As an online pet store (and proud dog owners!), we’ve had several customers ask us about how to deal with the loss of a pet. Whether you just received horrible news that your dog will need to be euthanized, or you lost your pet in a tragic car accident, you’re feeling numb and heartbroken. How can you deal with what’s happened in a way that’s mindful and that honors the memory of your beloved animal?
Storm of Strange Emotions
First off, accept the grief. It’s totally normal to feel a range of intense emotions after losing a pet – even a pet that you don’t know that well. You may not just feel sad and depressed — you may also feel angry, lethargic, moody, or otherwise out of balance. These emotions are part and parcel of the grieving process. To the extent you can, try to sit with these emotions and avoid pushing them away. Research into the grief suggests that our ability to stay mindful of our emotions can help us self-regulate better.
You might also notice that other animals in your home may likewise go through a grieving process. For instance, perhaps you had two dogs, and you lost one of them. Noticing her companion’s absence, the other dog may spend several days lying on the couch, not playing and feeling morose. Give the other animal love and affection and lean on her for extra comfort.
“Not a Big Deal”?
Tragically, many people do not respect or understand pet related grief. It is perfectly normal to feel intense emotions. Do not feel bad if you need to take time off of work or seek therapy to deal with your grief.
Meet Your Needs
Make sure to take care of your needs during this time. Eat healthy food, get sunshine and fresh air, and lean on social support. Avoid rushing out to get a new dog or other pet to “fill the void” — give yourself and your family at least a month of space.
You may also want to create a ceremony to honor your pet — this might be particularly meaningful for young children who just lost their first pet.
For more pet related tips visit the Sadie’s Pet Store Blog
If you would like more information on raising pets, visit the Sadie’s Pet Shop blog. and check out or line of training leashes for dogs! If you have any questions, feel free to contact Sadie’s Pet Products at (925) 380-6781.