Do pets grieve?
This is a good question, and is currently under research. Although we don’t really know for sure, we do know that pets have emotions and can form strong attachments to people, toys and certainly to other animals. So, it is reasonable to think that if they had a strong attachment to their companion, they would miss them. Just like people, there is not a one-fits-all solution.
If you think your pet is grieving, try to maintain his or her habits, and abstain from new ones unless you are okay with it being a lifelong change (i.e. letting them into bed for comfort). Likewise with people, the pet is grieving the loss of that specific relationship, so make careful consideration when adopting a new pet. If you think your pet is missing companionship, set up some play dates with friends’ dogs first to see how they react and interact.
When do I get a new pet? Do I get a new pet?
Again, there is no set rule. Some decide to get a new pet right away, some never get another pet. If you believe that getting a new pet will help with the loss, take a second to reflect on why you are considering a new pet. For some, it may help, but for others it may not provide the desired comfort.
When deciding whether its time to get a new pet, ask yourself if you are ready to open up to love another animal. Can you love that animal and care for its unique personality and needs? Or are you looking to re-establish your former pet’s routines? The loss of routines, companionship, touch, and sounds can all be cause for grief.
Recognize that the grief over these losses is normal and often makes grief come in waves. Remember that each pet is unique in needs and personality, and that getting a new pet is the right step to take if you are ready.