Do Dogs Mourn?

by admin on February 13, 2013

This is such a tough question and 1 I’ve given a lot of thought too.  A question, that’s made me observe dogs  going through a mourning process when they’ve lost a loved 1 or when they feel your loss of a loved 1.  Because dogs can’t speak, I can only observe the changes I see; loss of appetite, lower energy levels, some get clingy, lethargy. I believe, this is part of their mourning process.  Am I giving them more credit than they deserve? I don’t think so.  Since I work heavily with dogs, I see the change, when a loved 1 dies. Especially another pet.

When we go through the mourning process, we feel the loss.  We are humans. We tell each other how we’re feeling.  We may lose our focus, we stop eating, we cry, we get angry, we may stop sleeping.  We show all the signs and stages of grief.

I’ve seen it here at Chasin Pets, when an animal looses a companion.  They do go through a grieving process.  Some dogs stop eating all together. They don’t have the same energy level that I see here.  They can become disoriented, looking for their companion.  At home, they start to look for their companion.  They may sit at the door waiting for them.  They might not sleep with you. So, on the surface, dogs appear to go through the grieving process in their own way, much the same as you do.  Animal Behaviorist, commonly call this separation anxiety.

“The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals conducted a Companion Animal Mourning Project in 1996.  The study found that 36 percent of dogs ate less than usual after the death of another canine companion. About 11 percent actually stopped eating completely.  About 63 percent of dogs vocalized more than normal or became more quiet.  Study respondents indicated that surviving dogs changed the quantity and the location of sleep.  More than half the dogs exhibited four or more behavioral changes after loosing a pet companion.” Dr. Jon, DVM.

Allow them to grieve as we do.  Give them more attention then you normally would during this time. Take their minds off this process, by giving them more exercise, interact more with your dog. There are interactive toys that are useful to use.  Keep their minds occupied.  You understand the grieving process and can express it.  They do grieve and it’s up to us to help them along this journey.

The ASPCA did a study that showed it took dogs up to two weeks for dogs to return to normal.  Some dogs do take longer. This is a baseline. This process could even take up to 6 months for them to recover from a loss of a companion.

There are lots of studies that have been done on grieving dogs and animals.  If abnormal behavior consist, like howling, not eating, consult your veterinarian on ways to ease the pain.

I see many people adding another dog right away, after a loss.  My advise would be to wait.  Give your existing dog time to go through the process.  You’re experiencing the loss and you know the feelings.  Let your dog go through their process as well.  If you want another companion, wait for a time.  Let the dust settle.  They do say, time heals all wounds.

I  hope you enjoyed this blog.  Follow me on Facebook:  Alanna aka the Dog Buddha. And sign up for my blog. It’s easy.  Find my photo and follow the prompts.

Until we meet again.  Hugs and Licks.

 

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Billy Martinez February 13, 2013 at 6:40 am

Nice site. There

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Joannie pelszynska February 13, 2013 at 3:17 pm

I have witnessed many of our pets mourn the loss of a beloved companion, but the most beautiful experience regarding this topic is as follows: Tango was a big love able mutt who treated Molly the Yorkie as his baby for 15 years. She took his death very hard. Tango was cremated. We took his ashes to the mountain where all of our beloved lost pets rest. Of course we took Molly with us on this hike. As I held a handful of ashes and kissed my sweet boy goodbye, a sudden wind came up and blew the ashes in Molly’s face. They stuck to her fur along the length of her little body. Instead of shaking them off as she would any foreign substance, she closed her eyes and breathed in deeply. She knew this was Tango and was able to have her own goodbye. Maybe you had to be there, but after having these dogs for so long, it was obvious Molly knew what the ashes were and embraced them with all her heart.

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admin February 28, 2013 at 12:11 pm

Joannie, I wanted to thank you for your wonderful post comment. It was so touching. Glad that you enjoyed that blog post. Since I work and own a company that allows me to get to love a dogs all the way their wonderful lives, this certainly hit home for me. I love the story you shared here too. I had heard it before, and it always touches my heart. I hope I see you again here. Cheers!

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David Cay March 19, 2013 at 10:30 am

Thank you for this posting about the loss of a pet. Just recently and very unexpectedly we lost one of a pair of min pins. I has become painfully obviously about the surviving one going through the mourning process. The loss of appetite, engery level and clingyness. Hank, the survivor does not leave my side, always has to be within site …… a friend has two lab puppies and recently has brought them over and it has abeen terrific for both the labs and for Hank. Not too sure who gets worn out more, but Hank gives the labs a definate run for their money. Hank is now seven and this is the first time in his life that he’s not had a companion dog….. I believe that we are ready for another one for his very own…. lol…. and mine. Your blog only reinforced what I already knew about the seperation of pets….. Thanks, I am really glad I happened on to your posting.

Dave

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admin March 27, 2013 at 3:58 pm

Hi Dave, I truly understand the journey you are on. I am entrenched in the world of dogs and pups and they do miss their companions; humans and others. It’s so great that you little 1 are experiencing new friends. It’s great for all of you. It’s tuly a good happy. You will have to keep me posted if and when you decide to add to your family.
You do indeed, understand the special bond between you and Hank. Hank, seems like a very smart, special and energetic boy. 7 is still young!
Thank you for your comment and I look forward to hearing from you. Cheers! Alanna

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