is your pet also grieving?

If you have a pet(s), you may have noticed changes in their behavior since your spouse/partner has died.

We came across the following post by on the Animal Friends site and found it interesting.

According to When Pets Grieve, "We all find it hard to say goodbye. Our pets are just like us in many ways. Many of us can clearly understand their moods and emotions by the way they look at us or the way they wag their tail.

Our pets display emotions every day, but do they experience a complex emotion like grief? Grief is a reaction to the sudden absence of something or someone who brought comfort and satisfaction—and many pet owners will attest that their pets grieve when they lose a loved one."

It continues, "Research now confirms that our pets experience symptoms of grief when they lose a beloved human or animal companion. Grief has even been observed in wild species. Elephants have been seen caressing the body of a deceased companion. There are published reports of pets who constantly search for a deceased loved one and animals who no longer want to play or eat when a companion dies."

The author goes on, "Many grieving dogs often act as if they’re searching for something. They become restless or lethargic, lose their appetite, have accidents in the house, cry and don’t want to play. Dogs are certainly not alone; many cat and rabbit owners report similar experiences with their grieving pets."

The author suggests, "Just as you’d comfort a grieving friend, you can help your pet cope with grief. First and foremost, keep your pet’s routine as normal as possible. This may be difficult if a pet’s primary caregiver has passed away, but it is essential to maintain as normal a routine as possible. Second, don’t reinforce any behavioral changes. If your pet stops eating, don’t change the food, and don’t increase the amount of attention you give your pet. It may lead to new problems, like separation anxiety."

And goes on to advise, "If you find that nothing helps your pet, speak with your veterinarian. Your vet can help you decide whether prescription medicine will be effective to help calm and relax your pet."

The post later concludes, "Both humans and animals find it hard to say goodbye, but with love and understanding, we can work to help our animal friends cope with loss."

What are your thoughts?


Anonymous said...

It's true-our animals are very sensitive to how we are feeling-physically and emotionally. Our dogs did not leave my husband's side during his last days-and the day he died, my shepherd came and got us to let us know it was "time". Because of her, my husband was surrounded by people he loved. After he was gone, it was obvious they missed him and were very confused-they kept looking for him, but they were a huge comfort for me- very attentive-always making sure I was ok-and providing unconditional love, comfort and "kisses"

Prussia said...

My partner's dog went to live with his sister but he was a huge support in the days ensuing his death. I miss him sometimes so much but I wonder if seeing him would make the grieving all the harder as looking at him would just remind me too much of my boyfriend and our lives all together.
My own dog looked confused and a bit lost when both his master and his dog companion suddenly vanished from his life.
Of course he has me and am sure he is over the trauma now, he is afetrall a dog. But for me he was the reason I got up in the mornings when the pain was so raw, so for me I owe him my life really.