When grief comes home

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened" ~ Anatole France

Only someone who has lost a beloved pet before can understand the deep grief, sadness and sense of loss felt when a pet dies. Just like us, pets also experience grief and sadness when they loose a companion. During this difficult time, it’s important to pay special attention to any pets in the house that are left behind. Pets often form very strong bonds with their fellow pet companions as well as their humans. Any loss whether it is in the form of a move, a missing pet, or the death of a pet or owner, can be quite traumatic for an animal and can result in a period of confusion, loneliness and depression in your dog or cat. Grieving pets will often become more clingy and not want to be separated from owners, and some pets may visibly search or pine for their lost companions.

Other symptoms of grief include:

  • sullenness and lethargy
  • loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • disinterest in eating and weight-loss
  • frustration and restlessness
  • increased day-time sleeping
  • anxiety and general clinginess

What to do

  1. If your pet has recently lost a companion it’s important to watch out for the common signs of grief and try help your pet cope with the change as best as possible.
  2. You can help your pet by simply giving him extra attention, being compassionate, and by actively enticing your pet to play and eat normally.
  3. You may need to encourage picky appetites with a few tasty treats, and set aside extra quality time with your pet for walks, games, and cuddles.
  4. Also try to keep previous routines as stable as possible so that your pet is not faced to too many additional changes.

As with us, when dealing with a grieving animal, the best medicine is lots of love and care and time to adjust. Just make sure that you do not allow the dog or cat to become too dependent on you, as this can often lead to severe separation anxiety or depression when you are not able to be there. The length of time spent grieving differs for each pet – like with humans, for some the grief period may last longer than others. While some dogs or cats adjust and gradually come to terms with their loss, others tend to struggle and find it harder to cope. For pets that are clearly not coping, you may need to consult your vet or an animal behaviorist.

For grieving and pining pets, we highly recommend our PetCalm - an all natural remedy formulated to encourage a sense of well-being in pets, helping them cope during times of loss.

Have any questions or feedback? Email our advisors at help@feelgoodhealth.co.za – we would love to hear from you!

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