Have you wondered how and if pets experience grief after there is a loss of another pet in the home?
Just like you and me, the pets in your household will recognize and miss the pet that is gone. They just can’t verbalize their feelings.
Signs Of How Pets Experience Grief:
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of energy
- Sudden signs of withdrawal
Grieving pets may lose their appetite and/or energy. They may withdraw or become anxious.
Your grieving pet may become depressed. They may seek more attention from you.
Your pet might pace your home in search of the missing pet and keep checking the places where that pet ordinarily slept or spent time.
Grieving dogs may whine or howl, while a cat might wail or meow/cry.
A survey by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals found that cats ate less, slept more, and became more vocal after the death of a companion cat.
Even if your pets didn’t seem to have a special bond, they will still react to the loss of another pet that lived in your home.
Ivy’s Reaction To The Loss Of Gracie:
Ivy didn’t seem to want Gracie around her. She hissed at her and growled, but at times they did play by chasing one another around the apartment.
After Gracie died, Ivy began to “talk” to me. She meows more often. And she seeks more of my attention and wants me to pet her.
If I go out and sit in a chair on the patio, she sits on the other side of the patio door and watches me. I slide the screen open but keep the patio door closed so she can smell the outdoor air and hear me talking to her.
She now spends most nights in my bedroom perched up on her cat tree looking outside. Whereas before she tended to stay in the living room at night.
I definitely do see changes in Ivy’s behavior since Gracie died.
I’m sad and Ivy sees that and reacts to it.
What To Watch For:
- Change in grooming habits
- Change in eating habits
- New destructive behavior
- Signs of separation anxiety
You might see a change in your pet’s personality.
Dogs in particular can have a hard time because they are pack-oriented by nature. When a member of the pack dies, your dog may be confused because he or she will no longer understand its role.
What Can You Do When Your Pet Is Grieving?
He or she may not want to be left alone. They may become upset and anxious when you leave the home to run an errand.
Your pet’s routine should remain the same. Any direct changes will only increase their stress level.
Check to see if there are changes in your pet’s eating and drinking habits.
While you are grieving the loss of a pet, it’s important to recognize that your pet is grieving as well.
If your pet’s grieving behavior does not improve with time, consult your vet.