Losing a pet is a difficult situation for everyone, including the other dogs in the household. You may not realize it, but dogs do grieve the loss of a doggy companion. And just like people, dogs can react differently to loss—some dogs may act completely normal, while others get depressed. Some dogs may even develop health or behavior issues.
Also, many things can affect how long the grieving process lasts, including the age and health of the dog, the relationship with the other dog, and the grieving process of the humans in the household.
How can you help?
No matter how your dog reacts to the loss of another dog, he or she is probably feeling some kind of stress over the changes in the household. Your dog may also feel bored due to the loss of a companion and playmate.
One of the best ways you can help your dog adjust to the loss (and also help you cope with your own grief) is to stick as carefully as possible to your normal routine and schedule and provide your dog with more exercise and mental stimulation (feeding and walking at the same time, providing new interesting toys, having more cuddle time, etc.).
NOTE: If you notice that your dog isn’t eating or is very lethargic, it’s important to consult with your vet. Not only can a vet help diagnose and treat an illness that your dog might be experiencing, they can also prescribe a medication to help with your pup’s grief.
It may take weeks, or even months for dogs to emerge from grief. Just hang in there and honor the process by allowing him or her to make sense of it all in his or her own time with your help.
Should you get another dog right away?
Before getting another dog, first ask yourself whether you are ready for another dog. It’s also important to make sure your dog will accept another dog (you may want to consider letting your dog select your new dog by allowing the dogs to meet first before making a decision).