- Pets grieve the loss of another pet
- Some pets show behavioral changes, such as separation anxiety and depression
- Cats may yowl or cry, and dogs may whine or howl to grieve the loss
- Some pets experience loss of appetite and change in bathroom habits
- Show love and compassion to pets and help them deal with the loss
Death of a pet is one of the tragic events in the life of a pet parent. Just the thought of losing a pet is heartbreaking, let alone dealing with the tragedy. While you may mourn the loss of your cat or dog in many ways, the surviving four-footed member cannot express their pain.
Perhaps you don’t know, but pets also grieve the loss of their companions. Rather, it may become one of the most challenging times for the surviving dog or cat. It is at this point that you have to control your emotions and help your “mourning friend” cope with the loss.
Do Pets Grieve the Loss of Another Pet?
You may not realize, but pets also feel the absence of their loved ones. They also grieve the loss; however, they cannot say how they feel. Pet parents often tend to neglect the impact of one of the pets' death on the remaining animals in the house.
As per PetPlace, it is not a known fact whether cats or dogs can truly understand the significance of the death of a pet. Some of the pets may show no reaction at all, while others may grieve badly. Here are some signs and changes that you should not ignore in your surviving pet while dealing with the loss of one.
- Anxiety and Depression
The separation from a loved one has a great impact on the behavior of surviving pets. Cats suffer from separation anxiety when one of a close critter passes away. They express their grief by crying or may even engage in destructive behavior, such as scratching furniture.
Losing a companion may cause a surviving dog to get deeply depressed. Compared to cats, dogs have a tough time coping with the change in the family. Since dogs have a pack-oriented nature, they see the family as a unit. If one of the members of the pack dies, your dog may feel insecure about his role and position in the unit.
- Personality Changes
You may also experience some changes in the personality of your dog or cat following the death of one of their “friends.” For instance, if the leader of the pack passes away, the surviving dog may take charge or act more confidently, or he may become quiet.
It may so happen that your once shy critter may ask for more love and attention. On the other hand, a demanding cat may hide in corners and start avoiding you.
Even if the departed and surviving pet did not share a bond, your pet can easily sense the emotional state you are going through. So, they may also become sad or despondent.
The emotional trauma of losing a pet affects the physical health of the pets left behind. They may become lethargic and fall to illness. Some of the notable physical changes that you may notice in a grieving dog or cat include:
- Whining or howling (in dogs)
- Crying and yowling (particularly in cats)
- Change in bathroom habits, such as urinating outside the litter box
- Acting despondent
- Hiding in corners and avoiding their pet guardian and other family members
Searching the Lost Friend
Some cats or dogs become restless when a loved one goes “missing” all of a sudden. It’s a heartbreaking sight. Not only do the pets cry, but they also look for their loved ones everywhere. The futile search may go on for weeks.
While its heart-wrenching, allowing the surviving pet to bid “farewell” to their companion can help them to cope with the grief. Sniffing or examining the body, crying, or even ignoring the body of a furry friend – all normal reactions.
How to Help Your Pet Grieving the Loss of another Pet?
So when you observe any of the changes mentioned above in your four-legged furry family member, make sure to offer them compassion and support. Dr. Wallace Sife is the psychologist who authored “The Loss of a Pet,” a helpful guide to dealing with the difficult process. He advises pet owners to allow their remaining pet to grieve the loss of a “friend.”
1. Stick to the Normal Routine
One effective way to pull out your loving pet from grief and depression return back to their routine as soon as possible. Don’t make any changes to their feeding or playing schedule.
The normal routine will help greatly to reduce stress and anxiety. Spending time with your grieving pet can also help you to deal with the tragedy.
2. Ignore Unwanted Behavior
It is important to comfort your pets when they are dealing with the loss of a companion. However, if they show unwanted behavior, such as whining or pacing, leave them for some time. Soothing or petting them in such situations can reinforce the behavior.
And your pet may continue to act stubborn or show disobedience later as well. You may find it difficult, but ignoring such behaviors is the best way. On the other hand, when your cat or dog becomes quiet or starts avoiding you, shower them with your love, attention, and reassurance.
3. Engage them in Physical Activities
Empathize with your pet. Your dog or cat may have countless memories with the departed pet. They may have napped together and played together. “Moving on” is never an easy task after losing a relationship. Help your feline or dog with boredom and anxiety.
4. Talk to Your Pet’s VeterinarianEngage the pets in healthy activities so exercise and don’t put on excess weight due to lethargy. It will also help with mental stimulation. Not only will your pet get distracted from the loss and uncertain situation, but they will also learn something new. Such activities particularly help dogs to regain their confidence.
Despite all your efforts, if your pet still shows signs of depression or separation anxiety, visit your vet as soon as possible. You don’t want to lose another pet or see them in grieve.
Losing a pet is a testing time for the entire family, including the surviving four-footed members. Give them some time to grieve and stand by them as they stick around through thick and thin. Honoring the memory of the “lost soul” is a wonderful way to express your love for your deceased pet and also helps to heal the wound.