When Pets Grieve
Other pets are likely to feel the loss of the deceased friend as well. Even if they weren’t the best of friends the companionship is a comfort that is missed. Often, a surviving pet does not understand what has happened, so adjusting may be uneventful. If possible, allowing your pet to sit beside the deceased animal can help him or her understand what has occurred.
When pets are aware of the loss, you may notice signs of mourning:
- A change in appetite
- Restless sleep
- Less playful or more restlessness
- Whimpering or howling
- Extra attention to doors and watching at windows
- Aggressive as they compete for dominance with other pets
- Aimless wandering or searching for the other pet
- Quiet and aloof behavior.
It may help to give the surviving pet an item containing the scent of the deceased pet. Allow for longer walks and more time together. Maintaining consistent routines and expectations for behavior provide security, which will comfort a grieving pet. Indulgences may reinforce negative behavior, so compassion with discipline is the best approach. If you’re concerned with a pet whose behavior has significantly changed, a call to your vet may help.