They Just Look So Sad: Grieving Pets

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It is true; pets grieve the loss of both human and non-human companions. Your dog or cat may be perceptive to your mood so when you are sad, they will also demonstrate sadness. When another pet in the home dies, it can impact the social hierarchy of the pets and cause behavioral changes in the remaining pets. For instance, dogs or cats may stop eating, begin to sleep more, or become more vocal, in reaction to this loss.

So, what are some things you can do for a sad or grieving pet?

The most important thing that you can do is to be patient and allow your pet to adjust to the new or changed circumstances. Some pets that have experienced loss need up to six months to return to their usual selves- while others may bounce back in a few weeks.

Some other things to remember include these tips:

Don’t Overdo

Resist the urge to spoil your pet- it will only make things more confusing and difficult later. Skip extra treats to ‘comfort’ a sad pet, but instead, do something active and interactive with your pets. Again, do not set unreasonable precedents by spending more time than normal with your pets as it could contribute to separation anxiety later-on.

Keep Things Calm

Try to soothe a sad pet with some calm activities that will help them relax. A great example is a brisk walk. Another approach is to use specialty collars and products that offer aromatherapy through calm-inducing pheromones.

Do Something Different

Try to change things up and do something different to help your pet move past their grief or loss. Try a new daily routine that keeps them guessing; if their usual routine has changed due to the death of a human or other pet in the household, change their schedule further to help them adjust and move on. Practice this new routine faithfully and they should quickly adapt and adjust.

Distract your Pet

Give your pet a distraction from their grief with an outing, a walk, or a new toy. Try to pique their interest in something to take their focus off the loss.

Abstain from Adding to the Pack

This is not the best time to adopt or give another animal a home. It certainly is not warranted due to your pet being sad or missing a family member; the household changes that a new pet brings can create chaos. Is it fair to subject a grieving pet to additional stress? Consider your options and give it some time, if possible.

Talk to a Vet

If you continue to see signs of sadness or are worried about your pet, see the vet. If your pet has stopped eating, talk to your veterinarian. Also, if you notice symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, or lethargy, contact your vet to identify if something else- like an underlying medical condition or illness- is going on with your pet.

Is your pet grieving? Have you lost a pet? Midlands Pet Care, a family-owned & operated company, is here to help. The team of caring and compassionate professionals specializes in pet burials and cremation services; when needed, call to learn more.


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