Dogs in Mourning
We know that dogs are very emotional but did you know that they mourn death and loss similar to the way humans do? We have all seen the heartbreaking photos of service dogs waiting at the grave of their beloved human. Then there is the story about Hachiko, a dog that waited for nine years at the train station for his human to return from work.
Some signs your dog may be depressed are, lack of interest, loss of appetite, and sleeping a lot. They may also have a different demeanor, with their head down low, not wagging their tail and a certain look in the eyes.
Some dogs will howl or cry as well. Dogs are incredibly loyal and dedicated. Imagine the loss they may be feeling. If you notice these signs, have a veterinarian check him out to be sure it is not a medical issue.
If your dog is extremely depressed, try to add more play time to your dog’s day, exercise will raise the serotonin levels. It is important to be patient and loving with your dog during this time, but be careful not to create a spoiled dog. For instance, your dog stops eating, so you give him all kinds of new fabulous foods to get him to eat, chances are he will not go back to his regular dog food. Some dogs show remorse through bad behavior, do not accept this behavior, he still needs to know it is not acceptable.
When a dog is mourning the loss of another canine family member, it is not always best to replace the loss with a new dog right away. Let your dog get over the loss first. This advice goes for humans grieving the loss of a dog as well. Do not rush to replace your beloved dog, volunteer at a dog shelter or foster a dog until you are ready to fully accept a new dog in your life. A few weeks or even a couple months can be healthy grieving time, but it is important to get the dog back into his usual routine.
It is hard to imagine the confusion a dog feels that suddenly finds himself in a shelter, whether from the death of his human or other circumstances. These dogs are dealing with the stress and anxiety of not knowing what is going on. It is very important to have your dog included in your will and appoint a guardian to ensure your best friend is properly cared for if the unthinkable happens.
Pug in mourning