One of the most difficult parts of being a pet owner is knowing that you'll outlive your pet.

As their parents, we want to be there for them til the end, but some dogs tend to run away or hide. There are a couple of reasons why dogs hide when they are dying.

In this blog, we'll discuss what causes this behavior on why they hide when they die.

Most of us desire to be surrounded by loved ones when we're at the end. But that's not the case for dogs.

Knowing a dog is hiding or running away because he is close to death is hard and no one wants to discuss this topic.

Why Dogs Hide When They Are Dying

5 Reasons Why Dogs Hide When They Are Dying

Most pet parents can't imagine a world where their pet is not part of their lives, but this is inevitable, and we will need to face it in the future.

And when this moment comes, we want to be there for our dogs just like the times they stick with us in our worst times.

We want to be there to say our goodbyes and take reassurance in knowing that their death is peaceful.

However, some dogs hide or want to die alone. And there are multiple reasons why they choose this.

Below, we'll discuss the causes of this action. Without further ado, let's get right into it.

For Safety

One of the main reasons why dogs hide when they're going to die is for protection.

Dogs, even though domesticated, still have the instincts to survive in the wild. And these instincts tell them to isolate themselves for protection.

Dogs will listen to their bodies which is one of the reasons why they hide when they feel like they are about to die.

Your dog knows that he is weak and will not be able to protect himself. Dogs hide to feel safe since they feel vulnerable to predators.

Their instinct can override years of affection, protection, and warmth that you've provided.

So if ever they hide when the moment comes, please don't feel bad because it's not your fault. It's his instinct.

Dogs love to hide under beds, back of closets, behind furniture, or in a nearby bush.

For Comfort

Other dogs hide out of discomfort. While the majority of dogs hide when they are about to pass because of their instincts, some do it to get a more comfortable spot to rest their heads.

Comfort is everything when a dog is dying. I mean, who would want to spend their remaining time uncomfortably?

Dogs that are dying will have a difficult time moving around. They'll struggle to switch sides.

Finding a cozy place can make the load a little lighter for them. Some dogs prefer to lie down in darker and quieter spaces to spend their final days.

Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (Dog Dementia)

Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS), also known as Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD) or Dog Dementia, is the dog equivalent of Alzheimer's disease in humans.

In humans, Alzheimer's disease affects an average of 10% of people aged over 65 and 50% of people aged over 85.

In dogs, however, about 14% of dogs 8 years old and above are affected by CDS.

As dogs reach their senior age, their brain will slowly degenerate, which will lead to abnormal and senile behaviors that will decline cognitive functions.

CDS will limit the dogs' memory and learning. They'll have minimal responsiveness to stimulation and changes in awareness of their surroundings.

If your dog is sick and is suffering from CDS, keep a close eye on them. Some may run away from home because of sudden changes in their behavior.

Some dogs just wake up and decide to leave their homes because they can no longer recognize anyone or the environment, even if they have lived there for many years.

Make sure that your place is secured since some of these dogs go out and will not or can not find their way back. They'll just keep wandering or stay in one place until it's their time.


Fourth on our list of why dogs hide when they are dying is out of fear.

Some dogs leave and hide when they are about to die because they are scared.

Scared dogs will tend to hide when they're about to die since this event is overwhelming to them.

They will rather be by themselves in a quiet and hidden place where they'll feel a bit comfier, and it'll make dying more bearable than having multiple people and pets around.

Not Trusting People

Last on our list is another possibility of why dogs hide when they're about to pass dogs that don't trust people.

Some dogs have trouble trusting people because some of them have been abused or traumatized by people.

You'll notice this behavior when they become frightened when people try to comfort them when they are dying.

Dying Dog

Do Dogs Know When They're Going to Die?

Dogs have been great partners and friends for humans for thousands of years now. But there are still plenty of things we don't understand about them.

For instance, we still can't figure out what is going on inside their brains. However, there are plenty of signs that a dog can show you they're at the end of the line.

But even if dogs throw you all the symptoms of a dying dog, it is still impossible to know when is the exact moment their time with you is coming to an end.

There's no doubt, however, that animals have a deep understanding of death. For example, elephants tend to grieve for a long time when one member of the herd dies.

The same goes for dogs. Some dogs tend to be depressed or will become inactive when a family member or someone in their pack dies.

How to Prevent a Dying Dog from Hiding or Running Away

If you've noticed that your dog is trying to hide or run away, these can be signs that they are experiencing sickness, stress, pain, or they're about to pass.

Other physical symptoms that Fido is in his final days or weeks are:

  • Decreased in social interactions
  • Loss of learned behaviors
  • Lack of interest in activities he used to enjoy
  • Lack of appetite
  • House soiling
  • Changes in the sleep/wake cycle
  • Restlessness
  • Discomfort

Multiple ways can prevent a dying dog from running away or hiding.

You can provide them with a safe space where they can hide and feel more comfortable. You can also put a cover on your dog's crate.

Ensure that they are in a secured area. This can help to avoid your pup getting lost or wandering off.

End-of-life Care for Your Older Dog

If Fido is sick and you feel like you're about to lose him, there are still plenty of ways to help them feel comfortable and to let them feel overwhelmed about what's going to happen.

Even if these changes don't seem that important, they can have a significant impact on your dog's quality of life. A few of these are:

  • Providing comfort: You can give them a warm and comfortable place to sleep in. Bring their favorite blanket, toys, and treats beside them.
  • Give easy access to necessities: Senior dogs or sick dogs that are about to pass away struggle to move around. Make sure that they have easy access to food and fresh water.
  • Hygiene: Even until the end, it's still important to keep your dog clean and dry. You can purchase dog diaper, but you have to ensure that it is changed regularly.How to prevent a dying dog from hiding or running away

Frequently Asked Questions

Do dogs want to be alone when they are dying?

This depends on the dog. Some dogs want to be alone that's why they hind.

When they sense that their body is weak, it's their instinct to hide because they feel like they can't protect themselves.

On the other hand, some dogs seek out the comfort and company of their pack or their family.

These dogs tend to be more clingy as they want to spend their last days or weeks with their person.

How do you comfort a dying dog?

Once you've recognized that your dog is dying, the best thing you can do is compose yourself and make their final days as comfy as possible.

A few tips that you can do to comfort your dying dog are:

  • Stay close to them
  • Keep normal activities as long he is able
  • Ask your vet for possible medication
  • Don't introduce new people or new environments

How do you say goodbye to a dying dog?

Saying goodbye to your dying dog is probably the hardest part of being a dog owner.

In these times, we can send him off with spending time with his favorite things.

Keep his favorite toys or blankets beside him. Feed him his all-time favorite treats. These little things can make your pet comfortable and at ease.

Why Dogs Run Away When They Are Dying

Why Dogs Hide When They Are Dying: Summary

Seeing our sweet doggy go is one of the, if not, the most devastating feelings a pet owner can feel.

They've been a huge part of our lives, and no one wants to see them pass away. If only they could live for much longer.

But during these tough times for you and your pet, some dogs tend to hide or run away. Why? Well, there are multiple reasons why dogs hide when they are dying.

One of the best possible reasons for this is that it's their instinct. Dogs, even though domesticated, still have instincts that will help them survive in the wild.

And when a dog is dying, he feels that his body is weak, and his first instinct is to hide for protection and comfort. They know that they will not be able to defend themselves.

Some dogs tend to run away when they are about to die because they are scared, and others seek comfort.

That's why it's important to have your dog in a secure and comfortable place.

Bring Fido his favorite toys and feed him his favorite treats. This can help calm things down and can impact his quality of life.

Some dogs hide when they are hiding because they don't fully trust the people around them. Often this is caused by abuse and other traumatic events in his life.

Whatever the cause for such behavior, it's important to make their last days as comfortable as possible.


Toby loves spending time with his dog and two cats. They are the best stress reliever and affectionate pets, especially his Belgian Malinois, Shawie. Shawie's favorite activity is running or jogging. But their go-to spot is to chill and swim around a nearby river.