How Pet Loss Affects Other Pets

By: Lietz-Fraze Funeral Home
Monday, October 17, 2022

Your family will be devastated by the loss of a pet. But what about the non-human members of your family? It's common knowledge that animals feel grief and loss just like humans, so it stands to reason that burying a pet would also affect your other pets. If your family has recently experienced a death, and your dog or cat is grieving, read on to learn more from Lietz-Fraze Funeral Home experts on how you can help your fur babies deal with pet loss.

About Pet Loss

To what extent dogs and cats can understand the finality and significance of their pet's death is unknown, and any evidence to the contrary is anecdotal at best. When a dog or cat's human companion dies, the animal often notices and exhibits behaviors that show how much it misses that person.

Animals are highly attuned to the moods of their human caregivers. They could even experience sadness or depression due to a death in the family, so don't assume that just because your pets weren't particularly close, the surviving pet isn't affected by the loss of a companion. Dogs could find it incredibly challenging to adjust to a new family dynamic because of their innate need to be part of a pack.

Signs That Your Pet Is Grieving

Different dogs and cats deal with grief in their unique ways. There is no "proper" or "improper" manner for one's pet to grieve, just as there is no "correct" or "incorrect" way for people to grieve. If you're worried that your pet is experiencing pet loss, keep an eye out for these common warning signs:

  • Appetite swings
  • Displaying symptoms of isolation or depression
  • Animals (dogs and cats) that make distressing noises (whining, howling, or meowing)
  • Personality shifts, such as when your formerly reclusive cat becomes overly affectionate
  • Walks up and down the hallways, looking for the missing pet
  • Avoiding or disguising oneself from other relatives
  • Behavioral patterns modifications related to grooming or elimination, most commonly in cats
  • Cats, in particular, are prone to destructive behavior like scratching furniture and peeing just outside the litter box when left alone, which can be signs of separation anxiety.

If you believe your pet is experiencing grief over pet loss, it is crucial to watch for signs of distress and be there for them.

If you want to preplan a funeral, contact us at Lietz-Fraze Funeral Home. 

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