When a pet loses a companion – whether it be human or animal – they grieve in similar ways to humans. Not only is the loss of their companion traumatic and painful, but a pet’s grief can be expressed both physically and psychologically.
Learn more about the signs and symptoms of a grieving pet and what you can do to help by reading our tips below.
How to Notice Signs of Grief in Your Pet
Pets show similar signs of grief as humans. And also just like humans, no two pets react the exact same way to death. Although each pet will grieve in their own individual way, some of the signs of a grieving pet may include:
- Loss of appetite
- Disturbed sleep
- Lack of interest in normal activities (walks, play)
- Clinginess to family members
- Wandering aimlessly, looking for their lost friend
- Lethargic, withdrawn, listless appearance
- Cats may excessively groom
Allowing Your Pet to Adjust
When dealing with a grieving pet, it’s important to allow for an adjustment period. This period, which would range from one to six months should be used to monitor your pet closely.
If he/she stops eating or experiences diarrhea or vomiting, consult your veterinarian.
Practice a Consistent Daily Routine
Because the previous routine may no longer exist, it’s important to establish a new one – especially for anxious pets. Mealtimes, exercise, playtime, grooming and bedtime are best to keep on a predictable schedule.
Keep Your Pet’s Diet the Same
Even though your pet may not show much of an appetite following the death of a loved one, continue offering the same food at the same time every day.
Although it’s tempting to console a grieving pet with extra treats, doing so will create an expected habit. The same goes for giving your pet extra attention.
Offer Some Distractions
You’re the biggest expert on your pet’s behaviour. Paying attention and adjusting to their behaviour is the best thing you can do. For pets that seem anxious, sometimes introducing a new distraction can help create happy hormones in their brain. Consider purchasing a new toy to perk them up, or take them on extra walks to the dog park.
Don’t Buy a New Pet Right Away
Pets can experience a “distress reaction” when they lose a furry friend. And although you may think you’re doing a good thing by trying to getting a new pet to console the surviving pet, don’t.
Experts recommend that you wait at least three months (or whenever your pet is fully recovered) to adopt a new furry friend for your household.
Allow Time to Heal
Just like humans, pets require different amounts of time to heal. Throughout that period, ensure that signs of grief are not masking symptoms of another illness.
Dealing with your own grief can be difficult enough without adding a pet’s emotions to the mix. But sometimes, caring for your furry friend throughout their grieving process can help a human deal with their own grief, too.
For more tips on dealing with grief and loss, contact the experts at Circle of Life Cremation and Burial Centre Inc.