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Do animals grieve the loss of another pet in the household?

Following the death of a fellow pet, other animals in the household may exhibit changes in their behaviour. These changes may vary between individuals. Some animals may appear to be anxious and stressed. They may start to show signs of separation anxiety with regard to the owner or the pet that is no longer present. Separation anxiety may be expressed in various forms and can include pacing, panting, vocalizing, restlessness and searching actively for the deceased pet. The surviving pets may also have a decreased appetite; decreased motivation to play or engage in their normal activities or disruptions to their sleeping patterns.

Some medical conditions can also lead to similar behavioural changes, so we highly recommend that you make an appointment with your vet for a check-up if you notice any changes in your animal’s behaviour, eating, toileting behaviour and/or any other abnormalities. It is important to rule out any medical causes of abnormal behaviour before assuming it is related to the loss of a fellow pet.

Updated on May 1, 2019
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