Shelter Dog Meal Donation Count:

Learn More

Dealing With The Loss Of A Dog? Here Are 10 Tips To Help You Grieve

Written by: Scott H
Scott Haiduc is the Director of Publishing for iHeartDogs, iHeartCats and The Hero Company. When not working, Scott spends his time on the farm, taking care of his animals and crops.Read more
| Published on January 30, 2019

Dealing with the loss of a dog can feel impossible. Here are some tips to help manage the pain.

There are few things worse than losing a beloved pet. As a loyal and loving family member, you become accustomed to sharing daily life with your four-legged friend. When they go for the final walk across the Rainbow Bridge, the pain can seem unmanageable. If you recently lost a pup, here are 10 ways to help you deal with the heartbreaking loss of a dog.

Allow Yourself Time to Grieve

Like losing anyone in your life, time is necessary for grieving. While there are always a million things on your to-do list, allowing yourself the time and space to grieve is crucial. There is no “set” amount of time for grieving a pet; take as much time as you need to fully experience your emotions.


Write a Letter to Your Dog

If you use writing to express your emotions, writing a letter to your dog is a good way to cope with their loss. You can write any type of letter you would like. For example, you can write a thank you note; thanking your dog for all the wonderful memories you shared together. You can write a letter highlighting all the fun times you had together and the trips you took. You can even write a letter reminiscing on everything you loved about them: from the way they tilted their head to the side when you made their toy squeak or any one of their little quirks. Keep the letter in a safe space, so you can reread it anytime you are missing your pup.


Accepting the Reality of Death

No matter how much time you shared with your pooch, acknowledging they’re gone can take weeks, months, or even years. Don’t be too hard on yourself when grieving – everyone grieves differently and in their own way. It takes time to build a relationship with a pup and it will take time to adjust to the loss. Additionally, you’ll have to adjust to being a non-pet owner. A lot of people identify as pet owners, and when they no longer have a pet, they can lose their sense of identity. Take as much time as you need to adjust to this change.

Memorialize Your Pet

Memorializing a pup that has cross the Rainbow Bridge is a great way to keep their spirit alive. There are numerous ways to memorialize them. Creating a shadow box filled with their tags, collars, or favorite toy is a great way to memorialize your dog. You can also keep your dog’s ashes in a special box so that they are always with you. Creating or purchasing a painting, as well as keeping photographs, of your beloved dog is another way to memorialize them. And, you can also have braceletsor necklacesmade with their name or with charms that remind you of them so that your pup is always with you.


Have a Funeral

Funerals help to provide a sense of closure for grieving humans. Holding a funeral for your deceased pup is not only a way to celebrate their life but get some closure for the loss. You don’t have to think of a funeral in the traditional sense – it can simply be a short memorial in the backyard or even a moment of silence at the dinner table.

Visit Their Favorite Spot

While it may seem unbearable at first, visiting your dogs favorite spot can become a place of peace and tranquility. You can reminisce on all the great memories you shared and feel close to your dog. Even visiting once or twice a month can help with the grieving of your loss.


Cherish Everyday Like It’s The Last. Here Are 12 Signs Your Dog May Be Preparing To Cross The Rainbow Bridge.


Seek Support

Sometimes seeking support from a loved one or a professional can help immensely when it comes to grieving. You certainly don’t have to grieve alone, and if you feel like the sadness and pain is unbearable, talking to a loved one  can certainly help. Sharing stories and laughs, while in the short-term may results in tears, will help to bring peace and a sense of calmness.


Maintain Routines

If you have additional animals, maintaining a routine is not only important for them, it can be helpful for you, too. Additionally, your living animals are also probably suffering from the loss of their furry sibling. So, maintaining a routine – like their walking and feeding schedules – is crucial to keeping a sense of structure and can also help you cope with the loss.

Take Care of You

When it comes to grief, humans can experience all kinds of physical side effects, such as loss of appetite or trouble sleeping. Try your best to continue eating and getting enough sleep to ensure you don’t become physically ill – although you’ll probably already feel that way. Additionally, make sure to take the time to do activities that you enjoy, like visiting friends or grabbing lunch at your favorite restaurant. Taking care of yourself is essential to the grieving process.


Try Volunteering

Because caring for your pup probably took up much of time previously, filling that void through volunteering – either at your local animal shelter or wherever else you choose – can help. While being around other animals may be difficult, it’s also a great way to mend your broken heart. Or, you can try focusing your energy on learning a new hobby or taking a class. Finding new ways to fill your time can help boost both your optimism and morale.

Gone But Never Forgotten

It’s extremely difficult to lose a family member. From waking up every day with them to sudden silence can be extremely painful – both emotionally and physically. Try using these tips to help you cope with the loss of your beloved dog. But remember, there is no right way to grieve the loss – do what feels right to you. And while the goal may be to lessen your pain now, remember that the memory of your furry friend will live on in your heart forever. Take comfort in the wonderful life you had together.

Surround Yourself with Their Memory

For many pet parents, surrounding yourself with keepsakes that helps keep your dog’s memory alive can help. If you’re looking for some pet memorial ideas, this resource might help.

Recent Articles

Interested in learning even more about all things dogs? Get your paws on more great content from iHeartDogs!

Read the Blog