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Thread: how to help a dog cope with death of another one?

  1. #1

    Default how to help a dog cope with death of another one?

    my older dog is probably going to have to be put down within a couple of months.
    can anyone tell me how i can help the younger one cope? she has never been an only dog and i dont think she will cope very well.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    This is a hard one.

    Sorry about you losing your older dog. Sometimes I think it would be nice if we didn't have to go through this, but there it is. What doesn't ... makes you stronger.

    So I don't know about dogs but maybe it would be the same for humans. Are you thinking about getting another dog? Maybe now would be a good time to start some research. If you rescue from a pound - you take your dog with you to meet the new dogs.

    I think - plenty of play dates with dogs the same age and playfulness as your younger dog. And lots of extra long walks so sleeping is more fun.

    When I first got my dog - I thought I'd be getting another one about now ish - but I suspect she likes having me all to herself given the way she treats strays I bring into the yard occasionally.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Perth, WA


    Hi Sheena, sorry about your older dog.

    We had to have our old 14 year old dog pts last year in June, it was a brain tumour and quite sudden. Our 9 year old dog had been diagnosed with a heart murmur but never showed symptons in 2 years. After Harley died Duke was beside himself, didn't know what to do, we'd let him sit between us on the couch as he'd always been beside Harley, or he would just wander around the house. They slept in the same bed, he followed Harley everywhere. Within 3 weeks he was on heart murmur medication and he died 12 weeks later of I think a broken heart.

    If he hadn't got sick, I was definitely going to get another dog for companionship for Duke. If you don't think your dog is going to cope, either plan loads of walks and play dates like Hyacinth suggests or look at another mate for company. You should know pretty quickly whether she's coping or not...

    I took Duke to the beach every day (even though it was winter) and he loved it, but he collapsed one day and then vet said his heart couldn't take much exercise, he literally moped around the house and died, it was the saddest thing to watch.

    We have one dog now and I think I'll keep it at one this time. Good luck

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2010


    So very sorry to hear your news.

    I don't hink I have any advice for you, but am sending you <<hugs>> for when that day comes.

  5. #5


    Thanks for your support guys.
    The older dog is actually my mothers but i look after her in every way (still live with my parents)
    My dog (Nikki) goes to dog obedience every week, and we have just started agility so she is around other dogs.
    If shes not following me, shes following the other dog. She already has seperation anxiety from me, even though im home most of the time so i may need to look into getting another dog.
    Just not sure about when and breeds.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Sunshine coast Qld


    Thinking of you at his sad time, and great you are considering the feelings of Niki.

    Many years ago, i rescued a lab, at that time i had 3 cavies. One in particular bonded fiercly with yogi and when at 12, besides worsening arthritis, he became blind and we made the decision to end his suffering.

    Our cavie missed him terribly and almost didnt eat anything for 3 months, she was sad and lost a lot of weight, despite the presence of other dogs.
    I had never imagined a dog could grieve just like we do.
    I agree with the other posters, if you are able to get another dog before he goes, would be a big help and just keep her close.
    The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
    Mohandas Gandhi

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Bundaberg QLD


    Interesting topic and so sorry to hear about your older dog's condition.

    Mojo was the first puppy i ever got from a breeder ....taking him away from his mum, dad, brothers and sisters. I did wonder how he felt about that. It must have been hell for him even though he was in a excellent new home full of love and support. I guess it's like most things when your sad or upset...time is a great healer. I assume dogs feel the same as humans with things like this but i'm really just guessing.

    It would be so much easier if they could talk.......but i'm also gratefull they dont for many other reasons.

    If i was in your position and like others here have said i would probably get another dog to help your younger one take her mind of the loss when that time comes.
    I think it could also help yourself ease the pain at such a heartbreaking time if thats possible.
    I wish you the best of luck when the time comes....

    Quote Originally Posted by reyzor View Post
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Rural Western Australia


    It is always a horrible thing, I have had to let 3 old dogs go and each one was hard.

    However none of the dogs left behind were particularly perturbed. They actually formed a stronger bond with me and I think would much rather have remained single dogs (typical ACDS). My mum had whippets and when the older one died the younger one was absolutely distaught if mum wasnt there and would howl.

    So it depends, my mums dog settled down when my mum got another pup.

    I also got new pups but to be honest I think the dogs left behind would rather I hadnt so they could have had me all to themselves.

  9. #9


    Its not really possible to get another dog while shes still with us unfortuntly
    only alloud 4 dogs/cats where we live and we already have that many.

    i want to show my dog her body when she has died, it may sound gross, but atleast she will know that shes dead and not that we just got rid of her.

    mum and dad are both open to me getting another dog, but i want to wait a little while just to see how she goes. She is very submissive so i would probably need to get a puppy.

    i love having two dogs though, love that they always have company and someone to play with. so i will probably get another dog, i have been told that she is very likely to start misbehaving if i get a pup cause she isnt even two yet.

    shes not going to be put down until after easter, as this gives my brothers time to say goodbye to her because they dont live here. but they way i think there can be a positive to this... i can get another animal to love unconditionally for the rest of his/her life.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    melbourne australia


    Quote Originally Posted by xx_sheena_xx View Post
    my older dog is probably going to have to be put down within a couple of months.
    can anyone tell me how i can help the younger one cope? she has never been an only dog and i dont think she will cope very well.
    My first dog Mac, definately became depressed on losing his mate. For roughly 6 months he pined, would not run, never barked and was silent, his entire demeanor shouted GRIEF. It was like at 4yrs he'd turned into a very old dog, plodding, barely ate for the first few weeks, even things that he loved like bones.

    It was heart breaking to watch. I was only 14. I asked my grandfather, who bred dogs, trained dogs all his life. He advised, and this is what i advise you....

    "remember when your grandmother died last year? what did Mac do for you?". I was very upset at losing my grandmother, Mac would come sit beside me and just 'be' with me. He gave me hugs and kisses in a very gentle way. My grandfather said i should follow his lead. So i did. I just was 'with him' we'd sit quietly together whilst i stroked him. Then id take him for a run on my bike. Down a hill. I remember he'd start off trying to keep up, just, but by the time we'd gotten to the bottom of the hill, he'd be running with a smile on his face. Then he'd go all old n ploddy again. Id take him to see the pups that had been born to another female cattle dog. He'd play with the pups and act all gently and watch over them.
    I did make an allowance and let him in to sleep by the fire at night instead of sleeping now alone in the barn.

    Eventually he returned to what he once was, bouncing, smiling happy Mac. A rough collie working sheep dog.
    What was remarkable, was my grandad did not work him during this grief period. And took another dog. As Mac had no drive to round anything up in this period. (and this was a dog that rounded the family up, cows up, chickens up, anything that moved, he'd round up) Then about as i say 6 months later, he got up from the fire, his 'retirement' home bed, and went to work! Never looked back.

    He got a new playmate out of that litter that had been born to replace our old bella. Companionship seemed to be what he needed.

    I know that this puts an awful lot of human characteristics onto a dog. But i copied my dog as my grandfather advised. This IS what he did for me, he felt that companionship was needed. so follow your dogs lead, what does it do when you are upset? Whatever that is, do some of that.
    And play when it will play.
    Last edited by bernie; 03-21-2012 at 05:51 AM.

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