Can My Dog Become Depressed When Another Dog Dies in the Family?

by Ella Miller
Mourning the loss of a fellow companion, your dog may become lethargic and unlike his usual self.

Mourning the loss of a fellow companion, your dog may become lethargic and unlike his usual self.

Janie Airey/Lifesize/Getty Images

As highly social animals, dogs form bonds with the animals and humans they spend their lives with. When another animal member of a dog's household family passes away, your buddy may experience mourning and depression due to the loss.

Recognizing Depression in Your Dog

Since dogs cannot speak to us, it's up to us to be in tune with them. This will assist in noticing any changes that your dog may be going through. If your dog is depressed, he may lose the sparkle in his eye and his eagerness to play. He may lounge around the house, disinterested in almost everything including food.

Losing a Fellow Animal Companion

Like people, dogs deal with grief in different ways and may react differently to the loss of a furry family member. Your dog may wait patiently at the door, thinking his buddy will be coming in from a walk soon. He may wander around the house looking for his friend. The first week to two weeks will be an adjustment period for your dog, as he learns to adapt to life without his former companion. Barbara King, professor of anthropology at the College of William and Mary, tells U.S. News & World Report that a dog who is looking around the house for his fellow friend is displaying a clear sign of missing his friend. She states that dogs do, indeed, experience real and painful grieving.

Photo Credits

  • Janie Airey/Lifesize/Getty Images

About the Author

Ella Miller has been writing for health, beauty and animal health/welfare publications for more than six years. She has firsthand experience volunteering with animal rescue nonprofit organizations. Miller studies journalism with a minor in animal science at Middle Tennessee State University. She is also a licensed cosmetologist.

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