Both humans and animals can grieve

Animal-human bond is strong 

It is normal for us to grieve the loss of an animal friend, researchers have long known that the animal-human bond is strong. One of the loneliest types of grief can be a person mourning their pet. Their death can carry a heavy emotional burden and be devastating. People feel so isolated at the loss of an animal.

People can feel the impact of the loss, through loneliness and they may feel that they have lost their best friend and feel very sad and lonely. Feelings of belief and even denial can be common.

How animal-friends cope with loss

Just like humans, our animal friends can show signs of grief. It can be heart-breaking for people, but it can also be a challenging time for other animals in the family as each one os unique and they deal with grief in a different way.

They usually show their sense of loss with behaviour changes like loss of appetite and looking for them and even start crying.

They may need extra attention as they too can experience feelings of sadness. Every animal is different and unique, choosing to bring in another companion animal into their life may be the wrong choice or time. Consider their needs, like with dogs they like to live in family groups so introducing another canine can help.

It is important to give your animal extra one-on-one time, this can help.

Be aware of how you are around them, try to be positive so they can pick up on your emotions. Music can help, especially the harp as this can give a soothing effect.

With our feline-friends, they may not want another you to bring another cat into their family because they need time to adapt to their lives without their friend.

Small animals like rabbits are sociable animals and can suffer immensely because of a death of a companion. Introduce animals to each other slowly and consider whether it is the best thing to do and the right time for your animal and family.

An idea is to keep their routine as similar as possible and keep things the same, this can help to avoid any disruption or upset.

Always keep a close eye on their health and wellbeing to ensure they are eating and drinking enough and going to the toilet regularly.

They need love and attention now more than ever, so give them lots of it and this should also help with bonding. Experiencing loss can be really difficult for us and them, show just how much you love them by taking good care of them.

Useful link

For pet bereavement help, the Blue Cross offers support


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