Seeing your dog in obvious emotional pain after losing her puppies is heartbreaking. Whether it’s a puppy that died, or at the point when the puppies leave to go to their new homes, neither is easy. How you comfort your dog adds an extra layer of complexity. Dogs don’t speak our language, so how to make them feel better after a loss is a tough one.
Well, this week I managed to speak to a lady who has been through this experience with her own dog. What follows is her approach to comforting a dog after a loss of the puppies. I hope it helps you.
How to help and comfort a dog who lost her puppies
When a dog loses her puppies, it can be a devastating experience for her. Dogs do get sad when they lose their puppies, and I’ve been through this experience twice with two different dogs. On both times had to help them through it.
It starts with understanding a dog’s way of grieving and realizing that even walking your dog can be the start of recovery.
How to help a dog who lost her puppies
When your dog loses her puppies, you should be empowered to handle it correctly, because your actions will either help or hinder her. As supportive and patient as you plan to be, that approach may not be the best and only way to go about things.
Being supportive but then not helping her cope with how she’s feeling can make her more depressed.
Of course, you want to be there for your dog as she grieves but it can go terribly wrong if you don’t help her in the right way. Let’s go through the right ways you can help your dog.
1. Keep her active
You may think that leaving your dog to go through this difficult time in her own way and getting lots of rest is the best thing to do. But in many cases, this isn’t ideal.
What you can do to help her would be to keep your dog active. This will release serotonin that could help make her feel better.
Much like humans, the ‘happy hormone’ can help reduce the grieving emotions that are overwhelming her. It will be a temporary solution, but it will help her over the long term in helping her get back to her normal behavior.
Put a routine in place where you take her for walks and even play with her a little more than usual.
This is how you prevent her sinking into her depression even further. Don’t wait until the depression gets worse, because you will have to get her medical help such as medication to get her out of her mourning period.
2. Give her more attention
While keeping her busy and active can keep her from getting depressed, it’s also suggested that you give her a lot more love and attention after losing her puppies.
Dogs give unconditional love to their owners and when they’re grieving, they’ll need that same love given back to them.
The process will take time but with toys, walks, and a lot more attention, your dog should slowly go back to her normal self. This is the period where you’ll need to be patient but keep being involved on a regular basis.
What does loss look like?
After a puppy dies, some females may not show any sign of sadness or emotional distress. This is usually due to there being no emotional connection with the puppy yet, especially if it passed right after birth.
In this scenario, no bond had been created. Much like humans though, no two dogs will act the same when dealing with loss so don’t assume this will always be the case. It’s up to you to monitor the situation, notice the signs and act when you pick up on a problem.
Clear signs will help you figure out if your dog is dealing with the situation or spiraling into depression. You simply need to know what to look for. Based on the signs you’ll pick a plan of action.
The signs may include:
- Changed behavior in a negative way, whether it’s being aggressive or not wanting to be near you.
- Depression which will involve sleeping most of the day and not eating.
These indications are the only way your dog can express herself. It’s vital that you take note of these signs because if they worsen, even with you trying to assist her in the grieving process, you’ll need to seek medical advice..
Do dogs get sad when they lose their puppies?
As stated above, some dogs may not show any signs of sadness when losing their puppies, but there’s no way of knowing beforehand. The lack of bonding or her general temperament may prevent depression after a death.
However, many dogs do get sad when they lose their puppies. If the puppy passes a few days after birth, there would’ve been a bond which can then affect the mother.
After all, dogs are emotional animals. This will be the worst-case scenario and it’s understandable. Anyone experiencing that loss will be sad, and dogs aren’t exempt.
What to do when your dog loses her puppies
You can help your dog even before you notice her acting out or looking depressed. Knowing the right steps to take straight after your dog’s new puppy dies, can actually make or break the situation.
You may need to take things into your own hands and do what is right even if she tries to stop you from doing it. She might try to bite or snap at you, but you can’t let her be around her dead puppy for too long.
15 minutes is the maximum amount of time she can be around her puppy before you need to remove it. Put on gloves for this task so you don’t leave your own scent in the area.
Do this slowly in order to keep her calm if you notice her watching you. However, if she hasn’t noticed the puppy yet, remove it as quickly as possible.
The smell of the puppy will still linger for a while. Therefore, you need to clean the area. This is to ensure that your dog no longer smells her puppy, making it easier for her to focus on her other puppies.
Once that is done, take your dog, the deceased puppy, and her other puppies to the vet. They will dispose of the deceased puppy as well as examine your dog and the pups. Let them make sure there aren’t any infections or problems with the other puppies, so you prevent any more unnecessary deaths.
When to seek medical advice
As hard as you try, you may not be able to help your dog through this experience. This can be heartbreaking for you but luckily you can trust professional advice. Taking your dog to the vet can help her get better. As a professional they’ll be able to suggest what you should do next and how to get your dog into a better emotional state.
This may include giving your dog some medication to help them deal with depression or simply to calm them down. Or perhaps she needs a diet adjustment to get more energy so she can enjoy those walks more.
With the right steps your dog will be back to herself in no time.
Being a pet owner is similar to being a parent, right?
We have the responsibility to look after another living being. However, with a dog, there is no way of easily communicating your exact needs – it’s not like they can talk our language. This makes it hard to know how they’re handling a difficult time.
What can you do to make sure they’re coping?
Well, it might just come naturally to you – but the bottom line is comfort and understanding.
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Image in header via https://pixabay.com/photos/dog-labrador-black-and-white-sad-1126025/