Do you think that dogs experience grief? Yes, dogs can mourn the loss of a companion, human or canine.
In my experience, the level of grief is individual and depends on the depth of the bond. Some dogs are more independent, while others form deep relationships with their housemates or canine friends. Three times our dogs experienced the loss of their housemate, and it affected them differently. The one who was lost the most was JD.
As you’d suspect, the outward signs of grief in dogs often manifest by behavior changes. However, some dogs react to loss physically, which can include:
Further information: Understanding Dogs and How They Experience Grief
- loss of appetite
- and even illness.
Kaypo was an 8-years-old Labrador mix. She grew up with her mother, and they were never separated. They did everything together, and Kaypo’s mother doted on her. They were a happy pair loving each other’s company.
As Kaypo’s mother kept getting older, she suffered from arthritis and eventually could not get up. Finally, their human parents decided to set Kaypo’s mom free of her hardship.
They did everything they knew to do to help Kaypo to understand and adjust to the situation. She was able to watch her mother pass and sniff her to accept that she was gone.
At first, Kaypo seemed to have accepted the situation. However, with passing days, Kaypo started missing her mate dearly. She seemed depressed, aimless, and lost the joy in life. Quiet and listless, Kaypo’s ears only pricked up when she heard somebody say her mom’s name as she was expecting her to walk in.
Yet, nobody truly understood the depth of Kaypo’s distress until it dramatically manifested in her appearance. Kaypo’s face turned grey-white in a matter of a few weeks. That’s how much stress Kaypo was really under.
It took almost a year before Kaypo returned to being an active, playful dog. Yet, she still sometimes gets sad.
Kaypo, the 8-Year-Old Cross-Bred Labrador