This is a question I frequently hear. It is a good question.
I help many pet owners with a critical time in their pet’s life… the end. It is a sad and difficult time, but still good to engage it with awareness and deep breaths. When making a decision about euthanasia,” suffering” is an important concern.
My answer, is derived from the buddhist saying, “Suffering is the resistance to pain, not the pain itself.” What a great realization. I believe it is true. Humans have a knack for resisting what is, rather than accepting what is. This resistance leads to suffering. It is being in a state of always wanting something different than what is. That is suffering.
On the flip side, animals have already achieved what spiritualists work their entire life (or lifetimes?) to gain: Presence. That means being present with what is happening here and now, rather than wanting something else.
What does all that mean? It means that dogs and cats may not suffer at all, even in the face of dying and pain. Perhaps they are the enlightened beings who observe the pain without resisting it. They see it as an object, just like the sunshine. It is a thing, not a demon to run from. Maybe that helps them to remain in a peaceful place in a difficult time. I hope so.