Dogs were able to yearn for dead relatives

(ORDO NEWS) — An international team of scientists has come to the conclusion that domestic dogs living together mourn the second dog if he died. Especially if they had friendly relations during their lifetime and the owner yearns for the second dog.

For their dead companions – other animals of the same species – many representatives of mammals mourn. For example, elephants, whales, dolphins and great apes. But not only them: there are studies according to which birds can also experience longing for deceased brethren.

Grief reactions are generally common in social species. They are expressed in touching, examining and carrying the body of the deceased. But about the ability to mourn domestic dogs , which also belong to social species, scientists did not report anything, although in wild dogs such cases of “longing” were occasionally noticed.

Employees of the Veterinary Clinic and Laboratory of San Marco, the Universities of Padua and Milan (Italy), Lincoln (Great Britain), Bern (Switzerland) and other scientific organizations decided to shed light on this issue.

The study included a survey of 426 Italians who had at least two dogs. One of them died, and the second remained to live. Some 66.4 percent of respondents had lost a second animal more than a year prior to the study.

Owners were asked about any changes in the behavior of the surviving dog, as well as what the dogs’ relationship was like before the death of one of them. In addition, the owners spoke about their stress levels after the loss of a pet.

It turned out that 86 percent of people observed negative changes in the behavior of the second dog after the death of the first. Another 32 percent reported that such changes persisted for two to six months, and in 25 percent of cases, more than six months.

At the same time, 67 percent noted that the surviving dog began to seek attention more, in 57 percent the lonely animal began to play less, in 46 percent it simply became less active. According to 35 percent of the participants, the lost dog slept more and became more shy, 32 percent ate less, and 30 percent whined and barked more.

It is known that 93 percent of dogs lived with each other for more than one year, and 69 percent of them, judging by the words of their owners, were friends with each other.

As the researchers noted, the duration of life with each other in both dogs did not leave a noticeable imprint on the behavior of the surviving dog. Rather, this was facilitated by the “friendly” relationship between them, as well as the degree of grief of the owner himself.

Therefore, scientists concluded that the negative emotions of surviving dogs can be caused both by the attitude of the dog itself towards the deceased fellow, and by the attitude of their person to this death.


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