How to Help Surviving Pets Navigate Through Grief
Are you wondering how to help surviving pets navigate through the challenging process of pet grief? In this post, we’ll explore the topic of “surviving pets’ grief” and share insights on supporting pets through the grieving process. The sudden loss of a pet can be shattering, not just for us but also for our other furry companions. Let’s delve into the world of pet grief and learn how to assist our surviving pets in coping with their loss.
Are you wondering how to help surviving pets navigate through the challenging process of pet grief? In this post, we’ll explore “surviving pets’ grief” and share insights on supporting them through the grieving process. The sudden loss of a pet can be shattering, not only for us but also for our other furry companions. Let’s delve into pet grief and learn how to assist our surviving pets in coping with their loss.
The Sudden Loss: Coping with Unexpected Farewells
The only indication that something was wrong was a sudden onset of nausea and lethargy. Our once lively Ginger was gone just two days after the vet’s terminal cancer diagnosis. To say it took us by surprise would be an understatement; there was no time to prepare or say goodbye. Our grieving process began once we knew the prognosis was not good. However, Chloe’s grieving process only started when she realized her dear best friend wouldn’t return.
Understanding Pet Grief: A Normal Process for All
I’ve experienced the passing of many pets, both as family members and as clients’ pets who became like family. With most things, practice makes things easier, but dealing with the loss of our darlings never gets any less difficult. Grieving is a normal process for all social animals. Dogs, cats, elephants, dolphins, and humans have all been observed experiencing grief.
Helping Your Pet Cope: Signs and Strategies
Recognizing the Signs of Surviving Pets Grief
It’s unknown how pets come to terms with a loss, but common signs of a surviving pet’s grief include loss of appetite, searching throughout the house, having accidents, sitting in unusual places, or becoming destructive. It’s important to note these changes and establish a new routine to encourage positive coping behaviors.
Establishing a New Routine: Providing Structure and Comfort
You’ll notice habits and rituals shifting because a family member is no longer present. You may feel an empty space during your normal routine. Tasks like filling their bowl or grabbing their leash might catch you off guard. Your surviving pets may have similar habits that seem strange when unfulfilled, and their hierarchy in the home may shift.
Engaging Your Pet: A Game of “Find it!”
In the first few days, Chloe, who usually loves her mid-day walk, didn’t seem interested in leaving the house. Instead of walking, I engaged her in a game of “Find it!” I’d toss a treat down the sidewalk and tell her to “FIND IT!” in an exciting voice.
The game’s purpose was to get her moving and use our regular walk time to distract her from worrying about Ginger. Each day, the game took us further from the house until she genuinely enjoyed walking and exploring. The key was to be with her and move at her pace, without giving up.
Seeking Help and Support
If you’re struggling with pet loss, asking for help is a good idea. Counselors and professionals can guide you during this difficult time. You can find a counselor or join a support group here. I’m also here to lend an ear! You can message me anytime.