Written by Natasha Tanic, a psychologist with more than seventeen years of experience in mental health, counseling, and education.
One of the greatest challenges every pet owner sooner or later faces is how to deal with the death of a pet dog.
Most of us consider dogs our family members or friends because of the loyalty, affection, and soothing effects their presence has on us.
We take care of them and share our everyday lives with them.
Why is the Relationship Between Dogs and Humans so Special?
The relationship between humans and dogs reaches as far back as 14 000 years.
The dog’s company provides joy, comfort, and support.
Dogs play a significant role in a child’s development. They can boost a child’s self-esteem, teach kids how to express emotions, and help them deal with stress.
Caring for a dog can teach children essential social and emotional skills such as:
- emotional control
- stress management
Also, owning a dog can benefit our mental health and overall well-being.
Your dogs’ company can have a soothing effect.
It can alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression symptoms, helping you feel relaxed and more optimistic.
So, dealing with an illness and passing of our adored pet dog can be highly challenging.
If you have ever lost a dog, then you know how deep the grief can be.
For most dog owners, the pain of losing their animal friend equals the suffering experienced when losing a loved one.
Your Best Friend is Gone: How to Deal with the Death of a Pet Dog?
Unfortunately, the dogs rarely live longer than their owners.
So, while you know that you will ultimately have to say goodbye, you can never be prepared for the inevitable.
Below are guidelines on how to deal with the death of a pet dog.
Start by Acknowledging Your Feelings
Do you feel sad, lonely, or overwhelmed?
Accept your Feelings
Well, you lost your four-legged friend, so allow yourself to grieve.
Understand that grief is a natural response to loss.
It is a process that will enable you to adapt to the change in your life brought by the loss.
Therefore, accept that it is okay if you get easily irritated, angry, or depressed.
It takes time to heal, so you should not feel guilty about not wanting to talk to people or going out.
Acknowledge yourself for doing the best you can to survive through painful times.
Express Your Feelings
Writing about our feelings and experiences can be a great way to acknowledge intense emotions and process the painful experience.
Journaling is a wonderful self-help strategy that involves writing about sad feelings, thoughts, and experiences.
Research shows that journaling can help release the intensity of distressing feelings while increasing your ability to observe them mindfully, without self-judgment.
How Journaling Helped
It helped me while I was grieving my dog who passed due to a tumor in 2017.
The emptiness and sadness I felt at the time were hardly describable.
But I started writing down random thoughts about my dog and the emptiness his passing has left.
Seeing my feelings on a paper helped me process my grief and express gratitude for my dog’s presence in my life.
Evoke Happy Times with Your Dog
Will the reminiscence on the good times with your pet dog help?
Most likely, it will because these warm memories can provide a bit of comfort and laughter while you are grieving.
Reminiscing fond memories of your dog pet is an excellent way to acknowledge how important their loss is to you.
Also, evoking fun times together can remind you of how fortunate you were to have a beloved pet in your life, which might help ease your sadness.
Remembering good times with my dog brought a swirl of emotions – I would be laughing and crying at the same time.
But it helped me feel grateful for my dog, which brought peace and helped me accept the fact that he was gone.
Talk about It
Sharing your experience with family and friends can help you deal with the death of a pet dog.
While no one can truly understand the depth of your sorrow, sharing your feelings with close people can help.
An open conversation about your loss will let you know that your feelings are valid and perfectly normal.
Your family members and friends will honor your feelings, which can help move through the grieving process you heal.
Turn To a Support System
A pet loss support group in your community can be a safe place where you can talk about your loss, share stories, and get helpful advice on dealing with the death of a pet dog.
There are various online support groups, chat groups, and forums where you can receive support while grieving the loss of a dog.
We often refer to dogs as a man’s best friends because of the loyalty and affection they show in interactions with their owners.
However, losing a dog is usually a heartbreaking experience, so that the grieving process may take some time.
Grief occurs as a normal response to any significant loss in life.
To deal with the death of a pet dog, acknowledge your feelings and allow yourself to grieve.
Then, seek support from your family and friends or reach out for some pet loss support groups in your community and online.
The Resources about Grief and Dealing with a Pet Loss
Online Pet Loss Support Groups and Counseling
- Association for Pet Loss and bereavement: https://www.aplb.org/
- com: https://www.petloss.com/
- Animal Love & Loss Network: https://www.facebook.com/The-Animal-Love-and-Loss-Network-86307792487/
- Rainbows Bridge Grief Support Center: https://www.rainbowsbridge.com/Grief_Support_Center/Grief_Support_Home.htm
- In Memory of Pets: https://in-memory-of-pets.com/
- Pet Memorial Program, Washington State University: https://www.pet-loss.net/index.shtml