An Introduction to Dog Grieving

Watching your dog grieving at the passing of his companion can be a heart wrenching experience. Dealing with dog grief can be daunting, and may leave you feeling helpless.

Dogs, being exceptionally emotional and responsive animals, can display a wide variety of signs that show the degree to which they are sad and in mourning. The personality and breed of the dog is known to play a role in the manifestation of his sadness and loss.

Common Signs:

  • Listlessness
  • Lethargy
  • Disinterest
  • Keeping aloof
  • Marked change in appetite
  • Marked change in sleep patterns

Helping your dog cope with the loss of his companion animal will also help you deal with the bereavement in a constructive way. There are some proven approaches which you can take to ease the depression for your pet and yourself.

Increased Together Time

Now that one of the pets has passed on, you and your dog need each other to rework the dynamics of your relationship. Spending more time together with longer walks, frequent playing and sustained interaction will help you achieve this. Engaging in a favourite activity such as hide and seek, searching for hidden toys and treats will bring about faster healing.

Positive Training

Positive training can show some great results in a situation of companion loss. If you have already done positive training with your dog, you may not face much trouble. Your dog will look at you as the leader and will have no communication issues. You will be able to reestablish the relationship quickly and effectively. If positive training has not been done previously, then you can start now. Gentle training methods can have an affirmative and healthy effect on your dog.

Reminders of the Lost Companion

Leave some of the deceased pet's playthings or rugs where they used to be. A sudden disappearance of the companion along with his things and scent can be very traumatic for your dog. He needs to understand that his friend is not coming back and not that his friend has abandoned him.

Getting a New Dog

Give ample thought to whether you want to bring in a new pet. Your dog may be stressed with the departure of his friend, and adjusting to a new pet can be an added strain. You may discover, that with the passage of time, you and your dog re-bond beautifully and do not need an addition at all. Take your time over this decision and give it at least a few weeks before you act on it.

The loss of a pet is a heart breaking experience for any owner. For a companion animal it is stressful, disorienting and traumatic. Handling this distressing time along with your surviving pet can be the best way to bring about healing.