Depression and Grieving in Pets


Depression and grieving in pets may take many different forms – from the obviously sad and lethargic animal to the pet who manifests illness and behavioral problems associated with depression.

Animals form very deep attachments to their owners and to each other. It is therefore not surprising when they show signs of grief and depression if their owner or a companion pet die.

Some animals experience separation anxiety when their owners go away for a vacation, or sometimes even when they leave them for a short time. Separation anxiety, can result in depression or, more commonly (especially in dogs), in destructive behavior such as digging, chewing or scratching.

Pets are also very attuned to their owner’s emotional state. If you are feeling depressed or grief – stricken, this may, in turn, impact your pet. Certain breeds of pets also tend to worry and fret more than others. They may be at particular risk of developing chronic depression.

Symptoms of grief and depression can include:

  • Excessive barking
  • Lethargy
  • Anxiety/nervusness
  • Excessive grooming (particularly in cats)
  • Self mutilation or destructive behavior
  • Weight loss/gain
  • Sulking or even aggression
  • Change in personality
  • Increased clinginess and attachment
  • Loss of appetite


Life's Abundance All Stage Daily Nutrition
Life's Abundance All Life Stage Daily Nutrition Cat System
A balanced, high quality diet is very important during stressful times and can help to boost your pet’s immune system. We recommend the Life’s Abundance Daily Nutritional System For Dogs and the Life’s Abundance Daily Nutritional System For Cats for optimum nutrition.

The Life’s Abundance Daily Nutritional Systems unite the premium dry health foods with superior chewable supplements in a single purpose to provide your pet with excellent nutrition, every day.

Other things you can do

  • Aromatherapy and massage can help to soothe and comfort a grief-stricken and depressed animal.
  • While your pet is grieving, try and keep his home environment as safe and stress-free as possible. Try not to make any further changes to his environment during this time.
  • Regular exercise will help to keep your pet healthy and fit, mentally and emotionally as well as physically.
  • If your pet pines excessively when at the kennel, investigate other options. Perhaps you could get a dog-sitter to look after your dog at home or leave him with a friend while you are away.