An illustration by LhasaLife of a dog staring into a rainbow over a meadow

Coping with the loss of your dog

Losing a furry best friend can be devastating. Whether you've recently lost a furry family member or are preparing for the inevitable, this guide will help you navigate this challenging time with love, kindness, and support.

Losing a beloved dog can be one of the most challenging experiences a pet owner can face. Dogs, in particular, are known for their loyalty and affection. The loss of a family dog can leave a significant void in our lives. Coping with the loss of a dog can be a long and emotional journey, but there are ways to help you through the grieving process.

Acknowledge your feelings

The first step in coping with the loss of your dog is to acknowledge that your feelings are totally valid. It’s normal to experience a wide range of emotions. You’re probably going to feel sadness, anger, guilt, and loneliness. It may not even be in that order! Everybody reacts different and your timeline is individual to you. It’s important to allow yourself to feel these emotions and not suppress them, as this can prolong the grieving process.

Talk to people

Friends and family members can offer comfort and help you navigate through the grieving process. The people around you will understand that this is a difficult time for you. Some of your friends and family will even have their own experiences of pet loss. You should never be afraid to reach out for help from loved ones when you need it.

Take care of yourself

You really need to focus on staying healthy and taking care of your self. Your wellbeing is so important, particularly at this difficult time. Grief places immense stress on your body, both physically and mentally. Try your best to get enough sleep. As hard it is probably is, you should also try to eat as regularly as you can, and engage in activities that bring you comfort and joy. It’s important to remember that everyone grieves differently, so don’t compare your grieving process to that of others. Never invalidate your own feelings.

Consider seeking professional help

Sometimes the best help and advice can come from people who aren’t in our close circle. You might be really struggling to cope with your loss which means you find it difficult to carry out daily activities. If that’s the case, you might want to seek professional help. Try to find a grief counsellor or therapist. They can provide support and guidance through the grieving process.

Create a memorial

Some people like to create memorials of their pets after they pass. This can be really meaningful and is a great way to honour your dog’s memory. Ideas range from things like photo albums, to custom art pieces. You could even create a memory box filled with your dog’s toys, collar and any other mementos.

Celebrate their life

Your dog played an enormous role in your life. Focus on the wonderful memories that you shared together and make this an opportunity to celebrate their life. You might consider organising a memorial service or hosting a gathering of friends and family to share stories and photos of your dog. You could also make a donation to a local animal shelter or rescue organisation in your dog’s memory.

Create new routines

Adjusting to life without your dog is a tough ask. Being able to create new routines may help with this process. It could be something as subtle as adjusting the route of your daily walk. You could even try your hand at a new hobby. This can help you find new sources of joy and meaning in your life.

Consider adopting another pet

While adopting another pet may not be right for everyone, it can be a helpful way to honour your dog’s memory and provide a new source of companionship. Before adopting, take time to consider if you’re ready for another pet and if you can provide the time, love, and resources needed to care for them. It may be that you need to create some space to grieve first.

Remember, healing takes time

Healing takes time. The grieving process is different for everyone, and it’s important to give yourself time to process your emotions and adjust to life without your dog. Be patient with yourself and don’t expect to feel better overnight. Ultimately, dogs are family and it is really tough to lose a family member. You need to take some time out to feel the way you feel.


Coping with the loss of a dog can be a hugely challenging and emotional journey. There are thing that you can do to help you through the grieving process. Focus on acknowledging your feeling and talking to the people around you. Take good care of yourself and ensure you seek professional help if needed. Your feelings are entirely valid. While the loss of a dog is extremely difficult, it’s important to remember that the memories and love you shared together will live on forever.

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