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Bereaved dog owners have higher stress levels and a decreased quality of life than current owners

L. Tzivian, M. Friger, T. Kushnir

OWNERS may find the loss of their pet a very stressful experience, whether the death was caused by euthanasia, an accident, or as a result of an illness. The longer an owner has a pet, the greater the attachment they can have to it, and as dogs and cats' average lifespan is shorter than their owners, the loss of a pet can occur more than once. Research has shown many owners grieve for their pets in the same way they would for the death of a friend, and in extreme cases may result in an owner being hospitalised for psychiatric treatment. The aim of this study was to compare the levels of stress and explore the correlates of quality of life (QOL) of adults who currently owned a dog and those who had recently lost their dog.

The QOL of 110 current and 103 bereaved, female dog owners from Israel was assessed. This was done using a questionnaire which comprised four QOL categories: physical health, physiological wellbeing, social relationship and environmental. …

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