How To Cope When Your Dog Passes Away

March 12, 2022 3 min read

How to cope when your dog passes away

Losing your dog to illness, old age, or a life event is a challenging time. It may be hard for people to understand what you're going through, especially those who haven't had a pet in their lives. 

Coping with bereavement when your pet passes away is not easy. They are part of your family just as much as humans are. It can take a long time to deal with the grief and it may help you to find coping mechanisms after your dog passes away.  

With these tips, hopefully, you will find some ways to move forward: 

Give yourself time to grieve for your pet

When dealing with the loss of a dog and pet bereavement, people will grieve for different time lengths. Nobody will grieve in the same way nor will they grieve for the same length of time. Therefore, it is important to listen to your mind and body and give yourself as long as you need to grieve. It may sound simple or far too obvious, but it's true.

Decide what to do with the body

Although this part can be incredibly difficult, it is a good idea to decide what to do with the body as soon as possible. This is the first step of managing the concept that they are gone and it will ensure that you can send them off in a way that gives you comfort and peace.  

Options include cremation or burial. Deciding to have a service might help you celebrate their life in a happy way and think about the happy times rather than focusing on the sadness of the event. If your dog is cremated, you could go to a place you loved the most, scatter their ashes and think about them running free.

Choose who you spend time with

You don’t need to explain the loss to other people, but you can if it helps. Some people might think ‘but, it’s just a dog’, and their opinion doesn’t matter. You simply need to focus on your own process and opinions to help you get through it.

If you've got friends who you meet up with, whilst it may be hard to walk without your dog, it may also be a cathartic part of your grieving process and remember the good times you had. Your doggy friends will be the ones who will offer support and understand your loss the most.

Being kind and patient to yourself will help you process all of the different emotions involved with grieving - denial, anger, depression, and acceptance - and can help get back to life and begin to feel a sense of peace. 

You may wish to speak to a trained bereavement counsellor to help you cope.

Rainbow over field representing when your dog or pet gets their angel wings

Cherish memories of your pet

Every dog owner will have amazing memories. It is a good idea to revisit these memories when you are ready so that you can focus on the happy times and remember the positives that your dog brought to your life.  

Print out a beautiful photo of your dog and get a gorgeous frame to create a lasting memory.

Understand that it isn’t your fault

However your dog passed away, it is important to understand that it isn’t your fault. Whether they were ill or something sudden happened, you were not to blame.  

Instead, overcome this denial and doubt with the happy times and love you gave them. You might ask yourself whether you gave them enough time and love and just ensure to tell yourself that you did. They were likely your best friend and therefore, you gave them the best life possible.  

Walking with your dog on a spring day

Love and loss

Having any pet in your life is a responsibility, and part of that is knowing their lifespan will be shorter than yours. They bring love, light and joy to our world. Coping when your dog passes away is another part of bringing a dog into your family home. Ultimately the love they bring will stay with you long after they have gained their angel wings.