Did you just lose a loved one? If you did, chances are you are feeling sad, lonely, and have low energy. If you have a dog, he is most likely feeling the same way. If your dog has lost his appetite, doesn’t care about his favorite toys, refuses to eat his yummy treats, and spends a lot of time sleeping and looking sad, he is mourning the loss of his owner. Dogs have emotions and they are usually deeply saddened when an owner dies. An owner is a dog’s entire world when they lose that person, they feel lonely and lost. The following information will reveal the mystery behind a dog mourning his owner.
The Root of the Behavior
People have debated whether dogs have feelings or not. Some people have gone as far to say dogs don’t have souls. Any dog owner that is truly connected with their dog knows for sure dogs have a soul, personality, and feelings. Dogs are able to communicate their emotions through body language and verbal cues. An excellent example is when a dog wants his favorite treat. He goes to where his treats are stored, points his nose towards it, and makes small short cries until the owner gives him one. When the owner refuses to give him a treat, he increases his behavior or shows his disappointment with emotion in his eyes and facial features. Any pet parent that has experienced this knows a dog can’t do this without a soul or feelings.
Pet parents who experience a difficult situation in life that make them feel stress, anxiety, sadness, or depression, often report their dog consoled them and helped them emotionally get through the situation. If you have ever been sitting on the sofa crying about something that hurt your feelings, chances are your dog sat next to you and placed his head on your leg to comfort you during your time of need. Dogs are incredible because of their amazing ability to feel and express emotions. Some would argue this is one of the main reasons people adore dogs. It’s natural for dogs to have emotions, just like it is for humans. As humans, we feel a wide variety of emotions every day. Just think of how many emotions you have felt reading this article so far. Your dog feels emotions that are sparked by his life, environment, and owner. He spends his days eating, drinking, playing, and waiting for his owner to get home. When that stops, a dog doesn’t know what to do.
Encouraging the Behavior
You don't want to encourage this sad behavior in your dog. Pet parents that are dealing with a dog that is mourning his owner is most likely feeling the same way as their dog. If your dog lost a loved one, chances are you did too. A dog depends on his owner for everything in his life. This means he eats, drinks, plays, walks, goes outdoors, receives veterinarian care, and is comforted by his owner. When that person goes away, he feels lonely because he is missing his friend and leader but also sad because he doesn’t know what to do without his owner guiding him on what’s next.
Dogs thrive on schedules. They usually eat, drink, go to the bathroom, and play at the same times every day. This schedule is interrupted when the owner dies. As a remaining owner who is still alive, you need to help your dog feel better and adhere to his usual schedule. Providing your dog with a set schedule and routine will help him know there is still structure in his life, even though he might not want to eat or drink due to his sadness. If your dog refuses to eat, drink, play, or go for walks for longer than a few days, you need to visit a veterinarian to make sure he hasn’t become dehydrated or malnutrition.
Other Solutions and Considerations
Dogs often mimic their owner's emotions. They have a deep sense of how their owner feels. This is what makes dogs so special and what encourages them to comfort you when you need it. Have you ever noticed your dog feels happy, sad, depressed, or excited at the same time you do? It’s because they are mimicking your emotions. It’s like they reflect your own emotions similar to looking in a mirror. If your dog is depressed and doesn’t have the energy to eat, drink, or feel like playing, chances are you don’t either. You can help your dog, by improving your own mood. After losing a loved one, it’s not easy to snap out of your emotions, but you can force yourself to continue with your daily routine.
Gradually getting back to your regular daily routine will help you and your dog get through this difficult time in your lives together. Your dog might have lost his master, but he has you to become his new leader. Your dog is also helping you push through and feel better by literally walking around as your mirror. If you see your dog looking sad and depressed, look in the mirror, chances are you are expressing the same sadness. Dogs are special and you have a responsibility to make his life better, and in return, he is giving you the same gift.
By a Cocker Spaniel lover Shellie Sutera
Published: 03/23/2018, edited: 01/30/2020