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How To Help A Grieving Dog (Tips To Comfort A Grieving Dog)

Your pets probably mean the world to you.

Naturally, you and the rest of your family will be heartbroken when one is approaching the end of life.

You think about all the memories you shared like hearing those four paws anxiously run to the door to greet you or the snuggles you share each evening.

However, the humans in your household aren’t the only ones who grieve.

Believe it or not, your other pets, especially other dogs, will grieve as well, which means you’ll need to look for signs and help your dog along the way.

Truth About Pet Grieving

Researchers don’t completely understand the depth of a bond between one pet to another and the reaction a pet will have to the loss of another pet.

It’s, however, apparent that a dog may bond with another pet and take notice of his or her loss.

Signs of a Grieving Pet

You might notice a change in your pet’s behavior if the other pet suffers from a serious injury, illness, or is beginning to actively pass away.

If the other pet should happen to pass, your pet may exhibit signs of the grieving process.

Keep in mind that every pet is different, so your pet may have a more serious response or no response at all.

You’ll have to watch his or her behavior to determine if your pet is grieving.

Changes in Need for Contact

First and foremost, you may observe your pet becoming withdrawn from the humans and other animals in the house.

The opposite is possible as well. Some dogs become more clingy while they grieve.

They’ll follow the human around the house all day and want to spend as much time as possible together.

They could even develop separation anxiety from you or other humans in your house.

Changes in Sleeping and Eating Habits

Your pet could also lose his or her appetite and may not feel like drinking.

Even treats like scraps of food or dog biscuits might not be appealing to him or her during the grieving process.

Your pet may experience changes in sleep patterns. For instance, your dog might have higher-than-normal energy levels.

On the contrary, your furry friend might sleep more than usual.

Performing Destructive or Negative Behaviors

Sometimes, a pet has a negative response that could frustrate you as a pet owner.

He or she may eliminate in the house, for example, in odd locations, despite being well potty-trained.

In some cases, the pet may act out by destroying items in your home. On the other hand, some pets become aggressive.

Other Changes

The dog may call out, yelp, or vocalize in other out-of-character ways.

You may notice that your dog paces in search of the other pet.

How to Help Your Pet Through Grieving

You’re going to need to be there for your pet through this hard time.

Your dog can’t express his or her emotions to you verbally and talk out the problem.

Therefore, you’re going to need to recognize the signs and respond.

You’ll need to take a few steps to keep your pet healthy and his or her mental health as optimal as possible, despite the situation.

Keep the Usual Routine

Your dog is a creature of habit. They thrive on a routine.

Therefore, your pet will feel happier if he or she is doing what is usual to him or her.

This means if you usually go for a walk early in the morning, continue it.

If he or she usually eats at a certain time in the morning, then this is when you should try to offer food during the grieving process.

The same applies to bathroom times, which could help reduce the chances of an accident in your home.

Address Basic Health Needs

As mentioned, your pooch may not be eating or drinking normally immediately following the loss.

Bring your dog to the food and water or the food and water to your pet several times per day.

Try giving your pet treats, such as biscuits or other goodies.

If you’re fine with giving your pet people food, spoil your pet with whatever he or she likes.

Just make sure you’re choosing foods that are safe for your pet.

Water should be the main concern.

Even if you can’t get your pet to eat, you should make sure that he or she is drinking.

Your pet will start dehydrating in three days without water, which can cause an array of health issues.

Encourage Exercise

As with humans, exercise releases endorphins — feel-good chemicals released in the brain.

Getting your dog to exercise after a loss can help him or her feel better.

You may want to try squeezing in an extra walk or two if your dog enjoys them.

Plus, you’ll be spending time with your pet, which is what he or she needs after a loss.

Extra Snuggles

Let your pet up on the furniture if he or she isn’t allowed already.

Allow him or her to sit on your lap.

Sit beside him or her as much as possible.

Your pet will sense your presence and concern.

At night, bring your dog into your bed with you and let him spend a few nights being close to someone he loves.

It’ll help him or her sleep a bit more soundly.

Extra Treats

It’s okay to spoil your pet right now with a few extra treats during the initial phase of the grieving process.

Does your pooch like ice cream? Take him or her for a car ride to get a scoop.

Give him or her a few extra morning or afternoon beef-flavored cookies.

Try giving your pet his or her favorite table scraps.

The extra treats help with bonding and can help keep the pet focus on something besides the loss.

Play More Often

As a pet owner, you may not get to play with your pet as much as you’d like because you’re busy and oftentimes too tired.

This is one time, though, that even when you’re busy and tired, you want to go out and play catch, tug-o-rope. or whatever game your pet likes to play.

Don’t Show Sadness

Your dog is responsive to your emotions, so you don’t want to appear overly emotional about the other pet’s death around him or her.

While this is difficult, you’re preventing additional emotional stress on your pet.

Keep a Memento of the Deceased Pet

If the other pet had a favorite toy or blanket, keep it for your pet to have a reminder.

Seek Vet Assistance When All Else Fails

When your pet has gone days without eating or still isn’t sleeping, it’s time to visit the vet.

The professional will be able to intervene, possibly with medication, so the loss doesn’t impact your pet’s health.

After the loss of a pet, the whole family feels the pain — even a dog.

With attention, patience, and careful monitoring, you can make the experience as easy as possible for your pet.

While you need time to grieve as well, you want to make sure you’re assisting your other pet if he or she needs it.

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National Canine Research Association of America