Research press release


Scientific Reports

Animal behaviour: Dogs may show grieving behaviour after death of canine companion

イヌを飼っているイタリア人426人を対象とした調査の結果、同じ家族に飼われていた複数のイヌのうちの1匹が死んだ後に別のイヌが示した行動や情動の変化が、悲しみを示すものかもしれないという結論を示した論文が、Scientific Reports に掲載される。

悲嘆行動は鳥類やゾウ類などさまざまな動物で報告されているが、イエイヌ(Canis familiaris)が悲嘆に暮れるかどうかは明らかになっていない。

今回、Federica Pirroneたちは、2匹以上のイヌを飼っていて、そのうちの1匹が死んでしまったことのある成人を対象とした調査を行った。飼い主のうちの66%は、今回の研究より1年以上前に飼い犬のうちの1匹を亡くしており、そのイヌの死後に生き残ったイヌの行動に変化があったかを尋ねられた。加えて、飼い主たちは、生前のイヌとその他の飼い犬の関係と、イヌの死後の自身の悲嘆レベルに関する質問にも回答した。



Behavioural and emotional changes exhibited by dogs after the death of another dog in the same household could be indicative of grief, according to a survey of 426 Italian dog-owners published in Scientific Reports.

Although grieving behaviours have been reported in a variety of animals, including birds and elephants, it has been unclear whether domestic dogs grieve.

Federica Pirrone and colleagues surveyed adults whose pet dog had died while they also owned at least one other dog. The owners, of whom 66% had lost their dog over one year before the study, were asked about any changes in the surviving dog’s behaviour after the death. Additionally, owners described the prior relationship between their dogs and their own distress levels after the bereavement.

86% of owners observed negative changes in the surviving dog’s behaviour after the death of their other dog. 32% reported that these lasted between two and six months and 25% reported that they lasted longer than six months. When asked to describe these behavioural changes, 67% of owners reported that the surviving dog became more attention seeking, 57% reported that they played less, and 46% reported that they became less active. 35% of owners reported that the surviving dog slept more and became more fearful, 32% reported that they ate less, and 30% reported an increase in whining or barking. Prior to the loss of their pet, 93% of owners reported that their dogs had lived together for longer than one year and 69% described the relationship between their dogs as friendly.

The researchers found that whilst the length of time the two dogs had lived together did not influence the surviving dogs’ behaviour, having had a friendly relationship with the deceased dog and having a grieving owner made negative behavioural changes and fearfulness more likely in surviving dogs. This suggests that negative behavioural and emotional changes observed in surviving dogs could be due to both a grief-like reaction in response to the loss of their companion and a reaction to the grief of their owners. The authors conclude that grief-like responses among dogs are potentially a major pet welfare issue that has been overlooked.

doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-05669-y


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