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Do Our Pets Grieve?

By Dr. Andrew Jones


Do our pets grieve?

Ask any non pet owner and they will probably say: “ Of course not.”

Ask a pet owner and you’ll get a very different reply: “ Of course they do”

Our dogs and cats are often dramatically affected by the loss of another pet- even ones that don’t seem especially close.

Many dogs and some cats will react in becoming withdrawn, lethargic, less interested in play, less interested in eating, and sometimes even become sick themselves.

My cat Cleo dies, and another cat grieves


My own recent experience can attest to this.

My wonderful older cat Cleo died a few weeks ago of kidney failure- my other older cat Gussie became very withdrawn.

Gussie and Cleo didn’t seem to ‘get along’- as in hissing at each other, inhabiting different parts of the house- you could say they were not best buds..

Gussie has been queen of our couch, spending most of her days sleeping ( and spreading fur), and her chosen couch cushion. From this position she could survey the house, awaiting her next meal/human interaction.

Cleo died 10 days ago, and for nearly a week after, Gussie was not even on the couch.

Gussie spent the entire time in my office, sleeping even more..

Even Gussie was grieving.

So yes pets do grieve- they have much more involved relationships than we even suspect, and the loss of another pet can dramatically affect them.

What do you do?

Trent in a doll stroller

Trent in a doll stroller

Give them time

Grieve with them.

Give them attention.

In time they will “ be back to normal”

In doing this you are increasing the bond between you and your pets.

It takes time to work through grief.

Adding Another Pet

It is important that everyone in your family feels emotionally ready to have another pet, and be ready to move forward with another stage of life.

If it’s not the right time for you, don’t get another dog or cat.

Take time.

In most cases your current pet/pets will begin to appreciate the additional attention from you.

Think of another pet when everyone in ready.

What we can learn from our pets on grieving

The things that you do to help your dog or cat adjust to the life changes of losing a pet can really help healing for you.

Grief is very healthy, helps you deal with the loss, and allows you to move forward with life, while always remembering our lost pet.

One more thing we can learn from our dogs and cats.

Best Wishes,

Dr Andrew J


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Topics: Cat Care, Dog Care, Pet Care | No Comments »


Dr. Andrew Jones, DVM