My Dog Died: Support When Your Dog Passes Away

The grief you're likely to feel after the loss of a pet can often be overwhelming. After all, your dog or cat was probably a huge part of your life for a decade or more. There was once a deep bond, but now there is emptiness and you feel alone...


The grief you’re likely to feel after the loss of a pet can often be overwhelming. After all, your dog or cat was probably a huge part of your life for a decade or more. There was once a deep bond, but now there is emptiness and you feel alone without your pet. Grief recovery is a process that can take longer than you might expect, so give yourself plenty of time to process your feelings.

Several different emotions factor into the grieving process. One of the most common is depression – those lingering feelings of sadness that naturally come with a loss of any type.

In some circumstances, you may also feel guilty, wondering if you did everything possible for your pet, or finding yourself playing the game of “If only I had…” Pet owners who make a difficult decision to euthanize may also be plagued by guilt. Especially in the case of terminally ill pets, it’s important to remember that you made every decision with your pet’s best interests in mind and that there’s no reason to beat yourself up over the outcomes.

Depending on how your pet died, you may also feel anger – say, if you feel a careless driver was at fault, or if you feel your vet didn’t do everything possible in the event of injury or illness.

Experts in bereavement agree that it’s important to express yourself, no matter what you’re feeling, rather than trying to keep your emotions bottled up inside. If the animal you lost was a family pet, the whole family can support and listen to each other, while single people may have to turn to outside family and friends for a sympathetic ear.

It’s also true that friends who aren’t pet lovers may not understand the impact the loss of a pet has had on you, and are not willing to listen empathetically. If this is the case, you may be able to find a pet support group in your area – call your vet or the local humane society for a recommendation.

Dogster’s Saying Goodbye: Memorials & Support forum is an amazingly supportive place to share your loss with others who understand exactly what you are going through. It’s often ranked as one of the most valuable forums in our community.

Remember that other pets in your household may also be grieving. It’s not uncommon for dogs or cats that were raised together to react to the loss of a companion with listless behavior and loss of appetite. You can support them with love and extra attention.

For children, the loss of a pet is often their first experience with death. Being supportive to them means explaining the event in a way that is appropriate for their ages and that fits into your family’s spiritual and religious beliefs. Children under six often don’t understand that death is permanent, while older children may be so curious about the process that they ask questions that seem morbid. No matter what age, let your kids be part of any rituals or activities you plan to celebrate your pet’s life or memorialize its passing.

If your pet died at home or if you had a cat or dog put to sleep by your vet, you may be disconcerted by the process of deciding what to do with the remains. Deceased pets can often by handled by veterinary offices for a fee. Home burial is perhaps the most popular option, giving you the comfort of laying your pet to rest in his own yard or garden. Be aware, however, that in most cities, ordinances discourage or prohibit pet burial, even though it’s unlikely these ordinances will be enforced.

If you rent, or if you move around a lot, home burial may not be an option you’re comfortable with. You can check your local Yellow Pages for a pet cemetery or pet cremation facility. Or, go to The Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement and then click on your state to find a listing of all such services in your area. You can also shop online or locally for a decorative urn to hold your pet’s ashes, or a custom head stone to mark its resting place.

Often pet lovers have to deal with the question of when to adopt another pet. Some may feel ready to do it right away, while others may feel the need to wait weeks, months, or even a year. In general, any time frame is okay, as long as you’re sure you’re adopting a new pet in an effort to move forward, rather than looking backward and trying to replace the pet that you lost.

73 thoughts on “My Dog Died: Support When Your Dog Passes Away”

  1. I lost my dog about a month ago and I’m still grieving from the loss. His name was Gizmo and he was a beautiful 6 year old Yorkie dog. On the morning of October 16 He was sadly attacked by a pitbull and there was nothing we could do. The vet told us that if we were to put him through the surgery to try and save his life it would never be the same and he would suffer. We sadly had no choice but to euthanize. This is the worse pain I have ever been through. I lost family members and that didn’t even hurt as much as losing my dog. I’m only 16 and this pain is slowly eating me alive. I would have never imagined this is how we would separate. I would never wish this pain on anyone. I’m so sorry to everyone who has lost their best friend.

  2. I lost my beautiful dog today. She was a rescue but I think it was the other way around. All I can see is her looking for me and our eyes meeting just before she died. It was a hard decision to make but we had 10 years together. I have lost family and other pets in the past but with this loss, it feels like I lost everyone all over again. I loved her and I just hope I was enough.

  3. Sherian McLaughlin

    Dear M:
    I really understand your loss……I recently lost my Payton and I am a wreck and can not even breath at times. Payton was and still is the love of my life and I am so missing this little warrior who protected me and just loved me for me. I am like you now, a ghost with no life left in her, I can barely walk to the kitchen as I expect to see my darling waiting for me and his treat. May blessing come your way soon…along with peace for the heart and soul.

  4. Sherry McLaughlin

    I so understand how you want your baby back as I lost my Payton this past Friday and I am so hurting and missing him….I have no family but him and I feel his loss so deeply. He was the love of my life and he was a strong little warrior who protected me from anyone that came near us..I wish somehow we could bring our babies back to us just to hold again and kiss their noses to let them know how deeply cherished they are.

  5. I so understand how you want your baby back as I lost my Payton this past Friday and I am so hurting and missing him….I have no family but him and I feel his loss so deeply. He was the love of my life and he was a strong little warrior who protected me from anyone that came near us..I wish somehow we could bring our babies back to us just to hold again and kiss their noses to let them know how deeply cherished they are.

    1. Debra Ann Rutkowski

      Im so broken rescued a morkie at about 10 months old she wasnt alliwed to have dogs so she gave her so much cbd
      And then was going to cut her vocal chords i got this baby she had stomaxh issues would walk around all night throwing up 3 months went thru this
      Then finally settled in she was the sweetest quirkiest baby ever put her toys on my foot would come swimming with me started having blood in her urine 1500 dollars later found she had a kidney stone 2800 dollars later she had surgery 6 days later took her to the vet she was running into things walls her water bowl vet said see a neurologist he was calling next morning that night she had several seizures 5 mibutes then 15 minutes til i took her to er vet they made me put 1000 dollars down or else they wouldnt treat her as fast if i paid as i went so i put 1000 down they came out with a 4800 dollar bill if i kept her there for 12 hrs i said no let me take her so 5 hrs later i took her home she cried and couldnt walk was just swimming i held her and walked her for 7 hours crying
      Until we got to our vet half hour b4 she became comatose i picked her up thought she was dead breathing bery slowly vet came in and put her to sleep she was only about 15 months old i have put down 3 other dogs all rescues oldest was17 i cried and cried for all 3 other dogs but this dog wrecked ne
      I need help plz

  6. My 3 year old baby was diagnosed with lymphoma. Exactly 3 weeks later she was gone. It was too soon. I am so sad, I just want her back. This pain is awful. She was my baby. I have 3 other pups, but she was the baby. The ache in my heart relentless.

  7. After 2 months I still get severe panic attacks. I still cry every night. I still expect to wake up from this nightmare. This is a pain and trauma I have never experienced before. It feels like raising a child for 14 years , to then get it taken away. My beautiful beautiful gentle prince. I am a half person, a shadow of my old self. A ghost among the living, a ghost with half a heart and soul.
    Though- Still I feel him close to me, he comes at night and sleeps next to me, he sends me his love and helps me survive. He is my safe place, my home.
    I love you forever and ever and ever my beautiful boy. Every single day Im looking forward to the moment I will hug you again. My angel prince, my happiness, my breath, my lovely Snowy

  8. Diego Palomino

    We just had to put down our beloved maltipoo last Saturday, putting him down was one of the toughest decisions we have had to take but we could not stand to see him suffering in pain and not being able to stand up anymore. 9.5 years was all God let us keep him. Chico was his name, he will forever live in our hearts. RIP my fateful friend I will see you again and together we will cross the rainbow bridge.

  9. It’s been one year today, 6-15-2020 that my Savannah went to the rainbow bridge. She was the best dog. She was my best friend and I miss her so much. I know I will see her one day.

  10. We just lost our beautiful Daji, she was only 5 months old. We took her to the vet after seeing she was bloated and wasnt eating. They told us she would probably not have made it through the night and gave us some medicine. We were so relieved and we took her home and she seemed to be getting better she laid next to me and we took a nap. I woke up to my wife crying and asking her to wake up. I had always heard how much it kills you inside to lose a pet but its a whole other thing experiencing it. I feel like a part of me is missing now and im not sure what to do. She was so young and we were already planning our life with her, now were in pieces. This forum really does help.

  11. I don’t know how to explain the complete and total devastation that is now my life. Today is 1 week ago that I lost my Bubba. My sweet, loving & loyal Rat Terrier to kidney failure. He was 15 1/2 years old and now my life is on hold, frozen in time. I am destroyed. I don’t know how to go forward from this; everything in my life revolves around missing my Bubba. I still can’t believe he has gone… my life is sad and empty. Nobody understands and I’ve actually had people tell me to consider getting another dog – I’m completely horrified at the suggestion and can’t understand how someone could say something so heartless. What am I suppose to do now without him? I am lost and I am completely alone in my own anguish. This is torture. Will this pain ever get easier…

    1. It’s hard to lose your world. I lost my Savannah after nearly 17 years. She was the best dog in the world. My life revolved around her. She was my best friend. Her kidneys failed and I had to put her to sleep. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do. It’s been nearly 7 months and I miss her every minute of every day. I said I couldn’t think about getting another dog. I was told that when the time came, Savannah would send another fur baby. One month ago I got Cinnamon. She is a 4 month old labradoodle. She will never replace Savannah. It is unreal how we let her pick her place to sleep and she sleeps were Savannah would sleep. Her favorite toy she picked was Savannah’s favorite. There are so many things that her and Savannah do the very same that I do believe Savannah sent her. I thought the same way you did. Give it some time. You will never forget Bubba. Remember all the great things. The pain does get easier. Bubba will send you someone who needs the same kind of care.

  12. I’m looking for a specific quote that I can put on a sign about my pug Japser. I had to set him free from the pain he has been going through last week. I have a blog and have been doing a lot of posts about Jasper. I would love to share my post about Jasper if that’s OK. I don’t know if I can share a link to my blog. I’ve been having a very difficult time when it comes to not having Jasper by my side. I shared the link on the section where it says Website. If you want to read other posts, just click on the header and you can see all my posts.

  13. I lost my male Maltese NAs last night. I had my baby boy for 15 years. He was my everything and had so much personally. I slept with leach and his blue bowtie smelling scent. I went through every video I made of him and watched the video over and over. I will miss his bark when someone is at the door, I will miss him rushing to greet me when I walk in the house, I will just miss him binging there for me and my family. When the ER Vet asked if I would be present when they put him down, I knew I had to be there because he never left me when thing got tough. Nas always knew when I was feeling down he come up and want me to pick him up and he just give kisses.

  14. It has been three months since my Savannah went to rainbow bridge.Today is Sept. 15, 2019. She died on June 15, 2019. I miss her so much. When will the pain end. I know she is at rainbow bridge with my cat Whiskers and they are fine. I walk everyday in Savannah’s memory. It’s not the same. She made me a complete person. I love you Whiskers and Savannah.

    1. i lost 2 dogs last friday due to rat poison and my better half i thought did it i cant get over this i feel so alone in the house if anyone has any ideas on how to deal with this please please let me know……

  15. I lost my Savannah on 6/15/19. She was a Chesapeake Lab mix. She was nearly 15. She had kidney failure. I had to put her to sleep. She was my bud. She went everywhere with my wife and I. Savannah would stand at my bed about 5am. Ready for her walk. We walked morning and afternoon. She traveled with us and we always stayed in hotels that allowed dogs. Everyone loved her. She would slip off and go down the street to visit. One lady said she would come and visit for 5 minutes and then go to the next house. I worried when she would sneak off but she always came back. She loved the water in the ditches and liked to play withthe other dogs around. The vet said her kidney levels were too low and there was no getting her better. She died very easy and I have her ashes on my dresser. I talk to her when I take our walk. I want her back so so bad. I will never forget her and hope to see her again.

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