The death of a pet means the loss of a non-judgmental love source.
There is no longer anything for the pet owner to nurture and care for. These feelings can be particularly intense for the elderly, single people and childless couples,( their pet was likely a child substitute).
Psychologists recognize that the grief suffered by pet owners after their pet dies is the same as that experienced after the death of a person.
Grief is the normal response to any important loss in life. Regardless of whether the death of a pet followed a prolonged illness, or a sudden accident.
Grieving people experience both physical and emotional traumas as they try to adapt to the change in their lives.
Grief is probably the most confusing, frustrating and emotional thing that a person can experience. It is even more so for pet owners.
When Pets Die, an experience shared by a Mother when they lost a beloved family pet.
Society in general does not allow pet owners to openly grieve over the death of a pet . These grieving pet owners often feel isolated and alone.
More resources are becoming available to help the bereaved pet owner realize that they are NOT alone and that what they are feeling is entirely normal.
written by someone who has been touched by the death of a loved pet.
Recognizing Pets Grieving
What many people find hard to believe is that animals can form
very firm attachments with each other.
Even pets that seem to barely get along will exhibit intense stress reactions when separated.
In fact, grieving pets can show many symptoms identical to those experienced by the bereaved pet owner.
The surviving pet(s) may become
There may also be much sighing, along with sleep and eating disturbances
Often, grieving pets will search for their dead companions and crave more attention from their owners
How Can We Help?
How can an owner help the grieving pet?
By following these recommendations:
Keep the surviving pet(s) routines as normal as possible
Try not to unintentionally reinforce the behavior changes
If the pet's appetite is picky, don't keep changing the
food... all that does is create a more finicky pet
Don't overdo the attention given to the pet(s) as it can
lead to separation anxiety
Allow the surviving animals to work out the new dominance
hierarchy themselves. There may be scuffles and fights as the
animals work out the new pecking order (dogs mostly)
Don't get a new pet to help the grieving pet(s) unless the
owner is ready. This will backfire unless the owner is
emotionally ready for a new pet, and people still grieving
won't have the energy for it