Helping A Dog Who Has Lost a Friend

Tips & Advice → Helping A Dog Who Has Lost a Friend

Losing a dog is traumatic. It's hard to conceive of life without your best friend. Hopefully you have had a long life together and many good memories.

Know that as hard it is for you, it is very hard for the other dogs in your family as well. Dogs do grieve the loss of other dogs. Like humans, the responses can be very different. Some dogs may refuse to eat, while others might start displaying negative behaviors. Some will try to escape as they go looking in search of their lost friends. They may follow you from room to room or demand your attention and affection more.

Your dog could become depressed, howling from time to time or even be less willing to play. He may sleep more. However your dog reacts, these tips can help you and your dog get through the difficult loss of a loved one together. Although long periods of mourning are not common in dogs, your remaining dog will need your patience and understanding.

When possible, try to prepare your dog for the future loss of his friend.

You can try to ease the transition by spending extra time alone with the dog who will be left alone when the other dog passes on. You might do this by participating in activities he or she enjoys, such as walking and playing his favorite games. Your sick or aging dog will likely enjoy the peace and rest he would get during the time you spent with the other dog. If you make the very difficult decision to euthanize your dog, you may want to consider allowing your other dog to be there when it happens. This may actually speed up the process of grieving. Sometimes dogs, like people, need to say goodbye and can even comfort each other.

Don't stop playing games and taking walks with your remaining dog.

Regardless of the form of grief your dog is experiencing, it is very important that you spend time with him to help him cope with his loss and divert his mind. Walks can be very therapeutic. Also, try not to leave your dog alone too often. Exercise and fresh air can be of benefit both to grieving humans and grieving dogs. Initiate play or try interactive toys with treats inside like the GameChanger. Of course, this is difficult because you will be grieving too. However, keep your spirits up as best you can because your dog needs you now as much as ever.

Maintain a normal routine so your dog knows you are still his leader.

Some dog owners may change their behaviors in situations such as these. They may stop taking their remaining dog for walks or stop behaving like a leader. When that happens, the dog's entire routine is changed, and that is very stressful for dogs. It adds to his loss and makes his problems even worse. It is very important that your leadership remains constant. Dogs that lose friends often suffer more from what their owners fail to do. If you stop demonstrating consistent leadership, your dog has then also lost his leader. When you remain calm and consistent and continue to provide clear direction, your dog will feel comfortable and secure in the stable environment that you are maintaining in the home.

Do not rush to get another dog.

Consider things carefully before bringing another dog into your home. This is often counterproductive. Your remaining dog may not bond with the new one if he hasn't finished grieving. Broken hearts, whether human or canine, are not easy to mend, so be patient.

Never forget that your dog needs your understanding and your love. Be supportive and be patient, and your dog will return to being his fun-loving self.


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