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Do dogs grieve after losing their owner or another dog?

Grief, and a plethora of sentiments that accompany it, is something that we have encountered at some point in our life. Whether it is the loss of a family member, pet or friend, grief keeps us company in such moments of loneliness. But, did you know that the sentiment is not just limited to humans? But also expands to canines?

Yes, you read that right. Dogs also go through grief when they lose their fellow friend, human, or another dog. Unlike humans, dogs cannot communicate their feelings, and we can’t ask them either. One thing we can do is observe.

According to brief research conducted on the complex working of canines’ brains, it has become evident that dogs experience grief in some form. They also feel other emotions that accompany grief.

We have often heard about instances of dogs grieving for the loss of their owners; however, they also grieve when they lose a fellow four-legged friend.

How to tell if your dog is grieving

If you have hosted more than one dog, and one of your pets has sadly left the world, you may need to monitor the behavior of your other furry companion. When a prominent someone dies in a dog’s life, they will react to this with changes in their behavior.

It is possible that your dog may start isolating itself from you and your family members, lose its appetite and vocalize to show that it is stressed.

Dogs don’t necessarily know that someone has passed away, but they do feel that something is missing. They feel the loss of affection and companionship when another dog is not around. If your dog is showing the following symptoms, it is possible that it is grieving

  • Social isolation
  • Vocalizing
  • Aggressive behavior and destroying things they normally wouldn’t
  • Laziness
  • Sleeping more than normal
  • Becoming overly affectionate to the owner

If you have experienced your dog show any of these symptoms after losing a friend, do not punish your dog. Rather, spend more time with your dog and reassure them with praise and love.

Dogs and their relationship to those around them

Not only humans, but dogs form an emotional connection to other dogs too. obviously, they are bound to grow used to another presence around them. When dogs spend a large amount of time eating, sleeping, and walking with another dog, it is natural for them to grow attached.

If you have pups who are very close to each other, then dogs may exhibit signs that indicate depression. The signs of grieving for both people and dogs can be similar. Depression is characterized by changes like problems sleeping, a decrease in activity and appetite, and increased anxiety. Grieving dogs may seem less attentive, active, and perky.

Do dogs pick up our grief?

It is possible that you are grieving because of losing someone you love, and your dog picked up your emotions. When you lose someone close to you, the feeling of sadness is inevitable, and you may even behave differently.

Dogs are quick to pick up our facial expressions, postures, and even mood. They can tell the difference between us and how we are feeling. Dogs are highly sensitive and they can easily observe our emotions. Studies show that owners who feel stressed have dogs that will start to feel stressed as well.

It is possible that when you are feeling sad, your dog is feeding off your emotions and feeling the exact same way. Dogs are genetically built this way to bond with their human beings. Hence, part of this bonding means that they start the feel similarly to you.

If your dog is feeling down, try to cheer it up by spending more time with your canine and offering treats, food, and quality playtime. Give your dog an extra treat and let him sleep next to you.

How long do dogs grieve?

The grieving process is different for every dog. It can last for a few days, weeks, or even months. Similarly, not all dogs will grieve the same way, some will do it differently than others. So, you can’t be sure how long it will take for your dog to be alright again.

How to help your dog

Sadness is hard to deal with for your dog. You will notice that your canine, who was once playful and happy, becomes sad and distant. This is completely natural. Let your dog grieve and spend time alone. If your dog does not want to sit and cuddle with you, do not force it to do so. Spend time with your pup only when he wants it and ensure that your dog is getting a healthy diet and all the nutrients needed to stay healthy.

If your dog loves to spend time with other dogs, one thing you can do is get another pup. It is possible that this will distract your canine and distract it. Adding a furry family member will calm your dog down.

However, if your canine continues to feel low and is not getting better, you may also want to consult an expert. Remember that in such cases, you need to be patient with your dog. The more you spend time with it, the better they will feel.

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