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Helping Pets Deal with Grief

Human folk aren’t the only ones that grieve when a pet dies.  We survivin’ pets mourn, too.  It may even be harder on us to grow used to the absence of our friend. They were probably a friend we were with all day while you human folk might be at work or doin’ other things. But, you can help us while we mourn by being patient, understand, and helpin’ us understand as much as possible. Here are a few things you can do in helping pets deal with grief.

Helping Pets Deal with Grief

Your  understandin’ and patience could mean allowin’ us to sleep more or understandin’ if we are crankier than usual.  We may act depressed or grumpy as we grieve.  And, we don’t always understand what happened, so we need your help with that, too.

If our friend was terminally ill and you decided to go to the vet to end the sufferin’, we will could miss the natural pack interaction with our friend after death.  We will only know he or she left and never came back.  That’s really confusin’.  It would help us a lot if you find a way to let us know what happened.

Bringin’ us with you to the vet to sniff our pal that passed might work.  Smell is everything to us dogs. Or, you might bring our friend home for burial. I wasn’t here yet, but that’s what my Lady did for Sallie and Maggie when her Sadie girl passed away. My Lady brought Sadie home for burial and they got to spend some time with her. Sallie had grown up with Sadie and took it purdy hard. But, at least Sallie got a chance to spend some time with her friend. Us pets would really appreciate a chance to sniff, think and say our goodbyes.  If none of that can happen, then let us smell a blanket used when our friend died.

If you find our friend has died at home, we will probably know before you do and be very distraught, in need of soothin’.  Hug and pet us.  Let us watch what happens.  As you know, we are smart and will understand more than you think.

After our friend is gone, be sure to give us extra love and attention. More pettin’.  More talkin’.  More car rides with the windows open.  If we refuse to eat, we may need some extra treats.  The drive thru is perfect for a small treat, not to mention the fun of stuffin’ our muzzle out the window.

One other thing besides love, attention, and treats that is important is to watch that our grief doesn’t lead us to health problems.  I know a dog that was so upset when his alpha dog died that he stopped eatin’ and got dehydrated.   Be sure we stay hydrated and nourished as we mope and grieve.  And you won’t believe I’m saying this, but don’t be afraid to take us to the vet for an exam.  We are stressed and will not want to admit if we need help from our doctor human.

It is painful to lose a member of the pack, and we all grieve.  But if we share our love and memories, we can heal our pack together.


Thursday 13th of September 2018

I notice subtle signs after they lose their companions, definitely sad. Need to give rapport

Rita Spratlen

Tuesday 26th of January 2016

I had 2 bichon brothers since they were babies at 8 weeks. I lost one of cancer at 11 and it was hard. They were always together. My other one gets a lot of attention now. It is hard for all of us even today!!

Ashley C

Wednesday 26th of August 2015

Thank you... this really helped. This past Thursday (8/20), I unfortunately had to put my 10 year old cat to sleep due to liver disease that had progressed (without symptoms) very quickly. It was sudden and heartbreaking for my mother and I. But, now, I'm dealing with my 6 year old golden who has only ever been around the cat his entire life (aside from the peoples' pets we got him from), moping around the house and acting depressed. My cat was cremated and came home yesterday, so there's nothing for my dog to really smell, which is tough. We left her cage, her bed and stuffed animal at the vets and donated it to them because it was too hard to bring home. We've been giving him extra love and hugs a lot. Hoping he'll start getting better soon.


Thursday 27th of August 2015

My heart breaks for you! I truly understand the pain you are going through. I lost a very beloved furbaby and my otherpets and I had to deal with it. I can't say that we are over it yet, as I think of her daily. I pray that y'all find peace and know that she is always with you in heart. Pets are God's angels and will always be by your side.

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