Who Do I Call When My Dog Dies – The survey found that 86% of owners said their surviving dogs showed behavioral changes after the death of another dog in the family. Photo: Anna Kraynova/Getty Images/EyeEm
Losing a loved one can have a profound effect on people, affecting everything from sleep to hunger. Now researchers say they have seen similar behavioral changes in dogs that have lost a canine companion.
Who Do I Call When My Dog Dies
Although the team says it is unclear whether this finding can be interpreted as anxiety, they say the work could indicate a welfare issue.
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According to Dr. Federica Pirrone from the University of Milan, who is one of the authors of the study: “Dogs are very emotional animals that form close relationships with humans in their natural group. This means that they can be very sad when one of them dies. and efforts should be made to help them deal with grief.
Expressions of grief are not unique to humans: great apes, dolphins, elephants and birds are among the species that have been observed participating in death rituals and appearing to express grief.
Pirrone and his colleagues write in the journal Scientific Reports how they analyzed the responses of 426 Italian adults who completed a “dog anxiety questionnaire” online to find out how people can feel anxious.
All participants experienced the loss of a dog while the other dog was alive, and the question looked at the behavior and feelings of the owner and their surviving dog after their death.
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The results showed that 86% of owners said their surviving dogs showed behavioral changes when another dog died in the household.
Pirrone said: “It is generally reported that dogs play less and eat less, sleep more and seek more attention from their owners.” He said the results did not appear to affect the level of bonding between the owners and their dog, or whether they abused their pet, adding that the owners did not show much distress.
The team said the change was not related to how long the dogs had lived together or whether the dogs had seen a dead body.
The researchers said there are several possible explanations for the study, including that death may disrupt social behavior for surviving dogs.
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“In support of this idea, we found that if dogs shared food regularly during life, the surviving dog was more likely to reduce its activity level and sleep more after the loss,” the authors wrote.
The results also show stronger behavioral changes for dogs that reported a close relationship with the deceased pet, or who were their parent. or children.
“This means that the dog that is alive has lost a seal that provides safety and security,” Pirrone said.
Human emotions can also play a role: increased levels of fear of live dogs and decreased food intake are associated with more pain, anger and thinking in humans, then not in response to death.
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“This means that there may be some kind of emotional transmission or social media of fear, which is common in social animals as part of a strategy to adapt to situations that may be dangerous,” said Pirone. The team says, however, that the findings may also be related to owners’ perceptions of the behavior or emotions of living dogs.
“Dogs form emotional bonds, and the loss of an animal companion in their family can lead to behavioral changes, such as those we recorded in our study, which include what we commonly describe as anxiety and depression,” he said. . “Yes, according to our results we still cannot know whether dogs are only responding to the “failure” of a relationship, or to their personal “death.”
Professor Samantha Hurn, a social scientist at the University of Exeter, said it was important to understand what happens when a canine friend dies, but added that the research had its flaws, including that it was bad that dog owners did not read Nature. . , while the use of surveys that include measurements for such a subject may limit the conclusions that can be drawn.
He said: “During my research, I have seen many dogs and other animals behave in very different ways, however, the ways suggested to me were influenced by the death of a close friend.” It’s a normal feeling. Grief is the feeling of sadness and grief when a beloved dog, cat or other pet dies. These tips can help you cope with the pain of losing a pet.
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Most of us share a strong love and bond with our animal companions. For us, a pet is not “just a dog” or “just a cat”, but a beloved member of our family, bringing friendship, happiness and joy to our lives. A scale can add structure to your day, keep you active and social, help you solve life’s problems and issues, and also give you a sense of meaning or purpose. Therefore, when a beloved pet dies, it is normal to feel grief and loss.
The pain of loss often feels overwhelming and stirs up all kinds of painful and difficult emotions. Although some people may not understand how much you feel for your pet, you should not feel guilty or ashamed of your pet’s grief.
Although we all respond to loss differently, the level of grief you experience is often dependent on factors such as your age and personality, the age of your pet and the circumstances of their death. In general, the more important your pet is to you, the more emotional pain you will feel.
The role that pets have played in your life can also have an impact. For example, if your pet is a working dog, service animal, or therapy animal, you will not only be grieving the death of a friend, but also the loss of someone to work with, the loss of your independence, or the lack of emotional support. . If you live alone and only have a pet as a companion, coping with their loss can be even more difficult. And if you can’t afford expensive medical treatment to prolong your pet’s life, you may also feel a deep sense of guilt.
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Although loss is an inevitable part of owning a pet, there are healthy ways to deal with the pain, deal with your grief, and in time, perhaps open your heart to another.
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Grief is a very personal experience. Some people find that grieving after the loss of a pet goes through several stages, where they experience different emotions such as denial, anger, guilt, depression, and finally acceptance and healing. Others find that their depression is more cyclical, coming in waves, or a series of highs and lows. The furrows are deep and long at first and then gradually become shorter and shallower. However, even years after a death, a special sight, health or anniversary can trigger memories that cause a strong feeling of sadness.
The grieving process happens slowly. It should not be forced or rushed – and there is no “normal” time. Some people get better within weeks or months. For others, the grieving process is measured over years. Whatever you’ve been through, it’s important to be patient with yourself and let the process unfold naturally.
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Feeling sad, shocked or lonely is a normal response to losing a beloved pet. Expressing these feelings does not mean that you are weak or that your feelings are wrong. It means that you are grieving the loss of a loved one, so you should not be ashamed.
Trying to ignore your pain or suppress it will only hurt you in the long run. To truly heal, you must face your grief and actively deal with it. By expressing your grief, you may take less time to heal than suppressing or “fighting” your feelings. Write about your feelings and talk about them with others who care about your loss.
Grief and grief are natural and normal responses to death. Like grief for our friends and loved ones, grief for our animal companions can be resolved with time, but there are healthy ways to deal with the pain. Here are some tips:
Don’t let anyone tell you what to feel, and don’t let anyone tell you how to feel. Your anxiety is yours, and no one else can tell you when to “move on” or “get over it.” Allow yourself to feel what you feel without shame or judgement. Anger, crying, crying is bad. It’s also good to do, find moments of happiness, and let go when you’re ready.
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