Feb 01 2018

Pets Grieving the Loss the Other Pets

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When a family pet dies, it can be overwhelming for members of the family – including the other pets in the home. Yes, pets can in fact grieve the loss of other pets.

You may not notice the behavioral changes that your pet exhibits while you are grieving the loss of your pet. Some pets may not react while others may develop signs of depression.

Some signs to watch for include:

  • change in eating habits
  • loss of interest in family members
  • increase in attention requirements
  • change in sleep patterns
  • change in vocalization
  • crying while looking for the lost pet

There are steps you can take to help your pet through this time of grief.

Maintain your regular routine. Try to keep daily activities on schedule including walks, mealtimes, playtimes, grooming, and other daily activities that you normally do with your pet.

Keep your pet’s diet the same. Though your pet may lose his appetite, don’t be tempted to change the food. Offer the same food your pet is used to. Making a change to the diet could increase problems for your pet by causing gastrointestinal upset. If your pet does not begin eating after a few days, make an appointment to see your veterinarian.
**If your cat does not eat for 2 days, seek help. Cats that are not eating can develop a potentially fatal condition called hepatic lipidosis.

Provide more attention. Provide your pet with more exercise and stimulation. If your pets played together, your remaining pet may become bored and may be experiencing anxiety with the loss of his playmate. Providing more exercise or stimulation may help your pet deal with this boredom. Play a game of fetch with your dog, go for a walk, or try a few short training exercises. Play “pounce” games with your cat or pull out her favorite catnip toy.

Avoid rewarding your pet’s depression. This is tricky. While you may want to comfort your pet, avoid comforting him while he is displaying unwanted behavior, otherwise you may inadvertently reinforce this negative behavior. Instead, distract your pet with positive activities as described above.

Don’t jump into getting another pet. While the temptation exists to get another pet immediately, take some time to consider if that is the right choice for your family and your remaining pet(s). Your remaining pet(s) might not readily accept a new dog or cat in the home. Try dog “playdates” in your home first and see how your dog reacts. Keep in mind that adding a new pet is stressful for cats at the best of times, so adding a new cat or dog during an already stressful time is not wise.

Be sensitive. Pets pick up on our emotions. Encourage family members to be sensitive to the pets in your home when grieving. By all means, seek comfort with your pet by cuddling and petting him, but try to avoid emotional displays in your pet’s presence to avoid distressing him further.

Time. It is true that time heals all wounds. Give everyone in your family, including your pets, time to grieve. Your pet may grieve for days or months, but eventually your pet will return to his typical behaviors.

If at any time you feel your pet is really suffering and you are concerned, seek advice from your veterinarian.

LifeLearn News

Note: This article, written by LifeLearn Animal Health (LifeLearn Inc.) is licensed to this practice for the personal use of our clients. Any copying, printing or further distribution is prohibited without the express written permission of Lifelearn. Please note that the news information presented here is NOT a substitute for a proper consultation and/or clinical examination of your pet by a veterinarian.

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Companion Therapy Laser

Harbour Veterinary Office is very concerned about pain management in pets. Because of this concern we have added the latest technology for the treatment of joint and soft tissue pain, the Companion Therapy Laser. This Laser introduces heat and light to the deepest tissues, which then reduces pain and swelling. This encourages the animal's own healing processes. The Laser is used routinely following every surgery, as well as for countless other applications. Virtually any painful condition can be made less painful with this therapy. Treatments last only minutes per site and require no anesthesia. Your pet will be very comfortable as this laser produces only slight warmth in the inflamed tissue. Laser Therapy for chronic conditions -ie.. arthritis - usually require 6 treatments to get your pet to a much more tolerable state. Booster treatments are then required every 4 to 12 weeks to maintain the reduced pain. If your pet is currently on a medication to reduce swelling and/or pain, this treatment may reduce or eliminate the need for oral medications. Please ask for more information from anyone on our staff, or go to the The Companion Therapy Laser website, in the Links section of our website.

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Monday8:00am – 6:00pm
Tuesday8:00am – 7:00pm
Wednesday8:00am – 6:00pm
Thursday8:00am – 7:00pm
Friday8:00am – 6:00pm
Saturday8:00am – 12:00pm

Emergency Process
For after-hours emergency information, please call 935-9111 this is the number for the emergency clinic in Northern Suffolk called The Cove. Or please call 366 - 9000. This is the number for the emergency clinic located adjacent to Greenbrier Mall.