7 Ways to Cope With the Loss of a Pet

People love to own a pet and especially a dog. Dogs make one of the best companions for you as they stay loyal and love the owner with all their hearts. Those who have a dog know how they also become an important member of the family. But unfortunately, they do not have a long life span. Due to illness or old age, we often lose our dog, and the pain becomes unbearable.

When people lose their dog, they feel they have lost their best friend, and there is emptiness and void inside them. Although your dog has played a significant role in your life, it is important to know how to grieve and cope with the loss. 

Why Does Losing a Dog Hurt So Much?

When you bring a puppy or dog home, you do not have any idea how much they will matter to you. After a certain period of time, the pet owners dread the thought of losing their dog. Those who have already lost a pet dog have gone through immense pain. 

Every dog owner experiences a different intensity of pain and grieves differently. But the empty feeling that comes after losing a dog makes it harder for humans. People can’t say there is a proper way to grieve the loss of their dog, and everyone takes a different approach to cope with this pain. 

Normally on average, a dog lives for 13 years, and by this time, they become a huge part of our life. Dog owner’s daily routine gets incomplete without playing fetch or taking their dog out for a walk. People who experience the death of their dogs know about the traumatic experience and the void in one’s heart after losing their companion. 

Humans often see themselves in their pets and often share their feelings with their pets. Having a dog can change your life, and they bring immense joy and happiness to your life. Many times dog owners have said how losing their dog made them experience the same amount of sadness as losing a family member. As you share a deep bond with your dog and treat them like a family member, it hurts so much to lose them. People often find it hard to cope with the loss of their beloved dog. In such cases, they need to take help from professionals to overcome this pain and sorrow. 

The Stages of Grief After Losing a Pet

When we lose a pet, it becomes impossible to first get that thought in our minds. People often need to go through a long period of grief and depression before they feel better. Most of the time, people react differently to losing a dog and go through different stages of grief. First, pet owners should know that it will take a considerable amount of time to grieve the loss of their beloved dog. We often go through 6 stages of grief after losing a pet.

1. Shock

After losing a dog, you and your family member will require some time to process the loss. This is a time you will stay in shock. It is important to stay kind to yourself and let the shock sink in. This will take time as much as losing a family member. Many people had said that after losing their dog, the whole house remained silent for a couple of days before people started talking to each other. 

2. Anger

After the shock, you start to experience the absence of your dog, and gradually it starts to make you angry. You get angry and think about how unfair life can be. You will get angry at the sudden accident or the disease that occurred suddenly. Many times this anger makes people hate themselves and think why they did not take better care of their dog. Professionals have said that feeling angry is a normal part of grieving the loss of a dog. 

3. Denial

Next comes denial, where you might feel completely fine with losing your dog. Some try to cover the wound and pain by adopting another new dog. Although people can buy a new dog, they should know that this new dog will not mend the broken heart. After losing a dog, you might feel sad for months. It is important to grieve the loss properly before getting a new pet.

4. Guilt

The majority of the time, people go through anger and consider it guilt. But guilt occurs later in the grieving process. When this occurs, you keep on thinking and feeling how you could have done things differently. It is important not to blame yourself as it will help you overcome the guilt. If you feel burdened, then talk to a friend about your deepest regret and get another opinion on the matter. Try to remember the happy times spent with your dog and keep yourself busy. 

5. Depression

Among all the stages of grieving, people find it hardest when depression hits them. This occurs, and you feel trapped inside a dark hole from where you can’t come out. To get out of this stage, it is necessary to face the fear of loss and deal with it. Shutting off emotionally will not help and cause a decline in mental health. Let the pain and trauma be a part of your life and let it help you grow as a person.

6. Resolution

No matter how much you feel that you won’t come out of this period of sadness, after a while, it will subside. Not grieving the loss of your pet does not mean that you don’t love your dog anymore, but it rather indicated your healing process and growth. From this, we learn that you can get someone beautiful from loss as well. 

How to Deal with the Grief of Losing a Pet?

After losing a pet, normally people experience sorrow and grief. Just like losing a friend or family member, people need to grieve the loss of their dog as well. We will now discuss how to deal with the grief of losing a pet whom you loved dearly. 

1. It is okay to feel the way you do

Firstly don’t let anyone else say how you should feel after losing a pet. You need to understand that you can take all the time you need to move on from this phase. Do not feel judged or embarrassed about the way you feel. You have all the right to feel angry, sad, and eventually, let go and become happy again.

2. Get in touch with others who have lost a pet

You can reach out to your friends and family who have also experienced the death of their pet or get onto social media platforms and connect with others. This way, you can become a part of a support group where others can understand the emotions you feel after losing a pet as they have experienced the same. 

3. Choose rituals to help with healing

Some people might think holding a funeral is a waste of time, but dog owners and the family member can get the ritual done for the peace of their mind. Just do things that feel right for you. 

4. Create a legacy

Many people also try to create a legacy for their dog by planting a tree, preparing a memorial, making a scrapbook, and celebrate the life of their beloved dog by sharing it with others. By remembering the happy times will help you move on from the grief. 

5. Take care of yourself.

After losing a pet, many people slip into depression, and it starts to take a toll on your mental and physical health. It is important to keep yourself in check and eat properly. Maintain a healthy diet, and also indulge in exercise to feel good. While you do exercise, your body will release endorphins, and that will boost your mood. 

6. Opt for professional help if required

Many people find it hard to cope with the loss of their dog. For them, if the above-mentioned steps do not work, then they should seek professional help. By going to support groups or getting therapy will help you grieve the loss and move on from it eventually. 

7. Look after your other pets

Just like you, your other pets will also notice the absence of your dog, and they will become sad. You need to look after them and notice whether they eat properly and do not become sluggish. 

When to Get Another Dog After Your Dog Dies?

The death of your dog can leave you heartbroken and shattered for days. At that moment, people don’t usually think about getting a new pet. But when people ask when the right time to get another dog is, they should know that there is no right or wrong time. For some, it can take days to grieve the loss of their dog before they move on, or for some, it can take months or years.

Every individual grieves the loss of his or her dog differently. For this reason, everyone has a different timeline that they follow when it comes to moving on and getting a new pet. Many people try to adopt a new puppy within days as they can’t bear the void of not having a dog. 

On the other hand, another group of people requires months or years before they can let another dog come into their life. And some also take the harsh decision of never having a dog again. It is important to feel that you have reached the position mentally and physically to welcome another dog into your dog, and then you should consider having another pet. 

Do not make the mistake of bringing home the first dog that you notice. Take your time and do your research about the breed, age, size, and other vital aspects then make a decision. You can also choose to adopt a dog from foster homes and provide them with a safe and forever home. The foster homeowners can help you get an idea about the dog you might want to adopt. Owners should know that no other pet can replace your beloved dog, but bringing a new puppy or dog will again bring extra joy and happiness to your life. 

How Long Does It Take to Get Over Losing a Pet?

The time required by a person to move on from the grief of losing their pet varies from person to person. Some people have said they required only a few days to move on. On the other hand, some said it took them four months to a year to start and feel normal again.

A pet owner should understand that they can take as much or as little time they want to grieve and move on from this situation. Everyone needs a different span of time. But they should make sure to stay healthy both physically and mentally and allow themselves to feel the loss and pain. This will eventually help them let go and heal from the pain and grow as an individual.

If you keep all the emotions bottled inside, then it can cause major problems such as depression and anxiety. Those who find it hard to let go of the pain even after a year of losing their pet should seek professional help. They can help you heal from the pain and get over it.

Conclusion

Owning a pet is the most amazing feeling as they become your family and best friend. But owners often fear that they will lose their dog someday down the line. Although losing a dog can negatively impact your mental and physical health, you should find a way to move on. Try to take some time and grieve the loss properly. Allow yourself to feel all the emotions and approach the situation positively. As mentioned above, try to create a legacy for your dog and eventually try to bring another dog into your life who will make you happy.

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