It’s something we never want to think about: saying goodbye to our best friend, our family member, our loyal companion. Losing a beloved dog can be a devastating, lonely experience, but we’re here to tell you that grieving the loss of a loved one – no matter their species! – is completely natural. Coping with the loss of your canine friend can be challenging, but there are ways to help navigate through this difficult time. Here are our recommendations for dealing with this unique kind of grief.

1. Allow yourself to grieve

First and foremost, it is important to allow yourself to grieve. It is natural to feel sadness and even anger after losing a pet, so permit yourself to feel these emotions without judgement. The extent to which the loss of our dog affects us often catches us off guard, so be prepared to feel all the feelings.

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2. Reflect on the happy times and process at your own pace

Remember the good times you shared with your dog. Reflecting on happy memories can bring comfort and remind you of the special bond you had with your furry friend. Remember to move at your own pace too; while some people find solace in their dog’s belongings and would rather sort through them gradually as they grieve, others would rather pack up their dog’s belongings promptly. 

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3. Seek support

Seek support from friends and family who understand the depth of your loss. Talking about your feelings with loved ones can provide emotional relief and validation during this tough time. However, sometimes others don’t understand the depth of loss we often experience when losing a dog. If you’re unable to get support from your usual circle of family and friends then there are some services such as the Blue Cross’ Pet Bereavement Support Service, which is staffed by trained volunteers ready to listen and help. 

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4. Take care of yourself

Engage in self-care activities that promote healing and self-compassion. This could include exercise, journaling, meditation, or spending time in nature. Make sure you’ve got the basics such as sleeping and eating covered too – if you feel you may be struggling with signs of depression, then it’s time to talk to a professional, such as your GP.

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5. Create a memorial

Consider creating a lasting memorial for your dog as a way to honour their memory. Planting a tree or creating a photo album can serve as tangible reminders of the love you shared with your furry companion.

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Coping with the loss of a dog is never easy but by allowing yourself to grieve, remembering happy memories, seeking support from loved ones, engaging in self-care activities, and creating lasting memorials; you can begin to heal and find peace in honouring the memory of your beloved canine friend.