Can a Dog Sense When Another Dog is Dying?

Dogs have been credited with the ability to sense and detect illnesses in humans even before it happens. This explains why some dog breeds make great service pets. But maybe you’re wondering whether a dog can sense when another dog is dying.

There have been a few studies on whether dogs can sense death, especially that of their canine companion. The studies have yet to yield conclusive results, but there have been unique observations that may indicate dogs can tell when another dog is about to die.

No matter your belief,  you will definitely notice behavioral changes in your dog when another dog dies. Research studies have identified notable changes you are likely to notice when your dog is grieving the loss of a close companion, including another dog. Your dog will display the following:

  • Disinterest in favorite fun activities, food, favorite snacks
  • Self-isolation from other pets and family members
  • Unusual aggression or destructive behavior
  • Being clingy to the owner or family members
  • Searching for the dead dog in places they frequented

So, if dogs can tell when another dog is dead and even display signs of grief, is it wrong to assume that they can also tell when another dog is about to die?

can a dog sense when another dog is dying
A sick dog

So, can a dog sense when another dog is dying?

Dogs are sensitive animals who are always in tune with their surroundings. They can read your mood and tell whether you are sad or happy. The same applies to when another dog is sick. Some behaviors may indicate a dog’s ability to sense when another dog is dying.

When a dog senses another dog is dying, it will become clingy to the sick dog and spend more time with them. The dog will display symptoms of sadness and depression, along with other notable behavioral changes such as loss of appetite, disrupted sleeping patterns, and disinterest in fun activities. Some dogs may appear withdrawn due to sadness and probably “sensing the inevitable”.

It’s also worth noting that dogs have incredible senses of smell. They can sense diseases, sickness, and other physiological changes both in humans and animals. Pet experts believe that these innate abilities help dogs sense when death is about to occur.

Research about dog’s ability to sense impending death

Due to their strong sense of smell, which studies have shown gives them the ability to sniff out cancer, dogs can sense when another dog is dying due to a significant change in smell associated with certain diseases such as cancer and metabolic disorders such as diabetes.

Helping your dog cope with the death of another dog

In case one of your dogs dies and another is in grief, there are a few things you can do to help your grieving dog cope with the loss. You can do the following:

  • Spend more time with your dog
  • Show more love and affection
  • Enjoy more family time together
  • Do not be quick to replace a lost pet
  • Be patient with your dog
  • Maintain some form of normalcy
  • Provide entertainment when you’re away

You should also consider medical therapy as a last resort in case your dog’s mood does not improve. Medical therapy can be a great way to help a grieving dog, especially if your dog is experiencing a difficult time following the loss. Your veterinarian can recommend medications to help your dog during the grieving period.


Based on the few research studies that have been done, we can conclude that dogs have the ability to sense when another dog is dying. The strong smell associated with certain diseases will help them know that the other dog is seriously sick and is about to die.

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