Losing Your Dog Can Be Harder Than Losing A Friend or Relative

Losing a dog can be hard!

Did you know that losing your dog can be harder than losing a friend or a relative? Anyone who has experienced the loss of a pet knows the bond between humans and animals can be extremely strong. Science has confirmed this to be true and lots of studies have been conducted on the impacts. In fact, the New England Journal of Medicine reported one 61-year-old woman began experiencing severe chest pains following the death of her dog. The woman was admitted to the Emergency Room where doctors diagnosed her with takotsubo cardiomyopathy — otherwise known as “broken-heart syndrome” — a condition with symptoms that mimic a heart attack.

Take Time to Heal

That’s why the grief you may experience with the loss of a pet can be just as intense as what you feel when you lose a human you are close to. For some, the grief will be transitory. For others, it will take some time to heal. There are no quick fixes for making the pain you feel when you lose a pet go away. But there are things you can do to help cope with your grief over the loss of a pet.

Grief and the Loss of a Pet

The grief you feel over the loss of a pet should never be minimized. Whether the animal was a favorite cat, a faithful dog or even a little hampers or turtle, pet loss can spark deep feelings of grief in the people who cared for and cherished them. 

Everyone is Different

Everyone experiences pet loss differently. There is no reason to expect specific behaviors from yourself or from others. You may experience fluctuations in the intensity of your grief for some time. For example, you may think you are coping well when an empty dog bowl, or cat toy, creates a rush of grief; this is a perfectly normal part of the grieving process. To learn more about the grief process and it’s five commonly accepted stages read The Five Stages of Grief. Being aware of these emotional shifts can help you understand that what you are feeling is completely normal.

You may never forget your furry friend, but over time you will be able to think about him or her without the deep anguish that comes with a recent loss. While everyone has a different approach to healing, there are some things you can do to help heal the pain of losing a pet.

Six Tips For Coping With the Loss of a Pet:

1) Accept what you are feeling is normal

2) Allow yourself to grieve

3) Reach out for help and comfort

4) Create a ritual

5) Memorialize your pet

6) Give yourself a break

Accept what you’re feeling as normal:

 The Five Stages of Grief. Being aware of of the Five Stages of Grief and the emotional shifts associated with each stage can help you understand that what you are feeling is completely normal.

Allow yourself to grieve:

Don’t minimize your grief. Whether the pet was a favorite feline, a faithful dog, or even a little turtle, the loss of a pet can spark deep feelings of grief. Everyone experiences loss differently so there’s no reason to expect specific behaviors.

Reach out:

Turning to a family member, friend, clergy, or support group may give you an outlet for expressing your feelings. Sometimes just sharing your feelings with others who understand can help. If you want to reach out but aren’t sure where to turn, pet loss hotlines can help.

Create a ritual:

Today many people turn to pet funerals and memorial services as part of the grieving process. The activity of planning can be therapeutic for the entire family. While you may not want to hold a full-blown funeral ceremony, creating a ritual may help you say goodbye and offer comfort and closure. Your ritual can be as simple or as complex as you like.

Memorialize your pet:

Creating a lasting memorial of the time you and your pet spent together helps many people deal with their grief. Some of the most popular ways are to create a special photo album, find a special spot for your pet’s remains, or to have a special burial spot. The information below on Creating a Lasting Memorial offers some other ideas on how you can create a memorial to your pet. We also have a page dedicated to way to memorialize your pet.

Give yourself a break:

There is no need to put yourself on a grief timetable. Take care of yourself by eating right and getting enough rest. Exercise and take brisk walks. Taking care of your physical and emotional needs will help you heal more quickly. Be good to yourself!


With Over 30 Years of History: Bark Busters® has grown to be the largest dog training company in the world, with over 1 million dogs trained, I invite you to discover why dog owners around the world have come to understand and value Bark Busters® successful methods of “training dogs the Aussie way”!

This information is brought to you as a public service by Bark Busters® Home Dog Training-the world’s largest most trusted dog training company. Bark Busters® is the only international dog training company that offers guaranteed lifetime support. Find more information by contacting your local dog behavioral therapist at 1-877-500-BARK (2275) or by visiting www.BarkBusters.com or Bark Busters of Alpharetta and Roswell, Georgia

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