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How to Help a Grieving Dog

 
By Eduarda Piamore, Expert in canine and feline psychology, education and training.. April 4, 2019
How to Help a Grieving Dog

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One of the most commonly asked questions among dog tutors is, ‘‘Do dogs grieve or feel death?’’ Yes they do. Dogs are very sensitive animals that can experience a series of complex emotions, in addition to forging deep bonds, both with their human relatives and canine companions.

Therefore, the death of an animal or human in a dog’s home can negatively affect a dog’s emotional state of mind. In fact, it’s incredibly common that some canine tutors may even consult a veterinarian or canine ethologist in order to understand canine grief. But, how does once help a mourning dog overcome the death of another?

For more about how to help a grieving dog, keep reading here at AnimalWised. Here, we’ll be discussing how you can help a dog through this mourning period in the best way possible.

You may also be interested in: How to Help a Kitten Get to Sleep

Can dogs sense death in other animals?

Do dogs sense death? Surely you've heard statements about dogs sensing death and pre-detecting diseases in their guardians. While there are many myths and exaggerations about this concept, in reality, dogs have very well developed senses. These sense can actually help them detect certain physiological and hormonal changes in animals and people. Therefore, it’s correct to say that yes, dogs are capable of predicting death in people and other animals.

In addition, since canines mainly use body language to communicate, they can easily perceive any alterations in the behavior of other dogs (which may be associated with certain pathologies). For this reason, it’s very possible that your dog can easily perceive when another dog in the home is going to die. Often, in this case, the dog will begin to present certain behavioral changes such as appearing more sad or protective over the sick dog.

For more about death in dogs, we recommend reading our article where we answer the question, ‘‘Is my dog dying?’’

How to Help a Grieving Dog - Can dogs sense death in other animals?

Grieving dog: symptoms

Is your dog grieving? Common signs of a grieving dog include:

  • Decrease in appetite and water intake.
  • Lethargy.
  • Depression.
  • Isolation.
  • Changes in behavior.
  • Anxiety.
  • Excessive vocalization.
  • Loss of general interest.

How to help your grieving dog

The death of a dog for a family is an incomprehensibly difficult and sad time. Not only is this process of mourning difficult for the humans in the family, but if there are other animals, they also need to be take into consideration. One must not forget that grief is not selective, it affects dogs and humans alike. For more, we recommend reading our article where we look at how to get over the death of a pet.

In this article, however, we want to look a grief from a different perspective, from that of the dog. For more about how to help a grieving dog when other dog dies, keep reading below:

  • Take care of yourself: in order to help your dog, you will need to first take care of yourself and process your own grief. Do not be ashamed to turn to friends, family or professionals who can help you when it comes to overcoming the death of a dog. We also advise you to practice some activities or hobbies that can help you combat the tendency of isolation during this process, keeping both your body and mind as active as possible.
  • Maintain your dog’s routine: the death of another dog in the house means that, not only will your dog have to overcome the loss of another, but they may also experience a sudden and significant day-to-day change. A major change in a dog’s routine can greatly affect their mood and behavior for the worst. Therefore, in the case of a death in the family, we recommend maintaining your dog’s initial daily routine as much as possible.
  • Offer enough emotional support and affection: like you, your dog will also need to receive emotional support and affection to overcome a moment as delicate as the death of his/her canine partner. Therefore, do not forget to dedicate enough time in your day to sharing love, games and care with your dog.
  • Have fun: during your dog’s grieving process, it is important that you create moments in which both you and your dog can reconnect with happy experiences. If your dog likes to travel by car, go to the countryside or just sleep with you, allow him/her the opportunity to enjoy these moments of pleasure and joy. By keeping your dog and yourself mentally stimulate with positive experiences, it will offer you both the time and strength you need to overcome this difficult time. For more, take a look at our article where we discuss, ‘‘What do dogs need to be happy and healthy?’’
  • Consider consulting a specialist: if you see that your dog is very sad or depressed, consider the help of a professional, such as a canine ethologist, who fully understands depression in dogs and the process of mourning in the dogs. Is your dog depressed? Find out with the help of our article where we discuss depressed dog symptoms and causes, as well as everything you need to know about, ‘‘Can dogs get depressed?’’

How long do dogs grieve the loss of another dog?

When observing grief in dogs, it is normal to wonder how long this grief will last. You need to understand that the time in which one grieves will depend on the individual.

Although it’s impossible to define a specific length in which a dog will grieve, it is possible to offer them as much as possible. Make sure you provide emotional support, preserve their routine and offer enough love and affection.

How to Help a Grieving Dog - How long do dogs grieve the loss of another dog?

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