Dog owners have reported physical symptoms including lethargy, loss of appetite, and sometimes illness. Personality changes may also result, due to a change in the social pecking order. Dogs who are the leader may no longer have a follower, and follower dogs may have no one to lead them.
Dog owners can take the following steps to help improve the mood of a grieving dog:
1. Keep your normal routine. Sticking to a regular schedule for eating, sleeping and exercise helps reduce stress.
2. Add more exercise. The loss of a sibling often means less playtime for the dog. Owners can reduce anxiety by increasing physical stimulation, including more walks or playtime at the park with other dogs.
3. Add one-on-one time for you and your dog. Extra time grooming, playing games together or working on a new trick will go a long way toward forging a deeper bond with your dog.
Some owners feel the need to fill the void as soon as possible by adding a new dog to the household. It is important to make sure that you are ready, and your dog is willing to accept a new companion. Your dog should be included in the selection process, to make sure the future siblings will get along. If a new dog is adopted, it is important to give both dogs plenty of space, and keep toys and food
separate. Adding a new dog should not be considered until the mourning process has run its natural course.
The time following the death of a dog is never easy. However, owners and their dogs can find comfort in each other, which will lead to a deeper and more loving connection.