Do dogs grieve? Do dogs mourn their owners?
Pets often face the heartbreaking loss of their beloved human companion. And while it’s common to assume that pets don’t grieve in the same way humans do, I’m here to reveal a deeper truth about the profound emotional bonds between humans and their pets.
When I first started as an animal communicator, I had a ton of conversations with animals about this. My initial understanding was that dogs do not grieve. But this was SO not the case! After many people came to me, looking to better understand their pets, I started to delve more into what the animals were sharing with me. It took me years of intuitive connections with animals to realize what pets were saying: they don’t grieve as humans do, but they do need our help understanding what’s happening and definitely need our support to adjust.
So sit tight, as I’m about to share with you the three things that you can do to prepare an animal for their human about to pass (plus a bonus piece at the end that you must do to help the pet adjust)
How Do Dogs Grieve: Preparing a Pet for Their Human’s Passing
To help a dog mourn the loss of its owner, you first need to understand how animals work with the other side and how they work with us.
Our pets connect with us (and with all humans) at two levels. There’s the physical level, and everybody is familiar with this. At this level, an animal will show you that their foot hurts. Or they’ll tell you they’re jealous. Or they’ll let you know they’re hungry.
But there’s also a second level. The Soul Level. This is where they tune into their owner’s emotions, sensing their pain, joy, and overall well-being. They’re no longer talking about survival-level stuff. They’re talking about stuff like, “I know my human is sad”, or “I know my human is sick”.
So because dogs form deep emotional connections with their humans, going beyond the physical realm, the Soul Level comes into play in how we prepare our pets for their human’s passing and how we help dogs grieve for their owners.
Do Dogs Grieve Humans? Helping Dogs Adjust After The Loss of Their Owner
While grief is inevitable, even for our beloved pets, there are ways to prepare your dog for the upcoming loss.
1. Develop a clear plan to help dogs mourn their owner’s death when it will happen
The first thing you need to do to help a dog grieve is make sure that there is a very clear plan in place for when the animal’s human passes. And it’s important to make sure that you feel good about it, that the pet’s human feels good about it, and that everybody agrees this is the way to go.
If you don’t feel good about this plan, or if the animal’s human is not onboard, it’s going to get in the way of preparing everybody, including the pet, for what is about to happen.
2. Have an open and honest conversation with the pet
The second thing is, with the plan in place, we need to take advantage of the fact that our animals really do know what we’re saying to them.
Talk to your dog about the passing in a calm and reassuring manner. Let them know you understand their feelings and are there for them. By the way, you don’t have to dumb this down or talk to them like they’re a child. Talk to them like they’re a person, and then just lay it out.
I know it’s hard to believe that a pet will understand, but they will! And it will go well, as long as
you do thing number three.
If you want to learn more about the animal crossing-over process, you can read my book, The Incredible Animal Afterlife, which details all of what I have learned from animals that are crossing over or already on the other side.
3. Dogs understand death. Here’s how to provide emotional support
Third thing that you can do to help dogs grieve is right as their human passes. Let them know when the passing occurs.
A lot of people think that a pet needs to see the past over human to understand what’s happening. This is not a thing. Do dogs understand death? Yes, they do, because they mastered unconditional love at the Soul Level, so they can sense the big picture. So all you need to do when the passing occurs is let the pet know, “Yep, your human crossed over.”
How to Help a Dog with Grief and Adjust After Their Human’s Passing
If you weren’t able to prepare the pet beforehand for their human crossing over, you can do it now. Talk with the pet about it. “Hey, pet. You know, this has happened. And now we’re going to put a plan into action. We want to make sure that you have a great life.” And this is where you’re going to share the plan with the pet.
Introducing the Pet to a New Environment
Once their human has passed, and you’ve got your pet in a new place or with new people, it’s crucial to let the dog lead the way in their new environment. What does this mean? Bring the pet into the new
space and let them check it out on their own. Allow them the time to get familiar with the new environment and decide how they want to be in this new space.
Allowing the pet to lead is crucial. This doesn’t mean you just leave them there… But take a step back and let them adjust to the new space. They will give you signs, by doing certain things that let you know what they want in the new home environment. But they cannot do this if you are constantly observing them, babying them, or worrying about them every moment.
Dogs do grieve when their owner dies, they just do it differently than us humans. So they need emotional and energetic space to be able to adjust to the new situation. You’re bringing them in, you’re setting them up, and then you take a step back. Let them do their thing.
Bonus Tip – Maintaining a Calm and Balanced Presence
Prioritizing your own emotional well-being is something you also need to do. Your emotional state is important. If you’re not calm and balanced during these difficult moments, the animal will not be able to adjust. Plus, you’ll make the whole process harder on yourself and a lot less smooth.
When you’re sitting down to talk with the pet and tell them the plan, when you’re introducing the pet into their new environment, when you’re interacting with the pet in any way, you have to make sure that you are okay.
Do dogs grieve? Yes. But us humans are grieving as well! We go through it together. So to help a dog mourn the loss of their owner, you need to make sure that you’re feeling okay. The grief is there, but, hey, you’re not heaving, crying or having a panic attack. You’re sharing the pain with the pet, but from a place in your heart. And here’s the thing: you can’t pretend. Our animals are intuitively connected to us. They do feel what’s going on, so fake smiling and pretending everything’s okay won’t work. A pet knows. Allow yourself to feel your emotions and if you can’t be balanced, simply share that right up front. Be honest with the animal about how you’re feeling, in whatever part of the process you’re in.
Dog Grief is Hard. But Animal Communication Can Help Ease the Process
Dogs do grieve when their owner dies, proving their bond with humans is far more profound than we often realize. So by preparing our dogs for loss, and supporting them, we can help them navigate this challenging time and cope with the loss of their beloved humans.
If you’d like to learn more about animal communication and how to support a grieving pet, I encourage you to learn how to become an animal communicator.
But where to start? Well, you could sign up for a beginner animal communication course, so you can connect with your pet intuitively. Or, read my book, “Animal Lessons: Discover Your Pet’s Secret Messages”. It will guide you through the process of uncovering the lessons your beloved pet is teaching you and is the perfect tool to get you started on this amazing journey.