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An Animal’s Grief

March 10th 2020

Author: Sarah Butler

The loss of a family pet can be devastating, but it’s often not only you mourning the loss.

Everyone knows how hard it is to lose a beloved family pet, but while you try to come to terms with your loss, don’t forget to look out for your other pets. They can be grieving too.

Signs of grief in pets can vary from one animal to the next, depending on their connection. Some animals may not have gotten along, but had a hierarchy system which is now no longer in place.

The new format and routine in your life can make any dog or cat feel lost. Even something simple such as removing the deceased pet’s food bowl or bed can cause a significant upset. They didn’t have to be best friends for the remaining pet to struggle to adjust to life without them.

Other pets who had a close relationship with the deceased one might take the loss a little harder. They may lose their appetite, try to find their friend, and distance themselves from you as they try to figure out what has happened.

Your pet may also be restless; some dogs pant and pace, or are not interested in playing. Toileting problems can be common. Owners who adopt another pet soon after their loss can notice further confusion and stress in their other pets.

An animal’s grief is something to be aware of, but the signs of loss could also be symptoms of a medical condition. If you notice any changes in their toileting, eating, or general behaviour, seek veterinary advice. You can rule out anything serious and learn how to help your pets through this tough time.