How to Help a Grieving Dog
Dogs Are Capable of Grieving Too
Humans are not the only ones to mourn the loss of another person or animal, and dogs are a great example of being a species capable of grieving. If you have recently lost a canine companion, you may not be the only one in the household suffering. Your dog left behind may join you in the mourning process even though dogs generally grieve in different ways than humans. Since dogs live in the present, they may not be collecting memories of the past, but rather may be looking for their lost friend. They also may be simply absorbing your sorrow and feeling under the weather because they can sense your negative energy.
How to Care For a Grieving Dog
• Keep His Mind Occupied
If your dog seems to be looking for his lost friend, it helps to keep your dog's mind occupied. Dogs tend to recover from a loss much quicker than humans if given the opportunity. Try to engage your dog in a new activity such as agility or clicker training. Take a long hike in the mountains and admire the beautiful sights surrounding you. These activities will definitely benefit both as they will give an opportunity for strengthening the bond and giving life a fresh new start.
• Help With Ranking
Often, the dog left behind is not doing well, because the loss of the other dog has caused a change in hierarchy. If your dog was the most submissive one, he or she may feel like she must take charge of the situation from now on, which can be stressful. Try your best to help your dog feel more confident by establishing a routine and boosting her confidence. Sometimes, in multi-dog households, fights may erupt.
• Remove These Items
Try to remove as much as you can items that smell like your deceased dog. Try to remove the bed your dog was sleeping on, put away collar and leashes and store away the food bowl. If your dog was never able to actual see or smell the dead body of the dog that passed on to better life, your dog will likely be looking for his best friend and be unable to come to terms why the home still smells like her and yet she is nowhere to find. This is why veterinarians often recommend to bring the other dog along for a dog's euthanasia appointment: it seems that the dog left behind is able to sense death and come to peace with it with a sense of closure.
• Start a New Life
Take advantage of the fact that dogs live in the present and live to your dog's philosophy. This will help each other. Instead of suffering from the loss and missing the lost dog, embrace life and try to live in the joy of the present. This does not mean forgetting the dog that passed on, just means loving life and enjoying it to the fullest, day by day. You will notice that with your attitude changing , your grieving dog's attitude may change too and you will both recover must faster.
Grieving does not have to be a long process. If you miss the other dog dearly, try to refrain from the temptation of getting another dog for now. Wait until you are both feeling better so to be in better shape. Work on building a new bond together and embrace life one day at a time.
For further reading
- Is Getting a New Dog Soon After Losing One a Good Thing?
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- How to Determine a Dog's Quality of Life
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- When to put a dog to sleep
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- How Dogs Deal with Death
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- What happens during a pet's euthanasia appointment
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