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Do Pets Grieve?

Do Pets Grieve?

Dr. Lianna Titcombe

 

As a hospice care veterinarian, I am often asked if other pets should be present during the time of home euthanasia. Clients worry that their other pets will be traumatized, or disturb the pet in their final moments.

It can be difficult to know for sure what is in the hearts and minds of animals, but I can tell you what I have witnessed and experienced over the years at hundreds of home euthanasia appointments.

The answer is yes.

Other pets should be present during the euthanasia appointment. They are part of the family and the pet is used to having them around, after all. They may be very closely bonded and be a source of comfort to the pet and to the family.

There will always be exceptions, of course, when it is not a good idea to have other pets present. There will be cases when family pets don’t get along at all and need to be separated due to aggression. Some very young animals (such as rambunctious puppies) seem fairly oblivious to death and act as an annoyance, rather than a comfort, to the dying pet. But generally the other pet is quite respectful of the process and keeps their distance when appropriate, or will cuddle close when needed.

At the very least, I always recommend that the other pet come to see their deceased companion at the end. They don’t appear traumatized. Some pets will sniff the air and avoid the deceased, others will spend a few moments sniffing the body and then walk away, and a few will curl up right next to them.

Do pets grieve the loss? That remains a mystery, what is really in their thoughts. While animals don’t have the complex thought to grieve the way we do, they certainly recognize a change in their home environment, and they don’t like change. Even if they did not get along with the other pet, they may still seem “out of sorts” following the death, especially if they were not given the opportunity to say good bye, in their own way.  Many of my clients have told me that the pets not present for the euthanasia appear confused and unhappy, spend time looking for their companion, or waiting by the door for them to come home. This can be heart-breaking, to say the least. When given the opportunity to see the pet after death, they seem to have some level of understanding, and move on fairly quickly.

While I will always encourage other pets to be present during home euthanasia, the decision remains with the client, who ultimately knows their pets, and their needs, best.

In order to help the other pets following the loss, it’s best to keep their routine as normal and stable as possible and make sure they are given consistent attention and affection every day. This will be good for both the pet and the owner, as they cope with moving forward after this very significant loss.

 

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First Video-Based Canadian Veterinary Telehealth Company Launched

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First Video-Based Canadian Veterinary Telehealth Company Launched

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Wiggle Waggle Walk and Run

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Pictured here is Dr. Lianna with some pretty adorable sidekicks who participated in the The Wiggle Waggle Walk & Run presented by Escape Manor on Saturday 8 September.
The Wiggle Waggle Walk & Run is one of the largest fundraising events of the year for the Ottawa Humane Society, a non-profit, community-based organization and a registered charity that provides a safe haven for sick, injured and homeless animals in Ottawa.
Thank you Dr. Lianna and all who participated for this very important cause.

 

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Real Grief: The True Impact of Losing a Beloved Companion Animal

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Real Grief: The True Impact of Losing a Beloved Companion Animal

Veterinarian Dr. Lianna Titcombe explains the substantial process required by some to grieve the death of a beloved family member – the pet. She explains how to best support a bereaved pet owner at work and at home.

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Today is World Pet Memorial Day. May they be remembered with love.

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8 Ways To Help Your Dog Deal With The Grief Of Losing A Family Pet

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As stated in #8 of the attached article, animals understand death and are as much a part of the family unit as the humans are. The staff of Claire Place understand this and encourage owners, whenever possible, to have their other dogs present during an at-home euthanasia service, to allow them to say goodbye. This provides the closure of knowing that their friend has passed on, not simply vanished.

https://buff.ly/2xefJjH

 

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Happy World Veterinary Day!

Happy World Veterinary Day! Please take time to thank the veterinary professionals who care for your furry family. 

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OVMA recognizing veterinarians and their teams

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The Ontario Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA) is recognizing veterinarians and their staff who go above and beyond! Nominate your veterinarian and encourage your family and friends to vote until May 18!  For more info go to the Facebook link below or www.gotapetgetavet.ca.

https://www.facebook.com/onvetmedassoc/photos/a.325408810643.350628.315281615643/10160397566685644/?type=3&theater

 

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Are you up-to-date on your 'tick'nology?

As the weather gets warmer, ticks come out to feast.  Ticks can transmit diseases to both you and your pet.  Different species present different risks.  Are you prepared?

http://newtickintown.ca/en/what-makes-ticks-tick.aspx

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Small Pets Now Allowed on OC Transpo Buses and Trains

As of April 2, 2018 small pets are now allowed on OC Transpo buses and trains.  
The pet must be in a crate or carrier and can sit on your lap.
 
 
https://www.facebook.com/Claire-Place-Veterinary-Hospice-Mobile-Services-234491666638341
 
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