Grieving isn't just a necessary process for humans who've lost a loved one, it's also something that domestic and even wild animals go through. If you've had two dogs for any length of time and one of them passes away, the remaining dog will suffer the loss. Your dog will also need you more than ever before so they can get through.
Don't Rush Out For Another Dog Right Away
Getting another dog too soon could add stress to your existing dog's shaken world. They might argue or even fight if the time to introduce the new dog isn't quite right. Keep the deceased dog's items around the house so that their faithful friend can smell and snuggle them if needed, but wait until they seem normal enough to cope with a new canine member of the family.
Give Your Surviving Pooch A Lot Of Extra TLC
Even if you're busy or don't normally get down on the floor with your animals, give your survivor more attention than ever and in a manner that makes them feel physically and emotionally secure. Rather than simply tossing a ball around the backyard (which is still a good idea), get up close and personal and speak to them with a compassionate voice. The reassurances you give them through this period should encourage their healing; however, some dogs can take a loss pretty hard.
Watch For Signs Of Depression
It's very important that your pooch fully recover from their loss, and while they may be sad for a period of time, if they don't return to normal, you may have to intervene. Be on the lookout for any sign of trouble that could indicate the need for special help:
Just as with humans, a dog who doesn't take care of themself risks wearing down their immune system and becoming more vulnerable to illness. Don't try new foods to encourage eating, as that could lead to other complications, such as allergies or digestive issues. Instead, gently offer them their usual meals, walks, playtime and lovin', taking note of what's being refused.
Talk To Your Vet If Your Dog Isn't Bouncing Back
Fortunately, there are temporary medications your vet can prescribe to bring your dog out of their sad state if it comes to that point. The vet may also recommend something else, such as special foods or supplements that help maintain weight, coat and skin and even mood swings. Your doggy-doc may tell you, too, that it's finally time to bring a second canine back into your lives as company and perhaps a distraction for the sad survivor.
Have The New Pup You Eventually Get Checked By The Vet
Make sure the new dog is free of fleas and other pests, including worms and parasites, and that they have all of their necessary vaccinations. Bring the new pet in for a check-up, to get a bath if needed, and to get a spay or neuter. Hopefully, another tail wagging in your home will be just what everyone needs to move on to brighter and happier times.
Dolphins, elephants, apes and other animals maintain their own forms of funerals, and some even overtly mourn by the side of the deceased for days. Your dog, particularly if they've spent a number of years with their lost companion, may absorb quite an emotional blow from the experience. Keep a close watch over them, stay in contact with your veterinarian and give them the extra time they need to feel cared for and loved.
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