It is natural for us to be deeply saddened by the death of our pets. However, it turns out that we may not be the only family members who mourn their dog companions. This is according to a new study involving hundreds of dog owners.
The results of the study will not come as a surprise to anyone who has witnessed the death of a dog for weeks or even months. The researchers also found that dogs behaved similar to mourning in humans. This reveals another layer of the rich emotional life of our four-legged friends.
Dogs mourn the death of their dog companions
The study’s authors note that the discovery of mourning behavior “reveals a potentially serious animal welfare problem that has been overlooked given the aging of a relatively large number of dogs and dog populations living with at least one companion dog.” published February 24 br. In the journal Scientific Reports.
Federica Pirrone said, “It is important to know the behavioral reactions and emotions triggered by the death of a companion dog, as this will allow us to recognize the emotional needs of many animals at risk of losing a companion dog.” , A professor of veterinary ethology and animal welfare at the University of Milan, and co-author of the study, which was interviewed by a journalist on vice.com.
Dogs, like humans, suffer after the death of a dog mate. Getty Images
Mourning in dogs
Research in previous years has shown this Many different animals, including monkeys, whales, dolphins, elephants, and birds, exhibit mourning behavior. and even have rituals associated with the death of relatives. To determine if domestic dogs feel the same way, Pirrone and colleagues asked 426 Italians with multiple dogs to conduct an online survey. Mourning dog inquiry (Lamentated Dog Questionnaire), related to both the reaction and behavior of their dogs after the death of one of them.
86% of dog owners have seen different reactions to the death of one of their pets. They are divided into the following categories:
- seek more attention (67%),
- depression (57%),
- decrease in activity (46%),
- increase in sleep (35%),
- increased anxiety (35%),
- decrease in the amount of food consumed (32%)
- wheezing and barking increase (30%).
The study found that about one-third of dogs had these behaviors within two to six months after the death of their companion, and a quarter continued for more than six months. The duration of these behaviors is not affected by whether the dog sees its mate’s body. It did not affect the animal’s sex, castration, race or age.
It was also reported In 92 percent of cases, it did not matter how long the dogs lived together. He was more important contact between animals, It is measured by the joint activities of animals such as eating, caring and playing games or sharing meals, toys and places to relax.
Dogs also suffer from losing a companion. Getty Images
Understanding the emotional needs of dogs
To prevent bias in the study, the researchers compared the reports and conducted statistical analysis to assess whether the participants actually experienced grief-like reactions in their dogs. The authors note that only 42 men and 384 women participated in the study. “Studies on the role of gender in humans have shown this women are more empathetic than men and pay more attention to animal welfare. Therefore, our results can be explained, at least in part, by the fact that women are more likely than men to fill out online pet surveys due to their special sensitivity to animal problems, the researchers explain.
Researchers are already working on the next phase of the project to confirm that dogs react to a partner’s “loss” or “death.” “Understanding the patterns of behavior of nonhuman animals after loss may be helpful in recognizing the emotional needs of these animals,” they concluded.
newscientist.com / vice.com
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