How do you know if your dog is grieving?

Sarah Ferguson recently revealed that the corgi she adopted after the death of Queen Elizabeth are ‘really happy’ and seem to be recovering from their grief.

The Duchess of York63, made the comments during an interview with Ryan Clark up BBC Radio 2 show.

She shared how the two dogs, Muick and Sandy, are doing since moving to the Royal Lodge in Windsor, where she lives.

She said, “They’re great, they’re very happy, and their tails are up now, so I think they’re over their grief.”

But what actually happens to a dog when it grieves and what can a new owner do to help?

Sara Ferguson recently revealed that the Queen’s beloved corgis Muick and Sandy are finally back to their old selves after the death of their former owner

Adem Fehmi, a dog behavior expert from Hertfordshire at Barking Heads premium pet food, says: ‘All dogs are different and will react differently to the loss of an owner.

“But some dogs are hyper-attached to their owners, so they can get very stressed and sad if they lose that person.

“However, they are things that can be done to help the process.”

Here he tells FEMAIL his best insights into the world of dog grief…

How do you recognize if a dog is grieving?

The late Her Majesty owned corgis for most of her life and was known to have a particular fondness for the breed

The late Her Majesty owned corgis for most of her life and was known to have a particular fondness for the breed

“Of course we can’t get into a dog’s mind and measure a pet’s grief. Likewise, we can’t give them a scan to see what’s going on in their brains,” Adem said.

“But dogs are incredibly social creatures and often form strong bonds with their owners.

‘With the Queen’s corgis, Her Majesty’s late Majesty would no doubt have had a very deep connection with them. They probably miss her presence and affection, even if they don’t fully understand what happened.

“Usually we have to look at their behavior to understand if a dog is grieving. A dog may show symptoms of lethargy, anxiety, stress and withdrawal. They may go off their food and not want to be petted.

“They might as well hang their heads down, not wag their tails and just seem sad. They may also pace or hyperventilate.

“These can be stressful for a new owner to witness, but they can usually be resolved with some TLC.”

He added that, just like in humans, the pain of grief diminishes over time for animals.

The importance of routine

Muick and Sandy were pictured looking lost as they waited for her funeral procession to arrive at St George's Chapel on Windsor Estate

Muick and Sandy were pictured looking lost as they waited for her funeral procession to arrive at St George’s Chapel on Windsor Estate

Adem said: ‘It’s worth pointing out that a dog losing its owner can often also mean a change of scenery and routine.

‘It is therefore difficult for us humans to understand whether this or the loss of a human can cause behavioral problems in a pet.

“The loss of a routine can be a particular problem if the pet owner is elderly.

‘Families with young children and a dog often have no clear routine or structure. The dog is simply inserted into events that change daily. But often with older people – perhaps the ones most likely to die – the routine can be very set.

‘For example, a dog usually walks out at a certain time, is fed punctually and is used to a treat before going to sleep. When a dog ends up with a new person, he may become anxious and annoyed that these routines have changed.

“Not only can they be in a new house, they can also have different eating and walking patterns.”

“If they’re not used to kids, they can suddenly find themselves among them — so all of these factors can be unsettling.”

“To help mitigate this in the event of a loss, any dog owner should ideally have someone who knows about their dog, their routines, likes and dislikes in case they pass away suddenly and the dog needs to be cared for by someone else.”

He added that the late Queen’s corgis probably already knew Sarah Ferguson, so may have already been used to her. They were also likely walked and fed by other people while the Queen was alive, which would have helped the transition.

But he continued, “They’ll still be in a new house with other people — so some adjustment may take time.”

Go slow

“If a dog is stressed or unhappy, it can take time to remedy this. This can be frustrating because a stressed dog can make everyday tasks difficult,” Adem said.

“They may not walk well or be okay with going through a park. They may also not like being left alone or going to the vet.

“Go at your dog’s pace. Be patient and consistent and build positive associations with kind words and rewards. If a dog seems to be getting better and then steps back, don’t worry about resetting.”

Every dog ​​is different

Adem advised new owners to do everything they could to understand their dog.

He said: ‘For example, they need to look at where it is in its stage of life. An older dog may struggle with ill health or lose his mind. It may also have had a deep relationship with its last owner. Consequently, the lake may struggle with change.

Similarly, a young dog may need time to bond with its owners.

‘Owners also have to pay attention to the variety. My dog ​​is a labrador, but if I were to pass away, the new owner should understand that he came from a working stock and so needs a lot of exercise.

“If a dog is used to chasing a ball, but a new owner brings him a frisbee or a teddy bear to chase, he may not like this and become confused and despondent.

“Some dogs don’t necessarily grieve a human, they just lack a ball sucker or a food bowl. So essentially, if you can replicate these things, the dog should adjust well to a new owner.”

Get the basics right

“Dogs, like humans, are social mammals and have basic needs that need to be met,” explains Adem.

“They need good exercise, including play and enrichment, and they need to feel safe in their own home or environment.

“Some dogs also need to be mentally stimulated and challenged. Others like training and agility drills. But they also need love and affection and attention.

“Doing all of these basics helps a dog deal with grief and a new foundation.

“Most dogs want to move forward and enjoy life – and getting the basics right will help the process immensely.”

Remember, it’s not just sadness

Adem explained: ‘It’s important to remember that other changes also affect dogs and cause them stress and worry. It doesn’t have to be sadness. An owner can get sick and be unable to take care of them or take them out for a walk.

“My neighbor has a lurcher, and when she got injured recently, the dog got very stressed. It was insecure and agitated, but getting back into its routines calmed it down and helped calm it down.”