Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner
1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
93 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I read somewhere on here that someone had a dog with pretty severe behavioural issues that tried to kill itself.

I've heard of pets that lick out their fur, chew themselves or refuse to eat because of emotional distress, but I figured even a severely emotionally damaged animal would have a basic drive to live. I mean, it's debated that they are even able to feel guilt, could they grasp the concept of their existence and then attempt to end it?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20,764 Posts
I don't necessarily think that "trying to kill himself" and "committing suicide" are always the same thing the way most people would say it. I would probably make a silly comment that a puppy who eats rocks is "trying to kill himself" but that wouldn't mean he's suicidal. So it depends on the context as to whether that's what they really meant.

But I have a weird idea of what animals are capable of, especially cats. I think cats are capable of suicide. They're generally depressive animals, and under certain circumstances I think can and will make the decision to end their own lives. Dogs are less depressive, and I have never met a suicidal dog. But that doesn't mean I think they're not capable of it--they probably are. But like humans, just because they're capable of it doesn't mean that many will actually do it.

And I don't think that not understanding vague and theoretical human concepts like guilt is connected to their cognitive ability, or the ability to make life-and-death decisions. They don't think the same as humans, but they do think. Kind of a cultural difference, I guess. Most Americans don't understand the concept of ritual suicide, but to the Japanese it's just the way things are.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,415 Posts
If dogs could commit suicide, you'd see a bunch of Chihuahuas/pocket pets dressed in little outfits that match their owner's, dead in their owner's purse.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
261 Posts
I know that dogs can mourn themselves to an early death, I saw this with our Schnauzer/Wire Terrier mix many years ago. My step-father had passed away from a sudden heart attack, and that never-before-sick dog caught parvovirus and was dead within a month...he just kept staring at the chair where my step-dad would sit...it was chilling.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,196 Posts
Do I believe that dogs can commit suicide? Assuming that suicide = consciously taking one's own life to end suffering

No, absolutely not.

Dogs do things that may result in their death. They may even, out of stress, due self-destructive things. But I do not believe, at all, that dogs can commit suicide. That would require a complexity of thought and emotion that, as much as I love dogs, I know they do not possess.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,927 Posts
Wow, this thread brings up something that I hadn't even thought about.....do dogs have a concept of what death is? I mean really....they would have to understand that there is an alternative to life if one were to "commit suicide". They would also have to have a concept of what it takes to live (for example a dog knows that it sucks to not eat, and they feel weak, but do they understand the full consequences). If they do that means that we definitely don't give them half as much credit as they deserve as "higher functioning".

Hmmm....creepy thoughts. I personally don't think they do, and can't commit suicide. The mourning to an early grave is different, and I've heard tell of it many times.

:doh:now I'm in an existentialist frame of mind...my husband is going to find "dinner conversation" quite irritating when he gets home lol
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
93 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
What a depressing thread I've started, lol. In regards to the dog dying shortly after his owner died, that's very sad. My grandma's cat died within a couple weeks of her passing. Just curled up and went to sleep forever against a bale of hay...like to think she stroking that miserable little bastard in the after life, he was so mean to us grandkids, haha.

Regarding the above post of the little purse dogs killing themselves...you watch South Park, no? :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,015 Posts
Do I believe that dogs can commit suicide? Assuming that suicide = consciously taking one's own life to end suffering

No, absolutely not.

Dogs do things that may result in their death. They may even, out of stress, due self-destructive things. But I do not believe, at all, that dogs can commit suicide. That would require a complexity of thought and emotion that, as much as I love dogs, I know they do not possess.
Yeah that. I don't think that dogs understand death or can reason to the point of thinking 'If I do this, it will end my life'.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,405 Posts
Wow, this thread brings up something that I hadn't even thought about.....do dogs have a concept of what death is? I mean really....they would have to understand that there is an alternative to life if one were to "commit suicide". They would also have to have a concept of what it takes to live (for example a dog knows that it sucks to not eat, and they feel weak, but do they understand the full consequences). If they do that means that we definitely don't give them half as much credit as they deserve as "higher functioning".
I think dogs may understand life and death much more cleanly (without fear and superstition) than we do. And be much less likely to commit suicide because they do. I do think we don't give them half as much credit as they deserve as "higher functioning"
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
871 Posts
I don't know. My BIL had a gsd for
many, many years. Shortly after an awful divorce, followed almost immediately by a heart attack and surgery of his own, his dog seemed ill. Took to vet, who said he was just old. Soon after, one night the dog woke him up to be let out, he let him out and the dog disappeared. This dog had never, in like 14 yrs wandered off...BIL followed the tracks as far as he could but never found his dog. He has since believed the the dog knew he would die and left to spare him the heart break of watching him die. Who knows.

I watched a documentary involving a man who believed his dolphin committed suicide. As in....the dolphin knew it had to breathe to live, but chose to hold bits breath til it died.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
496 Posts
commiting suicide, no idea. knowing their time has come id say yes. We had a chocolate lab who all of the sudden was healthy one day and sick the next ( we think she was posioned by our neighbors but my parents at the time didnt have the $$ to have it looked into :( ) She was in the garage with my mom and she was laying on a blanket. My mom had answered the phone which wasnt in view of our dog. She heard her whine and hung up right away went to our dog who licked her and then put her head down and just... passed away.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
490 Posts
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
192 Posts
I think suicide in animals is a pretty tough question...

How do we define the behavior? Is deliberating hurting oneself suicide? or suicidal? Is a self-inflicted death enough to constitute as suicide? Or does the agent have to have a CONSCIOUS psychological awareness of the concept of life and death as we humans do. I don't think thats something animals have. I think suicide is a behavior where 1) the agent has conscious awareness of life and death as two different states, 2) the goal of the behavior is death, NOT getting out of the crate, getting to the other side of the river, mating, etc...

so while we see a lot of suicidal behavior or animals that kill themselves, but I don't think we can prove or disprove the two criteria I listed, so thus, I don't think there is a scientific answer.

finally, from a evolutionary perspective, organisms that seek death as oppose to life probably won't survive the process of natural selection.

also, just to add, animals that have been observed to "commit mass suicide" (e.g. lemmings jumping off cliffs), are not really committing suicide. Death is simply a result of a non-suicidal goal driven behavior (in the case of lemmings, I think they just want to get to the other side of the river in their migration).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,443 Posts
The lemmings were pushed! Crazy story, but absolutely true.

I don't think that dogs consciously commit suicide. I think they do go off to be alone when they know it's time to die. I think they must understand death on some level (I remember Patricia McConnell was interested in her dogs' reactions when one of her pack died and she allowed the others to sniff the body; I think the story was in The Other End of the Leash), but how could we even figure that out?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,065 Posts
I believe some animals will go alone to die when and if it's there time.
This ^ ...... ^ ....... ^ for sure. My Uncles Boxer at the age of 11 just turned around and pooped in the house one day. When my Uncle asked him nicely why he did it ... the dog bit him. Although the dog, Mr. Peepers was abused as a puppy by a previous owner ... he was never abused by any of us. Mr. Peepers went outside and just disappeared into the country woods and was never seen again. I truly believe he knew his time was up and had to have the last word before he went off to die. Poor dog .... he was a wonderful boy.
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top