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Dog Facts

Do dogs mourn?

Dog mournBehavioral scientists often debate the question as to whether dogs actually feel grief when a loved one dies. Those that doubt it suggest that grief requires some concept of the nature and implications of death. This is beyond the mental ability of human children before the age of four or five years, and since evidence suggests that mentally and emotionally dogs are equivalent to humans aged two to three years of age this would imply that dogs do not yet have the capacity to understand that concept as well.
To get an idea as to what may be going on in a dog’s head when a loved one dies we can look at what goes on in the mind of a child in the two to five year age range. These children do not understand that death is irreversible. It is common for a young child to be told something like “Aunt Sofia has died and won’t be coming back,” only to have the child ask a few hours later “When will we get to see Aunt Sofia again?” Children do not comprehend that the life functions of their loved one have been terminated and this is reflected in their questions as they try to understand the situation. In the absence of an understanding of death there can be pain and sorrow and depression, but the behavioral scientists suggest that this is different from the more adult feelings of grief.

These were scientists, but…

Man’s best friend has the ability to form deep bonds with the ones they share their lives with. A dog owner is truly the center of his universe. Dogs can experience mourning and may show signs of depression, loss of appetite and listlessness.
When a dog is in mourning, he may not be interested in his beloved treats and his appetite could be low. In fact, he may lose interest in basic needs, such as drinking water. This should be monitored because he could become dehydrated and need veterinary care.
A dog in mourning may act depressed with a blatant loss of interest in activities he used to love, such as playing fetch. Without his owner there to do these favorite activities with, he may feel uninterested. Where he was once alert and responsive to other people and pets in the household, a dog in mourning may be slow to respond to others. He may even let out a sad bark or howl every once in a while.
It’s important to help a furry friend. Maintaining their regular schedule is important for their overall health. Being fed at the same time they were always fed and going on walks at the same time of the day will help them to feel more secure even though they have lost the person who usually did these things for them.

So we can say that dogs mourn.