog, and arrange a date sooner rather than later so as not to prolong your dog’s suffering, as well as your own.
An injection comprising a type of barbiturate (which causes the heart to stop) is given, usually into a leg vein. The process takes only seconds; during and after the injection the dog becomes drowsy, lapses into unconsciousness and dies peacefully.
Bereavement counseling is available from many canine, as well as human, charities, and it can really help to talk things over with someone who understands your grief.
Loss of a companion
If a dog is used to having a canine companion and playmate in the house, then its loss can affect the survivor - simply by it being confused that its canine companion is no longer there, Help alleviate this by carrying on with your usual routine - the sooner things are back to normal after a pet loss, the better for remaining pets.
Remember, dogs don't have the same 'human' emotions regarding bereavement as we do, so as long as they receive their usual daily care, attention, food and exercise, they are quite happy for introducing new dogs.
Warm Reminder and Advice
It's time to let to have your old dog euthanized if his major organs and/or limbs begin to fail and he is unable to function without mental distress or physical pain.