What to do when a Pomeranian Littermate Dies

By on October 3, 2014
pomeranian littermate dies

The grieving process for everyone is different be it humans or Pomeranians, but when a Pomeranian littermate dies it seems especially difficult. I was terribly heartbroken when my little Luka passed… one, because it was so sudden and two, we were told there was nothing to worry about… famous last words.  I’m an adult most of the time and realize that rescuing Pomeranians and giving them a home is a huge gamble. Most Rescue Shelters don’t ask that many questions when owner’s surrender their dogs, so there isn’t much information to go on and you kinda leave it up to your Veterinarian to guide you through the first year or so making sure everything is okay. pomeranian littermate dies

When we rescued Luka and Niko… we had absolutely no information on them. All we knew was that they were littermates and had been together for at least 5 years. When I held Luka for the first time he clung to me like he was never going to let go… and when we brought these two beautiful boys home, they did everything together. Ate, drank, played and even slept on top of each other. They would chase each other around the house and when Mika would try to join in, Luka would bark at her to stop and then kept playing with Niko. pomeranian littermate dies

pomeranian littermate dies

When a Pomeranian Littermate dies

So when Luka died… I didn’t know what to do about Niko. If I was this heartbroken, I couldn’t even imagine how Niko felt. Some experts say that dogs don’t have the same feelings that us humans do but I know that Niko was heartbroken because he looked it. You don’t have to be a member of Mensa to realize, Luka’s brother was hurting. Like I said, I didn’t really know too much about what happens when a littermate dies, so I contacted my “go to” Animal Behavior Specialist, Cricket. pomeranian littermate dies

Some of the things she told me were pretty much common sense… but as the saying goes, “it might be commonsense but NOT common practice”.  Here are some of the things that need to be done when a Pomeranian littermate dies :

  • Try very hard to keep as close to the same routine as you always have (feeding time, walking, playtime)
  • If the littermate is lethargic, not eating or just plain sad looking, let them be (I know when Luka died… I didn’t want to be cheered up… so don’t try to make your Pomeranian happy… let them grieve. )
  • Leave all the blankets, toys and bed the the littermate had out for a week or so.
  • Do not try to pair them up with other dogs if you have them… it will come naturally. If you have multiple dogs the death of one of them will create a a hierarchy shift in the household. Let it happen. We are going through that right now. I think Yoki is taking her position as the Alpha in the pack… our little Yoki is all grown up.
  • If you don’t have other dogs/Pomeranians… give attention as the Alpha to the remaining littermate as a bonding exercise. Some things to do are; brushing, petting, teaching them a trick or two. These are bonding exercises, not changes in the routine. These are considered little extras. pomeranian littermate dies
  • If your Pomeranian littermate didn’t get to see his brother or sister die… it will take a little longer for them to adjust. Because of the nature of how Luka died, we weren’t able to have Niko see him. It is recommended that if a littermate or long time dog mate dies, that the remaining dog should be there to understand… they will usually sniff and either yelp, whimper or just bark uncontrollably… let it happen. It’s heartbreaking but it is how they understand. Niko still searches for his brother whenever he goes outside or to my husband’s office. You can tell he smells his brother but can’t find him.

I know it sounds crazy because most people should notice that their Pomeranian littermate isn’t acting their normal happy self but here are a few things to look for to know your littermate is grieving.  pomeranian littermate dies

  • Decreased Appetite
    This is a sure sign your Pomeranian littermate is grieving. Pay close attention to how much less they are eating… if it goes on too long significant weight loss can occur and cause health problems for the remaining littermate.
  • Lethargy and Depression pomeranian littermate dies
    Obviously you’re not a doggie psychiatrist so you probably weren’t trained in doggie psychology but certain things won’t happen… if they are lethargic or depressed. Most commonly your Pomeranian littermate won’t want to play with his toys, or play with you. They will refuse to go on walks and just lay by the bed or door. It basic terms they won’t want to engage you as they once did when the littermate was around.
  • Separation Anxiety
    If you never seen a Pomeranian with separation anxiety consider yourself blessed, because it is painful to watch. Your Pom will demonstrate a fearful running from room to room, jump up on chairs, couches, and tables… just looking for the other littermate. If that’s not bad enough they will want to know where you are every minute of the day… and if you leave the same type of running happens. Other symptoms are; excessive salivation, barking, whining, destroying items in the home, attempting to escape from the crate or room, eliminating in the room or crate, scratching at walls, doors and floors, and even trying to jump through windows. If the latter happens you need to consult an Animal Behavior Specialist. It is worth the money to not have broken and torn up furniture.

    • Excessive Vocalization
      You may find your Pomeranian is a little more vocal then you are used to. These vocalizations may not be barking but often are whimpering, howling or a kind of whining. They may do this in front of you or off alone somewhere. This type of behavior along with the some of the other symptoms of grieving can last upwards of several weeks.

    pomeranian littermate diesEvery set of littermates are different but as with what I have experienced so far with Luka’s littermate, Niko, this is what I can come up with. Niko is starting to adjust to this new chapter in his life. It truly isn’t the same without Luka but he is adjusting. He is starting to come out of his shell and be the beautiful boy he knows he is. Patience and a commitment to being an awesome Pommy Mommy is all that it takes to get through when your Pomeranian Littermate dies. If you have experienced a death of a littermate please add your comments below. pomeranian littermate dies