In April we published an article on pets grieving – the response we has encouraged us to look at this subject again.
Like humans, pets also mourn the companionship of another pet. Although it is not very clear how much pets comprehend death, yet they can become extremely miserable after their companion dies.
Different pets grieve in different ways. While some may lose their appetite after losing a loved one, others may no longer show interest in their favorite activities. Some may even become lethargic and sleep too much.
If you feel that your pet is feeling bereaved, you must look for ways to help him out. In worse scenarios, you can even talk to your vet and ask them to prescribe medications to ease your pet’s anxiety.
Signs that your pet is mourning
According to Dr. Marc Bekoff, the author of the 2018 book ‘Canine Confidential: Why Dogs Do What They Do’, pets necessarily do not understand the concept of death and all its conjectural implications. However, what they do understand is that their friend or companion is no longer present around them.
Consequently, they may exhibit one or more symptoms of grief.
- Loss of appetite
- Lethargic behavior or sleeping more than usual
- Withdrawal from people and other pets
- Extremely damaging and aggressive behavior
- Unexplained elimination within the home
- Searching all over the place for the lost pet or companion
- Calling out unusually for the pet who has passed away
- Becoming too clingy to the owner and following him around everywhere
If your pet exhibits any of these signs, you must understand that he is grieving. Instead of being harsh or punishing him, try to reassure him with love and admiration. This will help to automatically discourage negative and destructive behavior.
Ways to help your pet feel better
Do not act overly emotion in front of your pet
Pet life is directly related to human life. All pets, especially dogs, are very sensitive to human emotions and pick up on them easily. So when you are feeling sad and depressed because you have lost a dear pet, your dog is feeding off your sorrow. This is because dogs are genetically tuned to bond with their masters, and this, in turn, can double up on your pet’s emotional stress.
So, make sure to avoid showing your emotions in front of your pet. Crying screamingly in front of them can make their grieving even harder. Make sure to behave as normal and composed as you possibly can.
Make sure to take good care of your pet
During the first few days of losing a pet, you may feel very annoyed and sluggish. You may also find it difficult to perform your daily tasks and interact with your friends and family.
But even at this time, don’t forget to make your pet feel comfortable. Despite your troubles, it is important to take proper care of your surviving pet. Maintain his regular routine and keep walking him as per schedule. Do not disrupt his biological clock as that will only make the grieving process tougher for him.
Make sure your pet is well-fed, given water, and played with. In case you have any problem with doing that, ask for help from your friends or family members.
Keep them occupied
This is an important way to keep your pet’s mind off the loss. You can indulge him in exciting brain games or training activities so he does not feel lonely and depressed. You can also call other friends and their pets over to make sure your surviving pet has a great time.
Also, your pet may more likely think about his lost friend indoors. A walk outdoors, a car ride, or simply a visit to his favorite store can help him from feeling miserable.
Comfort them as much as you can
The loss of a fellow companion is huge damage that can be very stressful for pets. Consequently, they will seek reassurance and comfort from their owners.
Make sure to provide your pet with a lot of love and care so that they don’t feel dejected. Not talking to them or not making any eye contact can make them feel that they are on their own. This will only worsen the situation. Let them know that they can count on you.
Try to spoil your pet by giving him the food he loves or buying him new toys. Just do anything to make them feel special and needed.
Invest in calming aids
Many times, loss of companion can trigger anxiety in pets. To relieve this, a plethora of calming products are available in the market that can prove to be beneficial.
From treats & supplements to DAP collars and audio & visual stimulation, there are several easy alternatives to alleviate anxiety in pets. Additionally, prescription medications can also be administered. It is advisable to talk to your vet before using any calming aids.
Like humans, pets also require time to adjust to big changes. So rather than pushing them, you must allow them to take their own sweet time.
Be wary of adopting another pet right away to fill the gap, especially if you own an older pet. This can make your pet feel dejected. If you do eventually get another pet, make sure to select a good match that will suit your current pet’s personality.
You can also talk to your veterinarian about making other vital changes in your pet’s life to help them cope up with their loss.