Mourning the loss of a dog, Dog mourning the loss of another dog
by Bethany M Wilson
Losing a loved one is extremely difficult to deal with. Dogs become members of our family so it is typical for you to feel intense pain, devastation, and even depression. You might even be showing signs of guilt and denial. Just remember, you have a right to feel anger and grief. You must face your feelings because only then can you work through them. Talk to people, open up, write about it, do whatever you must to express what you are feeling.
I’ve been asked, ‘should I get another dog right away’? My first response is no because you need to wait till you have dealt with your feelings before you bring someone else into the family. What often happens is you think a new dog will ‘replace’ the old one. They never do though. They will have a different personality, different needs, and needs to be treated as a new member of a strong pack-not a new member of a weak, vulnerable, grieving pack.
Dogs often take a significant place in our lives. They can represent a child, a spouse to come home to, a sibling, etc. That is often why it is so hard when we lose them. You will need to understand that everyone will not necessarily understand how you feel. To you it is no different then losing a human friend, but not everyone feels that way. Make sure you don’t let that make the grieving process harder. Find that person who feels the same about there pet as you did yours and express yourself to them
Finally, try to get as much closure as possible. Don’t be afraid to talk to your vet extensively. They understand because they deal with this on a regular basis so make sure you ask all the questions you can think of so you don’t wonder later. You can even revisit that vet to ask questions after you pet has passed. They should be happy to pull out their chart and answer everything they can.
Other pets in the house can be greatly affected by the loss of a pack mate. If you can, you should let the other dogs of the house sniff the pack mate that passed away. This will let them know they are dead and they won’t be as likely to look for them everywhere.
Losing a loved one is extremely difficult to deal with
If your dog is showing signs of depression, don’t love on him while he is in this state. Get treats or toys out to snap him out of it and when he shows the least bit of interest you reward that! Give him more attention then usual, like more exercise and playtime. Cuddling on the couch doesn’t count. It needs to be physical activity where the mind and body is stimulated.
Try changing things up a bit. Go to new parks and blocks when exercising your dog. That way there are no memories in that environment associated with the other dog. You can also do this in the house by getting new dog beds and toys and getting rid of the old ones. Change the routine more by walking differently, maybe jogging, new treats, and find playmates in the neighborhood.
As far as leaving your dog when you go to work, if he is now alone it will be very different then he is used to. Try leaving for short periods of time like around the block. When you come back in see what his state of mind is. Is he depressed in the corner? Is he showing over excitement? Or is he normal?
If he is showing signs of depression when left alone, get a dog walker to come and play and walk him in the middle of the day. If he is over excited it is because he isn’t getting any stimulation during the day anymore. You will need to spend more time with him exercising before you leave as well as when you get home. Also, you need a dog walker or at least a neighbor to visit with him awhile. Start working with him on more obedience to stimulate his mind more. Also, look into getting toys that role and drop treats out, or putting peanut butter in kongs for him to lick out. This will increase activity while you are gone.
Do not look into getting a new pooch until the family is stable emotionally again.
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About the Author
I have trained dogs since I was 10. I have my own company that trains and works with dog behavior. I would be happy to answer any questions you have at Dogercise
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