Helping my dog through grief

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Helping my dog through grief

This is a discussion on Helping my dog through grief within the Dog Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Hi everyone, I posted a few days ago that my 10 year old Harley passed away. He left behind me and my husband, and also ...

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Old 10-30-2016, 09:06 AM
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Helping my dog through grief

Hi everyone,

I posted a few days ago that my 10 year old Harley passed away. He left behind me and my husband, and also our 5 year old Major (mini doxie). Major has only know life with Harley. He's never been alone, or without his brother. Now that Harley isn't here, Major doesn't want to chew his toys and his appetite is sparse.

My question is how do I help him mourn? I can handle my grief, but seeing him so sad is heartbreaking. I know he misses Harley. I just want to help him grieve in a way that isn't harmful to him (not eating).

He has been looking for his brother everywhere. I don't know how to show him he isn't coming back.

Thanks
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Old 11-06-2016, 10:04 AM
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My condolences on your loss, and I hope that all of you find some solace in the great memories you've shared with Harley.

I've seen mixed feedback from the dog professional community as to whether or not dogs experience depression during the loss of a fellow pet. In my personal experience, they most absolutely do.

Much like we, dogs are highly empathetic and will mirror the moods of those he loves, and experience emotional pain at the loss of a loved on (pet or person).

Also much like people, this is when he'll need the most affirmations of love, and lots of touch. Take a little extra longer with the brush and groom him yourself instead of using a service provider. Give him a warm bath and gentle massage him with shampoo. Cuddle together for extended periods, and feel comfortable expressing your sadness around him.

Part of death and dying is the grieving process, and your dog is feeling the loss of his family. Major doesn't know what life is like without a partner in crime.

If you are open to welcoming another four legged friend in your home, that will definitely aid in recovery. If that is not a possibility, slowly replace some of the items Major likely associates with Harley (dog bed, Harley's favorite toys, etc).

It takes time, but Major will come around. Eating less than normal is okay, so long as he is eating. If he completely stops eating for a prolonged period, and you feel that his health is at risk, please consult your vet for options.

I wish you and your family all the best going through this, and I'm saddened by your loss.
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Old 11-06-2016, 11:56 AM
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I'm sorry for your loss. I think it will take time but trying to keep him busy and occupied will help. I also agree with considering another friend at some point. Of course you'll want to take your time and make sure they're compatible but he'll definitely benefit from having a four-legged friend.
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