There’s this one video that has been circulating the internet for years: it’s a video of a Siberian Husky laying at it’s owner’s gravesite crying, whimpering, and shaking. And yes, if you’ve seen it, you’ve cried too (if you say you haven’t then you’re lying). But have you ever wondered if dogs can mourn other dogs? The answer is yes, of course they do! Canine buddies are tight, so when one is without the other…life is ruff! ((If you haven’t watched the video, you can find it below.)
Certainly, when we lose our furry friends, we mourn them…but think about all of the older people who have dogs and then pass on…sometimes, those people have little-to-no family members left and their companions are without a friend.
Sometimes, it’s the opposite. Maybe you’ve got more than one dog in your household and those two dogs spend every waking moment of everyday together. Imagine what it’s like for them when all of a sudden one of them is gone and without the other…some people (not me) may think that dogs don’t know, but trust me…they’re much smarter than we think and already know that they are!
Dogs CAN mourn their canine friends…how do they react!? What do they do?!
Recently a study was done at a journal by the name of Scientific Reports. They studied 426 Italian adults who had more than one dog, and the fact that at least one of the dogs died while the other(s) lived on.
How do dogs change when they loose one of their canine buddies?
When this happens, a lot of things can actually change for our sweet and adorable little (and big) pups. According to Scientific Reports, here’s what they had to say all about those dreadful changes:
"“…changed both in terms of activities (‘playing’, ‘sleeping’, and ‘eating’) and emotions (fearfulness), which occurred as a function of the quality of the relationship between the two animals.”"
How does a dog grieve or mourn their furry companions?
A couple of things happen here…sometimes the dog will be grieving and sad, based off of their owner’s emotional state (dogs are smart and totally pick up on those sorts of things). On the other hand, dogs can have their own emotions on this sort of subject as well. According to Scientific Reports, here’s what they had to say about this heartbreaking piece of informational news:
"“…a dog may show grief-related behavioral and emotional patterns when a close conspecific dies, with aspects of the latter possibly related to the owner’s emotional status.”"
In addition, sometimes dogs will also start to exhibit some negative behavioral patterns as well, as illustrated by the study done by the Scientific Reports as well…here’s what they had to say:
"“…several negative behavioral changes…dogs sought more attention, played less, had a lower level of activity, and slept more…also had decreased appetites and increased vocalization.”"
Almost all of the participants in this study indicated (in fact 92% of them to be completely and totally exact here) stated that the two dogs ‘participating’ within this sort of particular study lived together or were in each other’s lives for at least a full (calendar) year. Cross-referencing and no bias were used in the action(s) of this study to make sure that the owners weren’t describing their own emotions in the mix of it all over here.
Why is knowing this sort of thing helpful, from owners to our sweet dogs?
Recognizing stuff like this can not only help our pups, but it can also help us to understand them just a little bit better.
In fact, someone that goes by the name of Federica Pirrone, someone who teaches and lectures veterinary ethology and animal welfare over at the University of Milan, who also just so happens to be a senior author in this particular study done by Scientific Reports, stated the following about it all as a whole too:
"“The understanding of behavioral patterns after loss in non-human animals can be helpful in recognizing these animals’ emotional needs…results…domestic dogs may react negatively when a companion conspeficit dies…recognizing…underlying emotions allows us to identify the most effective strategies to support them and their owner in coping with these difficult circumstances.”~ Federica Pirrone, University of Milan, Scientific Reports Senior Author"
All in all, yes this is hard…for both humans and pups. Has this super unfortunately ever happened to you? Tell us how your other pup(s) reacted and let’s chat…together. And of course, as always…Woof, Woof!