Does the Death of Another Pet Affect Dogs?

Does the Death of Another Pet Affect Dogs?

Last update: 13 May, 2018

Dogs are routine animals, that’s why any drastic and sudden change, like death, can greatly affect them. Some dogs will be more sensitive than others, but no matter what, you should know how to indicate the symptoms of depression.

The topic about dogs having feelings has always been debatable among animal lovers and non-animal lovers. For that reason, many people have wondered if dogs are affected by death of another pet or family member.

Does death affect dogs?

You can’t really go back and forth on this topic. There have been dogs who would wait for their owners for years and others that became depressed when a pet passed away.

This happens because dogs are routine animals. They need to live in a community, and they don’t usually adapt to change well. An unexpected change can decrease their confidence and quality of life.

This doesn’t mean all dogs have the same attitude towards death, but generally speaking this is what happens. Below are the symptoms you should pay attention to,  if your dog was affected by the death of another pet:

  • Lack of appetite
  • Doesn’t want to go outside
  • Prefers not to play
  • Spends all day sleeping
  • Ignores you when you call him
  • His toys don’t excite him
  • Constantly looking for “something” around the house
  • Cries with no reason
Depressed beagle

If your dog has any of these symptoms, there is no doubt that the death of another pet or family member, has affected him more than you think. These symptoms may cause depression, so you must do something about it before it gets worse.  

How to help a dog that is mourning a death

Before taking your dog to the veterinarian, there are a few things you can do to ease his pain at home.

Let him see the body

Studies have shown that seeing the other pet’s dead body can help the dog get over the death. Do you remember Hachiko? He spent years waiting for his master because he didn’t know what happened to him. He was hoping for his master to one day come back home. Letting him see the body will help him get over it.

Give him time

Both you and your dog react to hardships in different ways. Although it’s obvious you don’t like seeing him sad, don’t overwhelm him by giving him affection or playing with him. Let him take in everything that happened; when he is ready, he will let you know.

Leave his food close by

Taking away your dog’s food after eating has always been advised.  However, this case is an exception; leave his food dish close by. It’s possible he won’t have an appetite, but sooner or later he might feel better and want to eat.  Having his food nearby will make things easier.

Loss of Apetite

Follow his routine

Following the same daily routine of going on walks, playing games, and exercising will help him continue having a normal life and forget what happened. Even if he doesn’t want to go out, he will have to anyway. If it’s necessary, you can carry him in your arms. Little by little, it will get easier to get him out of the house.

Be careful if you get another pet

Perhaps you want to get a new pet, for both you and your dog. However, be careful! The both of you must be prepared for it. If your dog had a very close bond with the previous pet, and not enough time has passed, it’s possible he could feel threatened or think the new pet is going to replace him. 

If your dog’s spirits don’t improve with these tips, he might be one of those dogs that’s greatly affected by death. In such cases, it’s better to seek medical and psychological help.


The contents of My Animals are written for informational purposes. They can't replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment from a professional. In the case of any doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.