I got this in an email and thought I would share it.
Help for Your Grieving Dog
When your dog loses the companionship of another dog, it can be heartbreaking. Although no one truly knows how much dogs understand about death, it's clear that they can experience loss very deeply and often become depressed. Just like humans who have lost a loved one, many dogs stop eating, lose interest in their favorite activities, and become lethargic or sleep excessively.
When a dog experiences the loss of a dog companion, he is also mourning the loss a fellow pack member and that dog's previous pack position. Your dog might now be a leader without a follower, or a follower without a leader. That's why it's important for you to help your dog find a healthy, new position in your home.
These simple guidelines can ease the pain after a loss
Distract him. Take him for walks, bring him on car trips or invite friends—canine and human—over to visit. Also, consider buying dog puzzle toys specially designed for mental stimulation. Spend 15 minutes brushing him or giving him a massage. He'll start looking forward to the new routine.
Teach him new tricks. Even though your dog is older, he can keep learning for his entire life. Set aside a few minutes each day to teach him a new trick—such as fetching certain objects. Or introduce him to a new activity like catching a flying disc or agility, if he’s still physically active. The sense of accomplishment that training brings can give your pooch a new lease on life.
Reward good behavior—ignore bad behavior. During your dog's grieving process, don't give him any attention when he's excessively barking, whining, or howling—it will only reinforce this negative behavior. Praise him when he is sitting or resting quietly.
Don’t rush into getting a new dog. Older dogs often don't like changes in their environment, and adjusting to a new pet can add stress at an already stressful time. It's important to allow your dog the time to adjust to life without his companion—you may find he actually thrives on his own.
Be patient. The old saying "time heals all wounds" applies to your dog, too. Don't worry if your dog doesn't immediately respond to new activities or extra attention. Just be patient and he'll come around eventually. And try to be upbeat and positive—because if you are, he’s more likely to feel that way, too.
If you are worried about your dog's behavior, speak to your veterinarian. He or she may suggest medication to help ease your dog's anxiety. In the meantime, attention, affection, and activity are the best medicine you can provide.
Jackie, Champ, and Buddy
Awwww. This is so true. When our Doodle died, Twiggy quit eating, would often just stand and stare at her favorite chair, wander around the house. She had just as hard time of it as we did if not worse. After several months she started to come around and really bounced back about 6 months later when we adopted Rush. She became a new dog. We often don't think about how death effects them.
Very true. Death seems to hit Shanny the hardest around here.
♣ Laura ♣
I'm sure this would work for dogs as well, but it's never been practical for me.
When my first horse died, We let Gandy sniff her body. Somehow that really brought closure for Gandy (who was running around the field screaming... after she sniffed Sea, she quieted down and seemed fine.) Again, when we just lost Jesse (Gandy's pasture mate) I walked Gandy over to the body and just let her be with Jesse. She put her muzzle on Jesse's head and just rested it there for about a minute, but after that she walked off and grazed and seemed so much better.
I've never been able to take my other dogs to the vet when I have a dog put down. I just can't deal with the added stress, but I think if it were possible, it would really help the surviving dog(s) to cope.
I can only imagine what my dogs must think when I take one away, and it never returns.
Just a thought.
Very good article and advice. I am always amazed at how some people say they are just animals and don't have any feelings. They most definitely do and without a doubt losing a pack member is a very sad, stressful experience for them, just like it is for us.
The day I had to get Jo PTS, I asked my neighbour to take him for a walk while I took Jo to the vet. When I came home, he was waiting for me. When he saw Jo wasn't with me, he did the same thing he did with Mum - went running to the door every time I came home looking for Jo. It took him about a month to settle down from that too. He finally stopped when I adopted Hollie & he had another dog for company. In hindsight, I often wonder if maybe I should have taken him to the vet so he could have seen what happened & thus had closure that his best mate for the last 10 years wasn't coming home but I thought that might cause more trauma. It's hard to know what to do.
Thanks for sharing, Jackie. It is so true.
"Each is a creature of Earth and is entitled to reside on it with dignity"
I'm so glad I seen this, my mailman just lost one of his dogs and the other is beside herself.... I was able to print this off for him... So, thank you so much!
Mom to Indy 6/12/98 to 11/16/11 (always in my heart), and Jobe 8-14-2000 to 6/24/2013 (Working TDI) English Labs, and Annie our Golden Retriever (TDI), and Kodiak (who will one day hopefully be a TDI dog if he doesn't kill me first).
I hate having to swipe my red eyes at work......
Kelrobin Cleveland Street Denizen, CGC, RN [Parker]
"Dear George: Remember, no man is a failure who has friends. Thanks for the wings. Love, Clarence" -- IAWL Screenplay (1946)