Animals experience feelings of grief and depression just like people. Signs that a pet may be grief-stricken include a loss of appetite, an increase in sleep, depression, restlessness, aimless wandering, confusion and/or excessive barking or meowing. The loss of another pet or a human family member can bring about these signs of grief in your pet.
Mourning can take up to 6 months for our pets, although times of a month or so are more usual. A pet will often be seen searching to house for their missing companion. If you see this happening, feel free to give your grieving pet something that still holds the scent of his lost companion and let them be comforted by it.
It is common for a grieving pet to demand more affection and attention from others. Extra love and affection can be a healing comfort to both you and your pet. Your pet needs extra love and affection just as a person would during a time of mourning, but be careful not to mistakenly reward certain behaviors that you don’t want your pet to adopt permanently.
It is acceptable to hand out extra dog treats or bring out the catnip more frequently if you see your pet is sad, but keep it balanced. If you are worried your pet is becoming dependent on these treats, try to distract your pet during sad times by playing with them, taking them for a walk or talking to them.
Keep your pet’s routine as normal as possible, as this will give your pet some stability and something to look forward to. Maintain consistency in exercise, feeding schedules and the amount of attention being given. Eventually your pet will return to their normal behaviour.