Like humans, no two dogs are alike, and neither are their responses to death and loss. Dogs are incredibly intuitive animals, and they can display great affection, feel loss and show signs of physical sadness through an emotional loss of a playmate.
There’s no denying the genuine love that people have for their dogs and the lengths they will go to make their dog happy. In a recent survey, people were interviewed about what their pet dogs meant to them, the findings found:
- More than four in five (83%) dog people consider their pup to be their best friend, validating the old adage.
- Close to nine in ten (87%) dog parents say they love their dog more than they ever thought possible.
- And more than half (56%) wish their dog could understand how much they mean to them.
For many, the bond between a dog owner and a dog even rivals the selfless love between humans. To find your dog feeling sad or depressed after losing a playmate can be just as distressing as the loss of the dog.
5 ways to help your dog if they’re experiencing grief:
- Mourning can lead to a loss of appetite and sluggish responses or no interest in playing. Outside playtime and exercise are great because it raises their serotonin levels.
- Just like in humans, when dogs exercise, their body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in their brain that trigger a positive feeling.
- As the dog starts exercising more, they will regain their appetite and feel happier. Go for long walks to their favourite parks and beaches and give them some leash-free time.
Keep Them Hydrated
- A dog who has experienced any loss, either from their pet owner passing or losing a playmate can have periods of depression that may result in appetite loss. Give your dog some time to adjust to the loss and make sure they are still drinking plenty of water.
- If they refuse water of food for longer than 12 – 24 hours of they look like they are in physical pain, take them to your vet to make sure there is no medical reason.
Discipline & Harmony
- While at the beginning of loss, you don’t want to be too hard on your dog with discipline, it’s also not a good idea to all of a sudden abandon their routine or their regular discipline. Dogs need to feel balanced just like humans do.
- A balanced dog is one that is fulfilled in their body, mind, and heart. In nature, dogs instinctively find that balance. However, when dogs live in the human world, it’s up to us to ensure that they get that balance.
- Dogs need exercise for their body, affection for their heart and discipline for their mind. Without continuing these three areas, a dog will not feel balanced and happy.
Go On An Adventure
- Just like humans, giving your dog a break from the home environment and getting away from the normal routine can be a healthy distraction. Letting them explore and sniff the ground in new areas can help them in many ways. Dogs do not have the same visual cues that humans have.
- To a dog, sniffing the ground gives them as much information as we get by just looking around outside. Moreover, sniffing around can help a dog alleviate anxiety, much like looking out a window can help a human adjust to a stressful situation.
Introducing A New Dog
- Often if a family knows an older or sick dog will pass away, they introduce a new dog to the home in preparation, so the other dog in the family continues to have a playmate once the other one has passed away. While you shouldn’t get a new dog if you’re not ready or don’t want a second dog in your life again, a new dog especially a puppy can create and bring new happiness into a home.
- However, introducing a new dog too early can have the opposite effect and may cause negative feelings in the house for both you and your dog if you’re not ready.
- So, it can be best to be in a place where you’ve all processed your grief before introducing a new dog and puppies take a lot of work where the attention may not be on your other dog.
Contact us today to help your family in the final arrangements of your pet’s farewell.