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Bentley's Corner: Pet Grieving

How our pets grieve.

Here on Bentley’s Corner Tim is diving into the mind of your pets with an animal behavior specialist to help us think like our four legged friends in order to resolve ongoing issues. 

For this segment, we learn how our pets grieve.

We met with Sydney Warner, an ABCDT.

“ABCDT which is Animal Behavior College Dog Trainer and diploma CDST Canine Behavior Science Institute, yeah, a lot of words there,” Warner said.

She’s here to help us understand our animals and their behaviors.

If you’re a family of multiple animals then I don’t need to tell you the bond that your animals share, not only with you but with their fellow four-legged brothers and sisters. Loss and grieving is not only something that us humans deal with but also our pets are greatly affected as well.

How do we soothe our grieving animals when we ourselves are also grieving?

“A lot of times it comes down to those subtle behaviors. Some of our pets will show subtle signs of grieving, some of them we might not see any signs, some of them I have seen some dogs and even cats that there are some significant behavior changes at the loss of another household member.” Warner tells us.

Warner said you will even see some changes in animals that may not have even had the best relationship.

“That loss, that empty space of that animal no longer being there plays a huge impact in their environment and in their lives,” said Warner.

Our animals need the same things humans do when they are grieving, comfort, support and understanding.

“We don’t intend to lash out, but you know if your grieving pet is behaving differently or gets into something it is very common or not unusual for the owner to kind of say 'hey stop it, what are you doing' and lash out, but they need just as much comfort as we do,” Warner said.

Our animals are creatures of habit and routine. Warner said, if possible, try and limit any changes.

“Try hard not to make huge routine changes, try to make things go about as they normally would and if your pet is noticeably grieving that is a normal process and all we can do is try to make that easier by more comfort, spend more time with them and engage them in different things,” explained Warner.

Loss is, unfortunately, a part of life and it may be even more heartbreaking to see your other fur baby hurting from the loss like you are, but know it is a process and time will help heal both the owners and the other animals.

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