Ask Dr. Shu- Do other Pets Grieve the Loss of Another Pet?

husky in turtle neckDo Other Pets grieve When the Loss of Another Pet Happens?

To someone who has never owned a pet, it may come to surprise that pets grieve for the loss of another pet.  Those who have owned dogs or cats before only know to well the pain and loss another pet can feel.
I think the classic book, “Where the Red Fern Grows” captures this best as the one coon hound’s partner refused to eat or live without her partner.  Death came quickly in the grief of the other dog because she missed her friend so much.
This can and does happen.  Most of the time pets will mope or not eat as much.  This was the case with one of my dogs who lost his life long friend.  After her death, he moped, did not eat nor seem as energetic.  In other cases, the surviving pet will sometimes look for their friend as if surprised he does not run up the stairs with him when called.  Sometimes their ears will perk up upon the mentioning of their treasured lost friend.  The reality is bonds do form among dogs and cats.  Especially in more socially structured packs of dogs where there is a hierarchy and dependency.

“Dr. Shu” insists that all dogs feel sadness regarding the loss of another pet.  He recommends spending extra time with the surviving pet and grieving together.  He also recommends extra attention in regards to treats and toys to cheer the surviving pet up.  The surviving pet should not be left alone and should be monitored for any signs of depression or change of behavior.  Shu relates that “the owner should open up his emotions and grieve together with the surviving pet, providing love for the surviving pet and also giving the owner an emotional outlet to express his or her grief for the loss of the deceased pet”
Of course, sometimes a new friend may be in the future as well to help spark up the spirits of your surviving canine or feline.  In the end, it is a mutual grieving process and owner and surviving pet should grieve together.
Please review the pet loss program.
Dr. Shu, Ph.D

(Dr. Shu is a fictional character)