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We got a pet put down 4 weeks ago, and since then my 8 year old, Shaffy, won't eat or drink unless I feed her. She won't go on a walk. She stares at the walls, gets stuck in corners and cries a lot and walks about with her head hanging down like she's sad and distanct and sleeps a lot. Please help.

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I wouldn't feed him by hand anymore. He'll get hungry. Even if it is grief, the body's imperative to stay alive will cause him to eat at some point.

However, rather than waiting for him to get interested again, I'd get a few really high value foods. Get him some hot dogs, chicken, bacon, ham, etc... Whatever he really goes crazy for and encourage him with those. If you have something that wouldn't leave a residue on your floors, I'd even suggest "hiding" some of these treats around.

Place one under a chair, or under the coffee table. Maybe put one behind the couch. Basically, encourage him to get up and wander around the room, looking for these treats. Just like with people, he'll have trouble wallowing in grief when he has something that takes his mind off of it. If he doesn't have anything better to do than think about it, he probably will.

I'd also suggest taking him for more walk and spending more time with him than usual. Not just having him sit near you, but brush him down every day. Not only will this help keep your house cleaner, but he'll have time dedicated to him. When you're walking, there will be lots of stimulus for him.

One last thing I'd suggest is to clean your house. If he really is missing his friend, then it's going to smell like the other dog everywhere he goes. Try to wash every thing and if feasible, move things around.

I feel confident that if you try a few of these things, your dog will start to come around. I think it's important not to encourage the moping and not to project things on your dog that aren't there. I know that one animal certainly can miss another animal and it may be the case here, because of the timing. However, some animals do have neurological issues that cause them to act strangely. Also, I know it's very easy for people to project issues onto their animals. It happens very frequently.

A good example is with my Jack Russell. When I was at home, we inherited my grandmothers dog. Because she had been an indoor dog they assumed that she'd be scared of rain storms. In fact she did act fearful to a small extent because I'm sure my grandmother babied her. So they would let her in whenever a rain shower happened and they were home to let her in. My dog saw her getting inside and asked to get in as well. They started letting her in during rainstorms as well. It didn't take long for my dog to figure out she could get inside if she'd come to the door any time it rained. They tried to tell me that she was scared of rain storms and I told them to bite me. I'd frequently seen her go out into rain to kill frogs and she loves to go shooting with us so she isn't scared of loud noises. She simply learned that a certain behavior gained a certain reaction and exploited it to her benefit. Again, I'm not saying your dog doesn't legitimately miss it's friend, I'm just advising that you evaluate your dog based on it being a dog and don't prescribe it human feelings or motivations. It has those on it's own and they're perfectly valid.

I hope your dog perks up soon. Good luck.

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Well, I bet you were sad when your dog got put down. That is exactly what's wrong with your other dog. Your dog is grieving the loss of your other dog. Clearly they had a relationship or they were great friends. (not just humans make friends, this has been seen in all species of animals.) Give him lots of extra care and love, and if you think it would be reasonable, get him another friend.

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