Does a dog understand when another dies? How do dogs react when they lose a four-legged friend?

 Does a dog understand when another dies? How do dogs react when they lose a four-legged friend?

Tracy Wilkins

"My dog died" is a situation that absolutely no pet parent wants to go through. Even if you have more than one dog at home, dealing with the loss of a dog is far from an easy task - and not only for you, but also for the animal that remains. Yes, the dog understands when the other dies and this can directly impact on his behavior and health. Dogs are animalsextremely sensitive and able to create emotional bonds with both their humans and other animals.

For this reason, it is important that the guardian knows how to identify the signs of dog grief and how to help him deal with longing moving forward. To understand how this process happens in practice, guardians Beatriz Reis and Gabriela Lopes shared their stories with the Paws of the House !

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Research says dog misses another dog and may grieve loss of friend

You may not believe it, but research published by Professor Barbara J. King in Scientific American has revealed that dogs understand when another dog dies, and this can be seen in behavioral changes. Although there is no proof that the animal really understands the concept of death, it is possible to see that the dog misses his friend when common habits stopLack of social interaction, for example, is the first sign that your dog may be going through the grieving process. Loss of appetite, increased sleeping hours, stress and anxiety can also characterize a missing dog condition. In addition, it is possible that your pet goes through episodes of searching for the other companion dog in the house or in other places.places frequented by the animal.

On the other hand, some dogs may be more attached and affectionate to their owners after the loss of their friend. Therefore, it is important to be aware of changes in canine behavior, monitor your dog more closely and seek help from a veterinarian or behaviorist when necessary.

How to tell if the animal is going through the grieving process for a dog?

It's not easy to come to terms with what happens when a dog dies, both for humans and for other pets. Dogs who have lived together for a long time and haven't known a life without the other pet are usually very shaken by the loss of their friend, and soon enter a period known as dog grief. There are several ways in which dog grief manifests itself, mainly bythrough behavioral changes such as:

  • Lack of social interaction
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Loss of appetite
  • Going to the wrong place
  • Excessive attachment to owners
  • Vocalization (dog howling death)

Grieving dog Nicolas had episodes of aggression and stress after losing Bel

Nicolas was a 45-day-old puppy when he learned from Bel to bark at the gate, sleep on the owners' pillow and even to do his business in the right place. 11 years apart, they ended up becoming friends even with some reluctance from Bel - after all, she had always been the "owner" of the house before the arrival of the energetic puppy. They played, got into mischief together andtime and again they had to compete for the family's attention.

Bel passed away in June 2017, about two years after Nicolas' arrival. The puppy felt what it was like to lose such a beloved dog and started to have very visible behavioral changes of a kind of canine mourning. "The most visible sign was binge eating. Since Bel passed away Nicolas started to gain weight non-stop and, therefore, I believe that the lack of her company duringthe games may have helped to aggravate the condition, "says tutor Gabriela Lopes. In the long run, Nicolas also showed some effects of this difficult time. "He became more aggressive and jealous with his little things, including food. In addition, his coat became very white on the sides due to stress and anxiety ", he reveals.

To deal with the friend's condition, Gabriela says it took a good dose of understanding and emotional support. "We got even closer to Nicolas after Bel's death and started to do his every wish. I don't know if it was the best way to deal with the condition, but at the moment it seemed to be the right one ", he explains. However, the tutor reveals that weight gain and possessive attacks still"We did some therapies with floral for dogs that improved the condition for a while, but in the long run we did not see much difference. He is a dog with a more fragile health after Bel's death ", he says. Today, little Nicolas has two other canine sisters and five kittens to keep him company. Although they are true companions for the puppy, the memory of theBel is still very much present in his life, even after the dog bereavement.

Canine grief: Bolt grew even closer to his guardian after losing his friend

At Beatriz Reis's house, the loss of one of the four-legged friends was also felt, but in a different way. The yorkshire Bolt lost his eternal partner and son Bidu, who had been facing epilepsy for some years. "Although they had their 'disagreements', they were an inseparable duo. They shared the same pot of food and always slept together, snuggling with each other ", he reports.After the loss, the guardian says that Bolt has become an even more affectionate and attached dog. "He is still a quiet dog who hides in dark places to sleep, but I feel that he makes a point of being more present. The games and the moments by our side have gained more importance for him ", he reveals.

For this reason, Beatriz says that dealing with dog grief was a less complicated task than she believed it would be. "I believe he did much more for us. He gave us affection, licked our tears and was by our side," she says. Still, she says that the loss of Bidu brought important changes to the routine of the house and, especially, the family: "We were alwaysWe've talked to him and we're sure he understands everything!".

Dog bereavement: how to help the animal that remains?

Once you know that your dog misses another dog, you may be wondering how to help your furry friend get through this moment, right? In this case, the first step is to accompany your friend closely. Just like you, he will also need all the affection and support to deal with this moment.

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Another factor to watch out for is the dog's diet. When they are sad, dogs tend to lose their appetite, which can be a problem if your friend goes more than 48 hours without food. In addition, it is important to try to maintain the animal's daily routine so that he feels safe and supported. Although it is not always an easy task, you must do your best to keep the activities goingHere are some tips to help your dog grieve:

1) Do not stop giving your dog affection. Even if you are both grieving, your dog can help you cope and vice versa. He needs to understand that he is not alone.

2) Pay attention to the dog's diet. In grief, they may end up eating poorly or even not eating at all, which will lower their immunity and compromise their health.

3) Keep your pet's routine as normal. Any change can make him even more upset, so the ideal is to stick to the same times for meals, walks and other activities.

4) Understand that canine grief is a phase. Your friend needs to assimilate everything that is happening, and will not stop missing the other doggy overnight.

5) Encourage the dog's social interaction with other pets. This can help keep you entertained and take your mind off things for a bit - but don't push it if you see your pet is not comfortable, okay?

6) If you need it, do not hesitate to seek specialized help. A veterinary behaviorist can help your dog get through the grieving process in a healthy way.

Tracy Wilkins

Jeremy Cruz is a passionate animal lover and dedicated pet parent. With a background in veterinary medicine, Jeremy has spent years working alongside veterinarians, gaining invaluable knowledge and experience in caring for dogs and cats. His genuine love for animals and commitment to their well-being led him to create the blog Everything you need to know about dogs and cats, where he shares expert advice from veterinarians, owners, and respected experts in the field, including Tracy Wilkins. By combining his expertise in veterinary medicine with insights from other respected professionals, Jeremy aims to provide a comprehensive resource for pet owners, helping them understand and address their beloved pets' needs. Whether it's training tips, health advice, or simply spreading awareness about animal welfare, Jeremy's blog has become a go-to source for pet enthusiasts seeking reliable and compassionate information. Through his writing, Jeremy hopes to inspire others to become more responsible pet owners and create a world where all animals receive the love, care, and respect they deserve.