Research shows pets grieve after death of family, friends

PORTLAND, ME (WCSH/NBC News) — Animal experts are suggesting that you may have more in common with your animal companion than you think.

In a recent newsletter published by the Funeral Consumer Alliance of Maine, researcher Jessica Pierce states “a growing body of research into “animal thanatology” suggests that at least some species of animal have a complex understanding of and relationship to death and dying.

Pierce says there is evidence to back up the claim that common pets such as dogs and cats grieve the loss of a family member or animal companion.

“When one of them dies and another one is left behind they often, people will report, the one left behind won’t eat as much or will just seem depressed, or will walk around the house looking for their friend,” she says.

So what does this mean for you?

Don Hanson, a Certified Dog Behavioral Consultant in Bangor, says this behavior is typical in a grieving pet. He also suggests that not all animals grieve the same way or visibly grieve at all.

“The quickest way to create behavioral problems in any species is not allowing them to express normal behavior,” Hanson said.

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