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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 10859
Experience:  I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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We recently lost one of our two staffie's to heart failure,

Customer Question

We recently lost one of our two staffie's to heart failure, he was due to have a heart scan on Wednesday he was obviously struggling to breath, he would not lay down as it made him cough and wheeze. Our other staffie followed him around as though keeping an eye on him. We were about to call the vet for an emergency appointment, when he sat by the patio door, his way of telling us he wanted to go out to the garden. He went out alone. Then came back into the kitchen and stared at my husband, turned and went back to the garden. My husband followed him as he had the feeling that this is what Parker wanted. Parker went to his favourite place under a small tree layer down on a bed of white petals, and died. My husband and I are devastated, but Loki our other staffie I'd really pining, he won't eat properly, he just looks so sad. He won't go out to the back garden even though he was not there when Parker died. We have discussed getting another Staffie puppy eventually, but we are now wondering if we should get one one to help Loki recover from his sadness, can you tell me if this is the right thing to do. The new puppy will never be a replacement for Psrker, and will be his own boy, with his own personality.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 1 year ago.

Hello, I'm Dr. Deb and will do my best to help you today.

I'm so sorry that you lost Parker in this way:( You must still be absolutely bereft although I hope you can find comfort knowing that he passed at home under his favorite tree.

Considering how bonded he and Loki were, it's not uncommon for the friend left behind to mourn and grieve as Loki is doing. This process is quite variable among dogs: it can take just a short time before they seem to move on or it could last for months.

When faced with similar situations with my owners, I often suggest that they consider getting another dog sooner rather than later. A puppy is often a good choice since they take rejection fairly well (which may be Loki's attitude at least initially) and are such a joy to have around.

A puppy may be just the thing to take Loki's mind off of Parker or at least help him to get past his grieving. They may help not only Loki but also you and your husband during this grieving process.

A young adult may also be a possibility since he/she will have an established personality but obviously, Loki would have to "approve" of them which may be hard for him to do in his current mental state.

I don't know if something like a DAP collar (or something similar) will be of benefit for him but it might be worth a try. These collars contain natural pheromones which are intended to reduce anxiety and instill a sense of calm. They don't work for every patient but they aren't harmful.

Here in the States, they're available at local pet/grain stores or can be purchased online.

Again, please accept my sincere condolences on your loss; I know there's going to be a big hole in your hearts for a long time to come.