How to Deal With Grief After Your Dog Dies: 11 Tips

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Suffering the death of your beloved dog and faithful companion can be heart-wrenching. This type of blow can leave you suffering great pain, sadness, and confusion over days, weeks, and months. Losses such as the death of a dog can often go unrecognized by friends and family who may not understand when you tell them, “I’m devastated that my dog died.”

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Some people are unable to comprehend the significance of a pet companion’s death. However, it is important to remember that experiencing grief over the loss of your dog is real and immeasurable. There are days when you’ll feel the effects of your loss more than others.

Dealing with your grief after your dog dies may prove challenging at first, but in time, you’ll learn how to survive through your loss little by little with each passing day.

What You Can Do to Help Your Grief Immediately After Your Dog Died

After suffering this type of loss, you may not know what to do when your dog dies. There are so many thoughts and emotions racing through your head that you may be unprepared for the grief reaction that follows.

Grieving the death of your dog is normal and expected. You may need some time to start feeling back to your old self after their death. You can do some things immediately after their death to help you cope with your grief to lessen the effects of your sorrow and pain. 

1. Hold your dog

Coping with a pet loss is one of the most challenging things to go through, especially if it was just the two of you providing love, companionship, and support to the other. Losing a pet can feel as emotionally devastating as losing a loved one. Sometimes it can feel worse, depending on how close the two of you were. 

To help ease the emotional pain of losing your pet, it helps to hold them one final time. Don’t be afraid to hug your dog close to you immediately after they die. Holding your dog, hugging, and kissing them will help give closure to your relationship. Talk to your vet about proper disposal, cremation, or burial of your dog’s body after you’ve had time to say your final goodbyes.

2. Say your goodbyes 

Take the opportunity to say your final goodbyes to your dog immediately after it dies. Talking to your dog and saying the things you needed to say one last time will ease some of the pain of losing them.

You can tell your pet how much you loved them and what they meant to you. Let your dog know that it’ll be challenging to move forward without them there to greet you as before, but that you’ll slowly try to find new meaning in your life now that they’re gone.

3. Talk to someone

Call someone you trust immediately after your dog dies so that they can come over and console you during this difficult time. Going through this experience alone can be especially challenging. Having someone to share your grief with will make it easier for you to cope with your loss. 

When choosing who to call, keep in mind that not everyone is sympathetic to the loss of a pet. Some people simply cannot understand how a dog can mean so much to you. You may hear insensitive responses to your loss, such as, “It was just a dog,” or “you can always get another one.” Try and avoid calling someone with this particular outlook on pets, so they don’t make you feel worse than you already do. 

» MORE: Lose a pet? Create a diamond from their ashes to help you remember how they brightened up your life.

 

What You Can Do When You’re Missing Your Dog After It Died

You can expect that you’ll go through good days and suffer some bad days after your dog dies. Emotional ups and downs are a normal part of the grieving process and should be expected to occur for several weeks after your cherished pet’s death.

To help you while you’re mourning the death of your dog, consider engaging in activities that’ll help lift your spirits whenever you’re missing them the most. 

4. Go through their things

Don’t get rid of all of your dog’s toys, blankets, and things immediately after they die. Consider placing their favorite things in a bin and storing them for later use when you feel the need to be close to them.

During those days, when you’re missing your dog, pull out the bin and go through all the mementos that you’ve stored. You may find yourself bursting into a fit of tears, but this release of emotions is good for you as you begin to heal from your grief.

5. Look at old photographs

Going through old pictures of you and your dog more than likely will make you laugh and cry all at the same time. You may find yourself missing them at that moment more than ever.

Expect that the photographs will cause you to remember things that you may have forgotten about your pet. Don’t allow feelings of guilt or shame to surface for having forgotten certain things about your dog or for continuing to mourn their death.

6. Talk to others about your dog

Sharing stories and memories of your pet with others will help you deal with your grief. The more you talk about your pet, the more you’re able to release any emotions you may have unwittingly been suppressing.

Some people may not understand why the death of your dog has affected you so much. You may want to skip talking about your pet and your grief to them and consider talking to someone else who understands the significance of your loss. 

What You Can Do When You’re Overcome With Tears After Your Dog Died

The death of your beloved pet can be traumatic and a devastating loss to have to shoulder. There will be times when your emotions will get the better of you, and you might find it difficult to control your sadness and sorrow. 

7. Take a few deep breaths 

There’s nothing wrong with expressing your feelings and emotions. It’s okay to cry whenever you feel an overwhelming need to do so. Consider taking a step away from a public area and finding a quiet space where you can be alone with your grief. 

Allow the tears to flow and take a few deep breaths to help calm yourself. Pay close attention to each breath that goes in, hold it for a second or two, and slowly release it to the count of five. In a few minutes, you’ll find that your grief has somewhat subsided, and you’re ready to resume whatever you were doing. 

8. Go for a walk

Walks can be very therapeutic when you’re grieving a loss. Whenever you find yourself overcome with grief, take a few minutes to go out for a walk. Don’t let the weather detract you from going out to enjoy nature.

Sometimes a little bit of fresh rain or brisk air can do wonders for the soul. Bundle up if you need to, but do find the time to take a walk to help calm your emotions. 

9. Cuddle your other pets

Sometimes when a pet dies, you might find yourself neglecting any others you might have. If you have more than one pet, set some time aside to love and cuddle your other pets.

You’ll not only feel better, but they’ll also feel better as well. Pets grieve their losses in much the same way that you do. They feel and understand the loss of other pets in the household and can sense your pain.

What You Can Do to Remember or Memorialize Your Dog After It Died

Experiencing the loss of your dog can trigger some intense pain and emotional responses. Your grief reaction to their loss will depend on how long you had your pet, the bond you shared, and their death circumstances. 

To further help you cope with your grief, it might help you read books about losing a pet. These books offer tips and advice on dealing with your pet’s loss and how to move forward and heal your pain.

10. Have a memorial plaque made

One way to commemorate your pet’s life and death is to have a memorial plaque made with their picture and dates of birth and death etched in. This is a beautiful way to create a lasting pet memorial to help you get through some of the more challenging days ahead. 

11. Plant a garden

A pet memorial garden is another way to remember your furry loved one after it has died. The grieving process after a pet loss can last anywhere from several weeks to several months. In some instances, you’ll grieve the death of your pet for many years after they’ve died.

Planting a memorial garden in their honor will help alleviate some of the pain associated with their loss. If you don’t have an outdoor space dedicated to their memory, consider installing an indoor rock or zen garden. 

12. Donate a park bench

You can create a legacy in your dog’s honor whenever you donate a park bench engraved with their name on it. To help you cope with your loss, consider installing a bench in some of your favorite places that you’d take your dog to. The local dog park or town square is a good place to seek permission to sponsor or donate a bench. 

To find out if you’re able to have a memorial bench installed, contact your local city offices or parks and recreation department. They will know who to direct you to determine the availability and costs associated with donating and installing a memorial bench. 

Coping After Death of Dog

Dealing with the loss of a pet can deplete your energy and overall well-being. It’s essential to continue to take care of yourself as you learn to live without your beloved and cherished pet. Take the time necessary to grieve your loss, and don’t be ashamed of missing your dog and grieving over their death. In time, you’ll start to feel better slowly.

After you’ve healed, this might be an excellent time to consider adopting another pet if you think you’re ready to do so.

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