How to Cope with the Loss of a Dog: A Healing Guide for Dog Owners

Updated 03/26/2024 by Ava Jaine

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

When your dog passes away, you often feel lost, in shock, and confused.  Here’s how to cope with the loss of a dog, a healing guide for dog owners.

My Personal Experience

In 2018, I lost my mini dachshund, Reno.  He was my best buddy, and the shock of his death sent me into a whirlwind of pain and hurt that I had never felt before.

One moment, he was playing and romping around the house, and the next he was gone.

It felt like a limb had been separated from my body, it was the worst feeling.

He was a huge part of my life and happiness, and I wasn’t sure how to keep going without him by my side. I had to say goodbye even though I didn’t want to.

Everything was spinning out of control.

Old photo of a black and tan dachshund sitting on the couch

What You Need to Know

The biggest thing that I learned from my Reno’s passing was that I wasn’t the only one going through this type of loss.

There are so many dog owners that need help getting through such a heavy and painful grief.

Notice that I said “getting through…” Not moving on or staying stuck.

If you’re feeling lost or confused after your dog’s death, the first part of your healing path is to hear the following statements.

1. Your dog wasn’t just a pet

They were a big part of your family and a big part of you. They brought love and companionship into your life.

Your dog added routine and structure to your everyday.

Sometimes, we don’t become aware of how much we relied on our dogs for a sense of purpose until they are gone. 

It is completely normal to feel such a strong sense of painful grief both mentally and physically when your dog passes away.


2. You will be OK

You are a grieving person who will smile again and will love again. The relationship you shared with your dog is a very special and unique bond.

Allow Healing Time:  Take time to release your emotions in your own way. Take time out of your day to stop and give yourself permission to grieve. Feel what is in your heart.  Let it out, don’t keep it in.

cope with the loss of a dog

3. It does matter, and it hurts

The loss of your dog can sometimes feel like a ton of bricks pounding you up against a wall. Allow those hard to bear, heavy, sad thoughts to come through.

Healing will happen when you go through the pain.

Remember this, there is no such thing as moving on, we move through the pain with our losses.

The pain of your loss will not magically disappear, it will change with time.


4. You are not alone

There are bereavement groups specifically for dog loss. So many people have also gone through dog loss, and they are the best people to talk to right now, because it happened to them.  And some day, you will be there for others too.

Grieving is unique for everyone. The method people use to cope or survive the loss of a beloved dog can be very different between members of the same family.

You don’t have a time limit or deadline for your grief.


Everyone will take a different amount of time to go through the healing process of losing their dog. The way that we personally grieve is an expression of the love that we felt, the pain of the loss, and what we need to do to be able to keep going without our faithful friend. Your dog’s memory isn’t gone, it will remain with you forever.

Moving on is not the next step…moving forward is.


We want to hear your story and learn about your healing journey.  What has helped you grieve the loss of your dog?

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