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Animal Grief: The Loss of a Friend

2 Minute Read
Dr. Karie Anne Johnson Mobile Vet for VIP Vet Visit
By Dr. Karie Johnson  |  Healthcare  |  Dec 2019

Animal Grief: The Loss of a Friend

2 Minute Read
Dr. Karie Anne Johnson Mobile Vet for VIP Vet Visit
By Dr. Karie Johnson  |  Healthcare  |  Dec 2019
Dr. Karie Anne Johnson Mobile Vet for VIP Vet Visit

By Dr. Karie Johnson  |  Dec 2019

WHAT DOES ANIMAL GRIEF LOOK LIKE?

Surviving pets experience grief when they lose a friend and family member. They may stop eating, eat less, vocalize more, change sleeping locations or patterns, or become more clingy to their owners.

Behavior changes like these are normal for the first 2 weeks after the loss of a companion. Give them time. Some pets may even need up to 6 months to heal from the loss. This is especially noticeable in cats. My aunt’s cat, Sirius became extremely attached to an old balloon after his best friend passed away. Let them grieve in their own ways. You may not understand the reason behind why they are doing something. We still haven’t figured out why Sirius became so attached to the balloon, but it seemed to help him cope with the loss of his friend and that is what matters most.

Although it is normal for them to grieve, please seek veterinary advice and assistance if your pet’s grief lasts longer than 1 month as with stress and grief, illness may arrive or become uncovered.

IDEAS TO HELP THEM GRIEVE

  • Have your surviving pet wear the collar of your deceased pet. The smell may bring them comfort.
  • Have them wear an Adaptil collar to decrease stress during this difficult time.
  • Encourage playtime with toys they used to share or the deceased pet’s toys.
  • Keep a bed or blanket commonly used by the deceased pet out and unwashed for them to smell.
Dr. Karie Anne Johnson Mobile Vet for VIP Vet Visit

Author: Dr. Karie Johnson, Co-Founder of VIP Vet Visit

Dr Karie is a companion animal & equine veterinarian in the Chicagoland area. Her desire to strengthen the human-animal bond while providing enhanced preventative care led her to start VIP Vet Visit – an at-home veterinary care option that provides less stress, more convenience and better care. 

WHAT DOES ANIMAL GRIEF LOOK LIKE?

Surviving pets experience grief when they lose a friend and family member. They may stop eating, eat less, vocalize more, change sleeping locations or patterns, or become more clingy to their owners.

Behavior changes like these are normal for the first 2 weeks after the loss of a companion. Give them time. Some pets may even need up to 6 months to heal from the loss. This is especially noticeable in cats. My aunt’s cat, Sirius became extremely attached to an old balloon after his best friend passed away. Let them grieve in their own ways. You may not understand the reason behind why they are doing something. We still haven’t figured out why Sirius became so attached to the balloon, but it seemed to help him cope with the loss of his friend and that is what matters most.

Although it is normal for them to grieve, please seek veterinary advice and assistance if your pet’s grief lasts longer than 1 month as with stress and grief, illness may arrive or become uncovered.

IDEAS TO HELP THEM GRIEVE

  • Have your surviving pet wear the collar of your deceased pet. The smell may bring them comfort.
  • Have them wear an Adaptil collar to decrease stress during this difficult time.
  • Encourage playtime with toys they used to share or the deceased pet’s toys.
  • Keep a bed or blanket commonly used by the deceased pet out and unwashed for them to smell.
Dr. Karie Anne Johnson Mobile Vet for VIP Vet Visit

Author: Dr. Karie Johnson, Co-Founder of VIP Vet Visit

Dr Karie is a companion animal & equine veterinarian in the Chicagoland area. Her desire to strengthen the human-animal bond while providing enhanced preventative care led her to start VIP Vet Visit – an at-home veterinary care option that provides less stress, more convenience and better care. 

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