Coping With The Loss of Your Dog: Navigating the Grieving Process
When a beloved dog dies, the pain can be immeasurable. For many people, dogs aren’t just animals; they’re seen as best friends or family members. Therefore, it’s natural to feel lost or empty when they’re no longer there.
I hope you have a lot of questions in your mind that we will discuss in this article such as:
- When to put your dog down the checklist?
- How to know when it’s time to put your dog down?
- The Right Time to say goodbye to your dog?
- How much does it cost to put your dog down?
- How to prepare for dog euthanasia?
Not everyone will understand what you’re going through. It can be especially difficult for people who’ve never had a pet to identify with your grief.
Fortunately, you don’t have to navigate the grieving process on your own, there is always support you can benefit from. Here are some strategies that may help you better cope with the loss of your beloved friend.
10 Strategies for Coping and Healing with Losing a Pet
1) Talk and Discuss it.
To heal from the loss of a pet, you may need to talk about them. Find people who will listen and who are willing to talk for a long period of time about your pet.
Lagoni says. “Find someone who will allow you to talk at length and reminisce.”
2) Address Sorrows or any guilt feelings
Many pet owners struggle with feelings of guilt at having to euthanize their beloved friend. As an owner, you need to face the possibility that your pet may pass away from natural causes in order to avoid intense pain and suffering later in life.
The important thing is not to treat it as a negative and focus on what you can do for them during the process, rather than taking their life- which should be seen as an honor.
People often combine euthanasia with a memorial service or funeral. Service provides an opportunity to say goodbye and remember their pet in a way that is both painful and therapeutic.
3) Take your time to Deal With your Grief
It can be important to take time while going through the mourning process. However, don’t feel pressured to “get over” your sorrow at any time. The grieving process can be different for everyone and there is no need to move past that process if it is still relevant to you.
4) Never have Douts and Second Thoughts
If you want the details about the death of your pet, get a meeting with your vet to know what happened (crash-related) so that you can be sure about what happened. After resolving any doubts, move on and don’t second guess yourself for years to come.
5) create Memories as a Tribute to your pet
To pay tribute to your pet after they’ve passed, you can plant trees in the memory of their name, volunteer and donate to their favorite animal charity, and install plaques or memorial urns.
6) Move forward with your pet’s loss
When a loved one dies, it’s natural to want to curl up in a ball and never move again. However, that’s not what will help your dog heal. In fact, it may do the opposite.
Giving your dog space and time to mourn their loss is important for their emotional well-being. They need time to process what has happened and grieve properly.
Give them plenty of hugs, pet them gently, and let them know you’re there for them. But don’t try to force them to get up and start living their life again right away.
7) Don’t Rush to Buy a New Pet
After a loved one dies, it is natural to want to get a new pet as soon as possible. However, this may not be the best idea. A new pet can take up a lot of your time and energy, which you may not have if you are grieving.
It is also important to remember that you may not be ready to handle another pet’s health problems and changes in routine.
Wait at least six months before getting a new pet. This will give you time to mourn and get your life back in order before bringing another animal into your life
If you’ve just lost an old pet, give yourself time to adjust before buying a new one. This will help you avoid making any rash decisions that could end up causing more stress for you.
8) Put your Pet Loss feelings on paper.
It can be hard to process your feelings after losing a pet. But writing them down can help you to understand and process them better. Start by writing down what happened and when it happened.
Next, write down what you were feeling at the time. Finally, write down any thoughts or questions that come up after losing your pet. Doing this will help you to process your loss and hopefully create closure.
9) Accept That It’s Okay to Grieve a Pet
Contrary to what many people believe, it’s not “just a dog”. You may have confided in your canine pal, celebrated their birthdays, or gone through various phases of your life with them by your side.
Your feelings are valid and real, regardless of what anyone else thinks. It’s okay to grieve; accepting this is the first stage in coping with your loss.
10) Understand That the Grieving Process is Unique to Each Person
No two people will experience grief in the same way. Some people will grieve for years while others may grieve for a few days or weeks. However, many pet parents initially go into denial after their dogs pass.
This is a coping mechanism that helps to protect them until they can process the loss. Some people try to bargain with God, themselves, or their pet, while others feel anger at themselves, their veterinarian, or another individual. Guilt is also a common emotion.
You may go through all these stages one after the other, at the same time, or not at all.
What will undoubtedly happen is that you will feel sad and you may become withdrawn or depressed. However, over time, that sadness will decline as you accept that your pet is gone.
11) Join a Support Group
Connecting with other people who are going through a similar experience can help you to understand that the way you’re feeling is normal.
If there are no in-person pet loss support groups near you or you’d rather not attend them, there are still many other ways to get comfort and/or advice.
There are online groups and support hotlines and if necessary, you can also see a therapist for private sessions.
12) Look Into Custom Pet Urns for Dogs if You Chose Cremation
If you opt for cremation, pet urns for dogs allow you to keep a part of your dog with you forever.
Personalized pet urns for dogs can be designed in a wide range of sizes and styles that match your pet’s personality or your personal preferences.
You can choose from a wide range of materials and variations depending on whether you want to scatter the ashes, hold onto them, or split them up among multiple family members.
13) Erect a Headstone or Get Creative with Your Memorial
If you choose to bury your dog, you can mark its final resting place with a tree, flowers, or a headstone.
Other options include commissioning a portrait of your pet, creating a shadow box with their favorite blanket or toy, or starting a scrapbook with photographs of them.
14) Hold a Memorial Service
Many people choose to hold a memorial service. This can follow either burial or cremation and it is an excellent way to say goodbye especially if there are children involved. You don’t need to be religious to mark your dog’s passing in this way.
15) Create A Tradition in Your Beloved Pet’s Honor
Many pet owners do something special in their pet’s name on the animal’s birthday or another meaningful date.
They may make donations to a shelter or volunteer with an animal charity. Some people opt to remember and honor their dog on August 28 – Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day.
16) Assist Children Who May Also Be Grieving
For many children, the first time they experience death is when they lose a pet. They may blame themselves for the animal’s death or think the veterinarian didn’t do enough.
Children may also become afraid that they’ll lose other pets or people in their lives. Adults often try to soften the blow by keeping a brave face and saying the animal ran away.
However, this could backfire. It’s best to let the child know that the dog isn’t coming back. Let them know that you’re also sad and help them to work through their feelings in an age-appropriate way.
17) Lend Support to Older People in the Family
Seniors can also have a hard time coping with the death of a dog.
In some cases, the pet was a trusted companion while other members of the household were at work or school.
Losing the dog can remind them of people they lost in their lifetime or the fact that they will eventually pass away.
It’s important that you help older members of the family maintain their sense of purpose even in the face of great loss.
Ensure they get lots of social interaction and professional counseling if needed.
They may also enjoy volunteering with an animal charity if they’re physically able to do so.
18) Give Your Surviving Pets A Little Extra Attention
Pets also grieve, especially if they had a close relationship with the dog who died. They may lose their appetite or become withdrawn.
Even if they weren’t particularly close to the other animal, they may pick up on your emotions and become distressed.
Following your normal routine as much as possible and giving them some extra attention will likely help you both.
19) Don’t Rush Into Getting Another Pet
Some people are eager to welcome another pet into their hearts and homes right away while others need some time.
Regardless of where you fall on this continuum, you need to remember that no other animal will truly replace the pet you lost.
It may be best to give yourself some time to grieve before you adopt another animal. You’ll know when you’re ready.
20) Give Yourself Some Grace
Losing a pet is hard and you need to be gentle with yourself as you go through the grieving process. Even though your dog is no longer with you, you can draw on others for support.
You can also look into pet-urns-for-dogs or other custom memorials, and develop a tradition in your pet’s name. In time, you’ll become better able to handle your loss.