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Just like humans, pets also feel grief. Most animals don’t like change. There are many things that indicate that your pet might be grieving. If there’s a sudden change in eating and sleeping habits, or if he’s experiencing lethargy, restlessness and clinginess, he might be grieving the loss of an animal that he had closely bonded with.
Here are a few ways in which you can help your grieving pet:
- Monitor your pet closely
There hasn’t been a lot of research into the kind of grieving that pets tend to experience. To be safe, closely monitor your pet for any signs of freak reactions. Educate yourself on what to expect. Be a comforting presence to your pet, but don’t suffocate them. Just be close so they know you’re there.
- Keep their schedule and daily routines consistent.
Most animals don’t like change. Pets cope better when they know what to expect every day. Try keeping exercise, mealtimes, playtime, walks, bedtime, grooming, and all other daily activities consistent.
- Don’t reward his depression by mistake.
This is a rather difficult one. It’s natural that you would want to do everything in your power to comfort your grieving pet. However, paying special attention to a pet who is doing something undesirable or out of the norm will reinforce the behavior. Make sure to not reward his lack of appetite, inactivity, anxiety, and other types of reactions he may be experiencing. Instead of giving them treats to make them feel better, try taking them on energetic and playful activities like walks, training sessions, or other engaging exercises.
- Keep them on the same diet.
Don’t decrease the amount of food you put out for your pet because he lost his appetite following the tragedy. Offer him the same amount of food, on the same times that he’s used to. Store the food he doesn’t eat and offer it to him on his next mealtime. If he continues to refuse to eat even after a week, make an appointment with your vet.
- Don’t upset your pet even further with dramatic displays of emotion.
Pets can pick up on our emotions too. So while you’re around your pet, think about his state of mind and act accordingly. Warn any other family members who are grieving to be aware of the same.
Dogs tend to remember close companions for a longer time. Your pet’s grieving process depends on his memories of the departed and may even take a few months. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you have to give your pet time to heal. They will come around but rushing the grieving process will only be counter effective.