As humans, it's difficult to know how to comfort a grieving dog. We often find ourselves grasping for words and desperate to make our pets feel better. But what is comforting for one dog may not be as effective for another. The article lists a few possible ways to comfort a grieving dog.
The death of a pet is never easy, especially when it's unexpected. The grieving process can be complex for owners, but it can also be difficult for pets that have been close to their companion animal. According to an estimate, more than 70% of households in America have one or more pets, and most people know that dogs are capable of experiencing a range of emotions, from joy to sadness.
But what many don't realize is that when pets lose their canine companions, they can also experience grief. The good news is that there are ways you can help your pet through this difficult time by recognizing the signs of grief and providing comfort for them in whatever way possible. This article will help you explore the best ways to console a grieving canine without being too overt or invasive with your attention:
Recognize the Signs of Grief
You may also notice that your dog exhibits signs of depression, anxiety, withdrawal, loss of appetite, and interest in toys or play. If you have a large-breed dog, they might even show some signs of separation anxiety. All these symptoms are part of the grieving process after the death of their canine companion. In addition, undesirable behavior is common among pet dogs. According to sources, 72% to 85% of dogs show one or more signs of behavioral issues. However, you should be more conscious of the signs of grieving. While it may be hard to see your pet go through this difficult time with you, there are steps that you can take to comfort them during this time.
Give Them Time Alone, but Don't Let Them Isolate
When your dog loses their canine companion, it may need some time alone. While it's necessary to give them that space, you shouldn't let them isolate themselves from the rest of your family. Instead, encourage them to interact with other people and animals as much as possible, so they don't feel lonely. It can be tempting to force your grieving dog outside or make them eat or play when they aren't ready for those things yet, but that won't help their recovery. Instead, it would be good to place a large dog bed in an isolated place where they can have alone time.
Provide Comfort Objects, Such as Chew Toys or Heated Beds
For dogs grieving the death of a canine companion, toys can provide comfort and distract them from their pain. Try giving your pet some dog chew toys to help them work out their anxiety during this difficult time. You can also try placing your dog's favorite blanket on them when lying down. Sometimes just being covered in something familiar can be comforting for grieving dogs. If you have an extra fleece blanket lying around your house, try placing that on top of your dog.
Consult a Veterinarian About Supplements That Soothe Anxiety and Aid
If your dog is experiencing anxiety or having trouble digesting whatever food you're feeding them, consult your veterinarian about supplements that can help. They may recommend amino acids, probiotics, digestive enzymes, or a combination of all three. Most pet owners take it as their responsibility to keep their pets fit and healthy and do not hesitate to spend on their nutrition. The global market for pet supplements speaks for itself, which is expected to reach $822 million in 2027 from $598 million in 2019. With the growing market, these supplements can be easily sourced from any pharmacy or online pet supplies store. However, do not give any supplements by yourself; use the ones as prescribed by your veterinarian. Some veterinarians recommend giving the supplement regularly over time, while others suggest giving it when needed. Some commonly prescribed supplements by vets are
Denamarin: for good liver health.
Dasuquin for dogs: for bone and joint health.
Proviable for dogs: it is a digestive health supplement supporting healthy intestines.
Digestion, Including Probiotics and Amino Acids
Probiotics are a great way to help your dog's digestion. Yogurt, kefir, kombucha, and other fermented products are rich in Probiotics. You can also give Probiotic supplements, like Proviable Forte, to dogs with sensitive stomachs.
Probiotics are helpful if your dog has recently lost his canine companion. Losing their animal friend may cause them to feel depressed or anxious, leading to an upset stomach because they aren't eating properly due to stress or anxiety. By providing them with probiotic foods, you can help ease their discomfort during this tough time by helping ensure that their digestive tract stays healthy and functions properly.
Exercise With Your Dog to Help Release Pent-up Energy and Provide Stress Relief
If your dog is grieving the loss of its companion, you must help them release pent-up energy and provide stress relief. Exercise can help with this because it can be a way for your dog to bond with you, another pet, or even other people.
Exercise can also be a productive outlet for your dog's emotions. For example, if they are feeling sad or depressed after losing their companion, the physical act of running or playing can be therapeutic for them emotionally and physically.
Take Your Dog on Outings
Taking your dog for a walk, run, or car ride will help them cope with losing their canine companion. It can be done in any number of ways. Some people take their dogs to the park, while others prefer walks on the beach or around town. Whatever you choose as your routine activity, ensure that you're engaging with your canine friend and allowing them to enjoy them in whatever way they prefer. However, if taking them out, ensure they are always close to you. Therefore, use a retractable dog leash while taking them out for walks. It ensures that your dog is close to you but can still explore its surrounding to a limited scope.
Play With Toys Together
It can be a great distraction for your dog to play with toys. Try using the same type of toys that your dog used to play with when the canine companion was alive, as this will bring back happy memories. Interactive dog toys can also be a good option to keep them engaged. If you have other types of toys, try to find ones similar in shape and size so that they can become familiar objects for your dog.
If your dog does not look interested in playing with these new toys, keep them around for a few days before trying again. Perhaps, he or she is feeling sad and will be more receptive tomorrow. If this continues after several days, try playing outside instead, fresh air and physical activity may help lift your dog's mood.
Remove Everything That Makes Them Remember the Gone Pet
You can also remove everything that makes your dog remember the lost companion. If you had large dog beds, for example, get rid of them. Likewise, if your dog played with Kong toys or dog bowls belonging to their companion, these should be thrown away or donated. Remember that dogs are very territorial by nature and may feel like another dog is trying to take over their home by sleeping on their favorite couch or eating from their food bowl. To ensure no confusion between the two dogs, remove anything that could confuse them.
Finally and most importantly, remove any dog collars, leashes, or tags that the deceased animal used, so they aren't confused with the new addition's belongings. You may hold onto them as souvenirs but ensure they're put somewhere safe, so they do not confuse anyone else.
Keep Feeding Times to Be the Same as Before, but Feed Less
When a dog is grieving the loss of its canine companion, it may not feel much like eating. Some dogs will stop eating altogether, and others may eat less than normal. You should avoid feeding them more food than usual or adding extra treats or snacks to make them feel happy. It could lead to health issues in your existing pet.
The best way to comfort your dog during this time is by keeping feeding times the same as before but feeding less than usual so they don't feel uncomfortable.
Maintain Their Grooming and Bathing Routines
The death of a canine companion can be difficult for any dog owner. It's important to remember that during this time, your grieving pet will need to maintain its grooming and bathing routines. It means you should keep your regular schedule for feeding, walking, brushing, and nail trimming.
The same goes for ear cleaning. If you usually clean your dog's ears once a week, continue to do so even though he may not want them cleaned at first.
Your Dog is Grieving, So Stay Patient with Him
There is no one way to grieve, and dogs are no exception. The important thing is that you recognize your dog's reaction as one of grief and be patient with him or her as you work through the process. It's easy for owners to expect their dogs to act like humans when they cannot fully understand death in terms of its finality or permanence.
Dogs understand loss very well, and their reactions may not be what you expect from an animal that has lost its owner or a canine companion. If your dog doesn't seem overly upset by a beloved pet's passing, it doesn't mean he isn't grieving; he may not know how to express his emotions other than through his normal habits and behaviors.