It’s obvious your dog experiences emotions like anxiety and fear, but did you know they can also feel grief and loss? You may have seen videos of dogs who lay by their owner’s casket sullenly paying their last respects. While it may seem natural for a dog to mourn the loss of their owner, recent research shows their grief extends beyond their human counterparts. The studies show that dogs from multi-pet families go through the grieving process when one of their fellow canine’s passes away.
It’s vital to know the signs of a grieving dog and how to help them navigate the process. Helping them may even help you navigate your grief.
The signs that your dog is grieving are similar to what you’d expect to see in people. Though, just like humans, dogs deal with their emotions in their own individual ways. If one of your pups passes away, keep an eye on your other dogs to see if they exhibit any of the following irregular behaviors:
- Loss of appetite
- Accidents in the house
- Acting our
- Separation Anxiety
- Excessive Whining or Whimpers
- Personality Changes
When a dog passes in a multi-dog household, the others are left unsure about their roles. The loss and confusion can cause your dog to act out of character. If you’ve experienced a loss personally, you understand how hard it is to be social shortly afterward. Dogs experience this same sense of disconnection.
The first step towards helping your dog navigate grief is to recognize that they’re grieving. Acknowledging your pup’s pain and providing as much comfort as possible is a pivotal first step in the recovery process. The main way you can help is to be there for them. Allow your dog time to grieve and be alone when they need it but continue to make sure they’re getting plenty of exercise and eating properly. Setting up puppy play dates is also a great way to help relieve the stress of loss. Fun activities for you and your pup can help both of you work through your grief.
Getting a new dog is another alternative. While you obviously can’t replace loved ones, providing your dog with a new companion can help them deal with the sadness of losing their former friend. It can help you deal with the loss, as well. Ultimately, we can’t tell you when you should get a new dog, but you can still get a new dog while remembering your former friend. There’s always plenty of room in your heart for more four-legged friends.
A wise person once said, “Time heals all wounds.” In the weeks following the loss of your dog, it’s okay to embrace the grief you and your other pups experience. It’s important to remember your furry friend is at peace and lived a happy life. You gave them a good home, and that’s the best possible thing you can do for a dog. So, take time to grieve the loss, but also be sure to celebrate the life of a loyal friend.