Coping with the Loss of a Dog: 4 Strategies to Help You Heal

Updated 03/26/2024 by Ava Jaine

This post contains a video.  You can watch the full video here.

Losing your dog can be an extremely difficult and painful experience.  While everyone experiences dog loss differently, there are a few strategies that can help you move forward and heal from the loss of your beloved companion.

In this post (and video), we will discuss Coping with the Loss of a Dog: 4 Strategies to Help You Heal.

Please know, these strategies are not meant to eliminate the pain and grief of dog loss, but to help you navigate through your loss and help you find peace.

coping with the loss of a dog

Here are four things to help you cope with the loss of your dog.

Write it Down

Find a notebook and a pencil and write down what happened and how you are feeling right now. 

Getting everything out on paper can help you find relief. All of your guilt, sadness, and fears. Your pencil may not be able to keep up with the words that will pour out.

When you are finished writing, the spinning in your head will stop and the weight of the shock will be released.

You aren’t done with being sad, but this will help you be able to breathe again and it’s your first step towards mourning the loss of your beloved companion.

woman writing in a journal to help cope with the loss of a dog

Talk About Them

Keep talking about your dog. Don’t shy away or avoid those happy memories you had with your pup.  The time together with your companion cannot be based on how it all ended.

Death does not represent the whole relationship you had with your dog.  Reflect and focus on the positive memories that you shared.

Make a Memorial

Celebrating the memory of your beloved dog is a good way of establishing closure. 

  • Write a letter to your dog. Tell them how much they meant to you.
  • Create a shadow box for their collar.
  • Make a picture collage.
  • Have a special funeral.
  • Reserve a special space in your home or at your favorite park to spend time remembering your dog.
  • Plant a tree or a flower in their memory.
  • Make a memorial donation to an animal charity.

There really is no wrong way to memorialize your dog’s life and the special experiences you shared with them. You can choose as simple or as elaborate as you like. Your choice of a memorial is unique to you.

Video You May Like: Here’s a quick video on how to make a beautiful shadow box for your dog.

man sitting on the beach holding his older dog sitting next to him

Take Care of Yourself 

Grieving the loss of your dog can be draining emotionally and physically. Finding ways to feel normal again is an important step towards healing. Develop new routines and make adjustments that define your life moving forward.

Make Time to Heal

Give yourself permission to grieve the loss of your dog.  Take special time out of your day to just stop and sit quietly, cry, or just take some deep breaths.  Allowing yourself to show your feelings is not a sign of weakness.  This is a part of healing to help you be able to move forward.

A person holding their dog's paws in their hands

Get Involved

Attend social events, join exercise classes, or do some volunteering.  Getting yourself out there can help give you and your mind a break from everything.

Reach Out For Help

Seek out support from your dog-loving friends, join a pet loss support group, or talk to a counselor. They can offer you genuine sympathy for your loss.

Talking with other dog parents who have experienced the death of a dog can be extremely helpful with the grieving process.  If you don’t feel comfortable talking to other people, try art therapy. Counseling and therapy will help you release so much pain and grief.

Silhouette of a woman sitting on a lake dock meditating over the loss of her dog


Practicing calming methods like meditation or prayer can help clear your mind and allow you to feel more grounded.  Meditation helps to actively focus on your breathing and release any stressful tension or anxiety in your body. 

Keep this in mind, there is no time limit on grief.

It is yours alone, not someone else’s.  Be patient with yourself and allow the process to run its course naturally.

What has helped you grieve the loss of your dog?

Meditation for Loss of a Dog Post
How to Cope with the Loss of a Dog Post