When we lose a pet, it’s a stressful and very sad situation for the whole family, including any other dogs at home. It may be hard to believe, but dogs do grieve for the loss of their best friend. How will your dog react?
Just as when a human experiences the loss of a loved one, reactions can be different. Some dogs may get depressed, while others continue as normal. Certainly, some dogs may experience behavioural or health issues. If you are coping with the death of one of your pets, here are details of several options you have to help the dog that remains at home through this sad bereavement process.
Physical warning signs and symptoms
# Dog loses appetite
# Depression and lethargy
# Sleeping more than normal – or remaining awake and not wanting to sleep
#Toilet accidents at home
# More anxious when separated from you
# Vocalising more – not always barking but possibly whining, whimpering or howling
# Change in personality – the dog that died may have been the leader of the pack
If it’s apparent that the symptoms don’t relate to an illness or physical condition, perhaps you need to take the dog to a Vet for an assessment and advice. Otherwise, here are some suggestions to help your grieving dog.
Keep to your normal routine
Changes in the household, due to the loss of another pet can make your dog feel anxious and stressed. One certain way to help him during this grieving time is to keep him to his normal routines as carefully as possible. Continue to walk him and feed him at the predictable times. Of course, sticking to your pet’s routine will probably help you during this sad time too.
Provide more stimulation and exercise
It’s highly likely that you have previously exercised both dogs together. The dog that died will probably have played an enormous part in the life of the grieving dog at home. They could have been fed together, played alongside each other, even shared the same dog-bed. The remaining pet could now feel very anxious or even bored. By going for more daily walks and giving him more mental stimulation, offering some interesting playthings and spending quality time with him will make him less anxious. Remember those extra cuddles too.
Be very patient with your dog
Remember that everyone, animals included, deal with grief in different ways. It could take weeks, or perhaps even longer for your dog to adjust to losing his play pal and canine companion. Allow your remaining dog time to process what has happened and to adjust to life without his pal. During this grieving process, give your dog praise if he remains calm. Likewise, try to ignore any naughty behaviour. It’s up to you to remain calm and patient and to help your remaining dog through this period of great loss. Consider very carefully if you are thinking of getting a new dog. It could be a very positive addition to the home, both for you and your dog, providing care is taken when introducing them to each other.