You may notice your other pets are not themselves. It is possible they too are grieving. The reason we love our animals so much is because they are individuals with unique personalities, who also feel happiness and sadness. If your pets were particularly social, slept together, played together then chances are the remaining pets are going to feel some sort of loss. Obvious signs of that they are distressed are; destruction when the animal is left alone, if the animal is young it may become very vocal; crying and whimpering, the remaining pet may soil in the house, refuse to eat or drink or go for walks, he may sleep excessively, become restless, and often they may not want to leave their owners sides. Your remaining animals may not show any signs at all of distress. Again, their feelings are individual so feelings can not be predicted.
So, what do you do if your animal is distressed?
It’s important to keep their routine as close to normal as possible, animals, particularly dogs need routine. The more the animal can predict his day the more settled he will feel. Don’t reinforce your pets distressed behaviour. Sometimes owners can accidentally do this. And short term problems can become long term problems.
If the animal refuses to eat it is best not to hand feed them as they can soon learn that this special treatment is better than eating out of their bowl. Try giving the animal extra attention when he’s doing something positive rather than sitting listless on his bed. Try to encourage games, walks and fun activities; this may help the owner as well.
Owners may also notice a change in the ‘pecking order’ with the remaining animals, especially if the animal that died was at the top of the pack. This is normal and to be expected however it is important to ensure scuffles don’t become serious. Too much interference from the owner may result in the hierarchy being unstable for longer periods of time. And not enough interference could result in injury. If you’re unsure seeking advice from a dog trainer or veterinarian is advisable.
Many people may wonder if getting a new animal for the remaining pet is helpful. The remaining animal is mourning the deceased animal and should be given time. If this is the sole purpose for getting another animal then as well intentioned as it may be it may backfire as the owner. And animal may not be emotionally ready for a new member of the family. Keeping in mind that a new member of the family deserves his own quality time where all people in that family can involve him, train him, and spend time introducing him to his new life.