How a Pet's Death Affects Other Pets

By: Ian Elliott
Friday, January 6, 2023

It's unknown whether cats and dogs can grasp the finality and importance of another pet's death. Any indication that they do is simply anecdotal. Dogs and cats typically recognize when a companion is no longer turning up in their life, and they frequently react to that emptiness in a way that makes it plain that they miss their companion.

How a Pet's Death Affects Other Pets

The Arbutus Funeral Service team has seen how families grieve the loss of a pet, and many even wonder whether a pet's death affects other pets. Even if your dogs weren't close and the other pet doesn't appear to acknowledge the death of a pet, cats and dogs are incredibly sensitive to their human guardians' psychological states. They may become unhappy because they're experiencing those emotions in their pet parents.

Dogs might have difficulty coping with a change in the family dynamic because they have a pack-oriented mentality. Dogs tend to regard the family and other pets as a unit and develop an understanding of their position and purpose regarding the rest of the pack. When a family member dies, your dog could be unclear about her role and how they fit in.

How a Pet's Death Affects Your Other Pets

  • Acting despondent/ withdrawn
  • Changes in appetite
  • Howling or whining in dogs, or crying/yowling in cats
  • Changes in personality- a cat that craved attention suddenly isolates herself or vice versa
  • Searching the house or yard for the missing pet
  • Pacing around the house
  • Avoiding family members
  • Hiding behind or under furniture
  • Changes in bathroom/grooming habits

If you have noticed these signs in your pet after the death of another one, you need to avoid coddling or petting them if they seem anxious or are yowling or crying. It’s best to wait until they are calmer before you try to pick them up or comfort them. Stay positive and try to keep them engaged in some activity they like.

Losing a loved pet is a challenging time for the entire household. However, remembering to support and comfort your other pets during this time can help ease the grieving process so the whole family can heal.

If you need any other information about dealing with a pet’s death, you can send us your queries via this contact us form, and we will call you back soon to provide the answers you need. Our knowledgeable funeral director at Arbutus Funeral Service can also help with preplanning if required.

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