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Thread: Can dogs sense when another in the house has passed away?

  1. #1

    Default Can dogs sense when another in the house has passed away?

    Have you seen fairly immediate changes in behaviour of one, after the passing of another?
    What sort of changes?
    Over what period of time?

  2. #2
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    I'm not sure if you're talking about a human in the household passing away, or another animal passing away... but both apply.

    Yes dogs know when someone has died... or they at least know that they're gone.

    Dogs can go into depression when these things happen. They might stop playing, stop eating, become lethargic. They will often actually look for their loved one too. Of course this doesn't apply to all dogs, but it is definitely something that happens to a lot of dogs. My friend had 2 dogs, when the older one was put down, the younger one went into terrible depression, she had no will to do anything... It was only getting a new puppy that helped her through it.

    Other animals can experience these things too. I have ferrets, and lost one of them a week ago. My other two (who normally never bite) have become very bitey with me, and they're sleeping a lot too. Last time I lost a ferret, It left one by herself, and she stopped playing all together, thank goodness she didn't stop eating, but I know of ferrets that have starved themselves after losing a ferret friend.

  3. #3
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    They absolutely can.
    Whenever we used to say our cats name, our dog would run around the house, find him and give him kisses.
    Two weeks ago, our cat was very sick so we took him to the vet and he passed away while he was there. I came home, sat on the couch and my dog was sitting there looking at me. When I said our cats name, rather than looking for him, she just put her head straight in my lap. It was so sad and so sweet at the same time - she definitely knew.

  4. #4

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    The 3 things that you have to remember about our pups are:

    1. They are the best readers of body language ever.
    2. Their sense of smell and their ability to differentiate between smells is awesome.
    3. Because of 2 – they know when there is something not right and/or different with something they smell.


    So, to answer your question simply – yes they do know !

    Just an example for you as far as their sense of smell is concerned. Riley has picked up pregnancies in 2 friends of ours. One knew and wasn’t saying just yet – but the other one didn’t know ! It is only 2 – but a 100% result nevertheless !

    As far as reactions are concerned it will depend on the pup involved and the pup’s relationship with whom/what has passed on.

    I have had to euthanize 2 pups and the surviving pups had totally different reactions. The first one started mourning as soon as she saw the vet arrive at our place. She knew what was going to happen.

    The second time it happened, the boy pup was calm, gave heaps of licks to the girl pup, acknowledged what had happened and didn’t appear to mourn. He did spend more time checking on me and looking after me. Maybe that was the way he handled it best.

    Are you prepared to give us more information as to what has happened for you to ask this question ?

  5. #5
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    Speaking of dogs comforting us humans. I can think of 3 occasions that I've been mourning in the last 2 years... first my ferret Minky, second my Grandmother, and third my ferret Fred. Each time, as soon as Koda saw me after the death first occurred, his whole demeanour changed from his usual enthusiastic bouncy self, to quiet, sensitive velcro dog. In these times, Koda will always sit next to me and just enjoy my company, rather than trying to do tricks or play a game.

    This quote comes to mind "One reason a dog can be such a comfort when you're feeling blue is that he doesn't try to find out why."

  6. #6
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    My dogs are all working breed dogs and they couldnt care less if another dies. In fact they would all rather be single dogs I think. Their main focus is generally on me and the less other dogs around the more of me they have to themselves.

    My cattle dogs in particular would be lost without me though. My border collie and kelpie would be happy as long as there were sheep to work and a warm bed.

    I have found that whippets are very sensitive to loss of dogs or people, they will cry and grieve. One of our whippets was so inconsolable after the loss of his female friend that he couldnt be left on his own untill we got another dog and then he was happy again. For years after my dad died the same whippet would run hopefully up to tall men that looked like dad from a distance.
    Last edited by Kalacreek; 03-25-2015 at 11:19 PM.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by RileyJ View Post
    Are you prepared to give us more information as to what has happened for you to ask this question ?
    Our boy was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor on the pituaritry gland by a specialist using CT scans on Thursday. The vet came around to our house on Friday to put him to sleep, in my arms. He was a pure Jack Russell 15 years 5 months, from a registered breeder with the JR Club at 10 weeks.

    Our girl is also pure JR, 15 years 3 months. She was in the bedroom with myself & my partner at the time of procedure. Before we buried him straight after, we put him on the floor to let her say goodbye.

    From Saturday, she has seemed generally 'disinterested'. The problem is the potential confound of her own health conditions. She has congestive heart disease/failure of the mitral valve (diagnosed in August) and is on the wonder drug, Vetmedin - she has now passed the average lifespan on this drug after diagnosis. She is also on a diuretic (Furasamide) to remove fluid build up, Nuelin for separate bronchial issues (prior to was the steroid Prednisole which can only be used short term) and I restarted her on Propalin syrup on Saturday (this is for urinary continence which is the side effect of a diuretic). The reason I 'restarted' Propalin was when she first went on it I freaked out when her resting breathing rate skyrocketed, but I now realise that was because it was Spring/Summer. Her breathing rate (which is a good indicator of heart condition) was around 11 -14 breaths per minute after going back on Propalin, which is absolutely excellent (start worrying when it hits 25, NOT the 30 that is generally advised by vets). Propalin is a foul tasting substance and she may have been quickly conditioned to associate it with the special food type she has been eating for many months (Cardiac by Royal Canin - low sodium), because when I gave her chicken without the Propalin she woofed it down, yet when I gave her a small ball of the Royal Canin with the Nuelin & Furasamide (no Propalin) embedded inside she sniffed at it.

    You might think I am being paranoid, but even when we went to the park yesterday, for the first time ever she didn't even want to start walking with me. Later on I carried her, again for the first time ever.
    I keep wondering whether the signs for my boy could have been picked up earlier; even regular blood & urine tests only indicated slightly elevated enzyme levels in the liver - he was effectively very healthy for his age. Hence, I am paying closer attention to my girl's behaviour.

    Thanks for all your replies so far. I have never had children and my boy was the closest thing to me I have ever lost, including lost grandparents & family friends.

  8. #8
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    Most critters can smell if you've put something toxic or bitter in their food like medicine.

    I had a horse who could filter worming powder to the bottom of his feed - eat all the chaff and pellets off the top and leave the worming powder alone. Even if I put lots of pollard (like flour) with it and locked him up with nothing else to eat - he treated that stuff like poison - rather starve than eat that.

    My dog can smell her old worm tablets (Canex) a mile off - so can I - they smell pretty bad, I guess if you wanted to keep a dog off the garden they'd be good - except they'd kill all the garden worms.

    So I would coat the canex in peanut butter and then put that wrap inside sardine which she would swallow whole.

    I've got her on antihistamines at the moment and she can filter the tablet out of the peanut - eat the peanut and spit out the tablet. Great. But she doesn't do that if I wrap ham (or sardine) around the peanut. Strangely - that doesn't get chewed either.

    So I wouldn't read anything other than your dog's nose is still working into her refusing the food with medicine.

    If she likes peanut paste (smooth is best) and sardines - try that...

  9. #9

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    Our boy was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor on the pituaritry gland by a specialist using CT scans on Thursday. The vet came around to our house on Friday to put him to sleep, in my arms. He was a pure Jack Russell 15 years 5 months, from a registered breeder with the JR Club at 10 weeks.

    Our girl is also pure JR, 15 years 3 months. She was in the bedroom with myself & my partner at the time of procedure. Before we buried him straight after, we put him on the floor to let her say goodbye.
    Very sad news about your boy and I now understand your initial query. I am also very pleased to read that your girl was able to say her good-byes. It can make things easier for the surviving pup.

    RIP ‘little man’ – run free and be forever pain free !

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    Hyacinth' has given you really good hints on camouflaging the smell of medicine. I also use peanut paste, sardines, sausage, cheese and honey.

    You might think I am being paranoid, but even when we went to the park yesterday, for the first time ever she didn't even want to start walking with me. Later on I carried her, again for the first time ever.
    You are not being paranoid – you are just being careful. Don’t stop taking her out and about. Even if you both sit down and take in the view – it is still an outing for you both.

    Some people in my area have 4 very old cocker spaniels – and these pups are taken out for a walk once a day in a pram ! The 4 of the pups love it !

    I keep wondering whether the signs for my boy could have been picked up earlier; even regular blood & urine tests only indicated slightly elevated enzyme levels in the liver - he was effectively very healthy for his age. Hence, I am paying closer attention to my girl's behaviour.
    One of the hardest things we have to accept is that our pups don’t last forever or long enough for us. I really doubt with this type of tumour - that it could have been picked up earlier.

    Please look after yourself and your pup, be kind to yourself and grieve at your own pace !

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by yoyoma View Post
    I keep wondering whether the signs for my boy could have been picked up earlier; even regular blood & urine tests only indicated slightly elevated enzyme levels in the liver - he was effectively very healthy for his age.
    Sadly in many cases no. I lost my old girl to cancer and I had no idea untill very shortly before she died. Her coat was glossy and shiny, she had a great appetite and I did notice her slowing down a bit and thought it was just age. I too wonder if I could have picked up the problem earlier. Numerous people have similar experiences. I think animals are also very good at hiding when they are not feeling that well. When a dog ages sometimes it is hard to separate age from something more sinister. It is not an easy one.

    Although I think disinterest and the fact that you had to carry your girl for the first time is something I would take seriously.

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