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Should I Let My Dog See My Dead Dog?

Losing a pet is a very difficult thing to overcome, especially if you have had your pet for a long time, as many people do.

There are quite a few things that you have to do and quite a few questions that you have to answer while doing them.

One of these questions is if it is OK for you to allow your other dogs to get a look at your dog that has recently passed away.

This is not an easy question to answer, but here we take a look at this question and give you our answer to it.

Think about Letting Your Dog Look at the Body

There is a general belief among many people that letting your dog look at the body of your dead dog is helpful in your dog accepting the death of the other dog.

Simply put, quite a few people think that viewing the body helps the dog understand what has happened and it can cope better as a result.

Despite this widespread belief, it is important to point out that this is not actually backed up by any scientific evidence whatsoever.

You should simply do what you think is most suitable for you and your dog.

As with people, dogs do not all respond to loss in the same way.

Some dogs have a relatively easier time handling such a loss than others.

Letting them see the body may affect a dog’s grieving process, but it also might not.

Viewing the body is unlikely to harm your dog in any way, though.

An apparent change in the pack order is often the primary factor for the depression or sorrow that a dog experiences when another dog dies.

Some possible consequences of this are that your dog might have a harder time following your standard routine or feeling secure.

The Cause of Death Also Matters

When we talk about people passing away, we always hope that it happens quietly and peacefully, like someone passing away in their sleep.

However, with both humans and dogs, this is not always the case.

Dogs can die in many ways and some of these ways are far from peaceful.

This is something to consider when you consider whether to allow your dog to see your dead dog or not.

If your dog died due to some cause that is not at all peaceful, you might not want to let your dog see your dead dog.

Dogs are more intelligent than some people think and your dog could easily become extremely distressed if it sees the body of another dog who died violently.

In such circumstances, keeping the body out of sight of your dog might be the best choice.

As you no doubt know, your dog will figure out what happened to your other dog by other means.

Dogs have incredibly sharp senses of smell, so all they would need to do is smell the body and recognize their companion that way.

If your deceased dog died peacefully, then letting your dog see the body is most likely just fine.

What To Do After Your Dog Sees the Body

In the event that your dog sees the body of the other dog, you will have to take steps in order to ensure that your dog can adjust to the new reality.

One way that you can do this is to stick to your usual routine.

You can decrease the amount of stress that your dog feels by maintaining your regular routine.

You should feed your dog when you normally would, walk your dog at the same time, and take your dog to the places that you would typically visit.

This can reassure your dog and help make it clear that life continues even after a painful loss.

Feed Your Dog Normally

One thing that a dog will sometimes do after a loss is to stop eating.

You might think that feeding your dog out of your hand is the best way to deal with this, but that might not be the case.

Instead, it is better to give your dog its food during normal feeding time and make it clear that you are sticking to the established mealtime schedule.

This can help your dog cope by reinforcing the security of its typical routine.

Deviating from this routine can do more harm than good, even though you might want to at first after the death of the other dog.

Let Your Dog Have Time To Rediscover Its Place in the ‘Pack’

It is a part of a dog’s instinct to feel more secure if it fully understands its place in ‘the pack’.

Your dog might feel anxious and possibly even a bit confused when another dog in the pack dies.

This is normal whether the dead dog led the pack or if it was more of a subordinate dog.

In the event the dead dog was the leader, your dog might bark excessively when it encounters other dogs because it feels threatened.

If your surviving dog led the pack, then it might appear restless at times because there is no subordinate dog to follow it like there was when the other dog was alive.

Interactive Play is a Great Idea

If you have two dogs, they are always going to interact with one another somehow.

When one of the dogs dies, the surviving dog may become bored or under-stimulated.

You can assist your dog in adjusting with extra walks, games, and maybe even a new trick.

All that matters is that you stimulate your dog’s mind in some way.

This may help take your dog’s attention off of the death of the other dog and it can even make the bond between you and your surviving dog even deeper and stronger.

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National Canine Research Association of America