How to Help Your Dog Mourn

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First of all you might be asking yourself, do dogs grieve? The answer to that question is a resounding yes they do. A dog is capable of grieving the death of an owner or another dog.

While a dog cannot talk to you they express their grief by:

  • Becoming overly clingy – following you everywhere. And doing just about everything they can to not be alone.
  • Peeing or pooping inside the house – even though normally they were reliably housebroken.
  • Failure to eat normally.
  • Loss of interest in play activities
  • Tearing up things when left alone.
  • Excessive sleeping or napping

The first step to help the dog deal with this loss, is to be patient. Realize that such behavior will not last forever.

The second step is to reassure your dog. Speak calmly to them. Praise the dog.

The third step is to watch the nutrition status of your dog. Are they eating enough? Are they drinking enough? At least for this grieving time, you may need to feed the dog by hand. You may need to relax what you feed your dog. This may be the time to allow the dog to have treats like tiny bits of human foods. (Do not ever feed your dog – onions, garlic, chocolate, grapes or raisins). Spoil your dog a little.

If you cannot get your dog to eat properly, try having a friends’ dog visit and feed them both. Sometimes the social interaction with another dog will encourage the dog to eat or drink.

If you have to work outside of the house, you may want to have someone visit your dog while you are at work. Have them reassure the dog, encourage them to play, and walk them.

The fifth step is exercise. This provides a distraction and provides for a healthy interaction with you.

The sixth step is to provide extra companionship for your dog. If the dog does not normally sleep in your room, you may want to allow them to do so for a short time.

Your dog is a member of your family. It is your responsibility to help them deal with their grief.

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