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Grieving Over The Loss of a Pet: Coping Tips for Pet Owners

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Grieving Over The Loss of a PetLately in our Facebook group, I have been seeing quite a few posts where beloved Chihuahuas have passed away. I know it’s a part of life and something we all know will eventually happen, but it’s still so sad. All of us who have loved and lost a pet know the heartbreak it causes. When our beloved fur baby passes away, they take a little piece of our heart with them.


One of the things most people want to know when they are hurting so badly, is when will it get better? Everyone heals at a different rate. And it won’t happen all at once. You will notice as time goes on, that the hurt lessens with time and there will come a time when you can think about your fur kid and not cry but smile at the wonderful memories you had with them. But do realize, it never goes away completely.

It is important that you work through your feelings. Don’t try to stuff them down and hide them. You need time to process your grief. You are going to feel a deep sense of sorrow and loss. There is just no getting around that. Your dog was a big part of your life, and now they aren’t there. You may start crying uncontrollably when you come across one of your dog’s toys or see their leash hanging on the hook. All this is normal. Just let it happen.

One of the things that is hard about grieving for an animal is that often times, people won’t understand. They will think, and sometimes even say to you, “It was only a dog”. They would never think of being that callous if you lost a human family member. They just don’t understand the depth of your love or your grief for your dog.

So it’s important to talk about your grief with people who do understand. You can talk with us on our facebook group (here’s the link to join if you haven’t already:  ) or find a pet loss grief group on facebook. I found this one:

If your dog hasn’t passed yet but you know that day is coming soon and are wondering about Euthanasia, here are some things to consider.

  • Please know it’s normal to feel guilty about this and feel like you are “killing” your dog.  But you would feel guilty either way. I let one of my dogs go way too long because I couldn’t bear the thought of losing him and I still feel guilty about that. He wasn’t in any pain, but all quality of life was gone. Do what is best for your dog, not what’s best for you. This is the time you need to be strong for them and love them enough to let them go when it’s time.
  • Please stay with your dog during the procedure if you can. I have a friend who is a vet tech and she says it breaks her heart for the animals when their families leave them during the process. The pet, who is already afraid and may be in pain, will feel like you abandoned him if you leave him to die without you. This is another time when you need to be strong for your dog and do what’s best for him or her.
  • Although it’s a little more expensive, if you can afford it, see about having a vet come to your home for the Euthanasia. Your dog will feel much more comfortable going through this in their own home, rather than a vet clinic. I know for myself, when my time comes, I would much rather pass away in my own home than a hospital; wouldn’t you? Here is a website where you can put your zip code in and find a list of veterinarians who will come to your home for this:

What To Do With Your Dog’s Body

There are several options here.

  • You have the option for your Veterinarian to dispose of the body. They usually will charge a fee for this.
  • You can bury your dog in your own backyard. Just be sure you go deep and be careful not dig near any utility lines in your yard.
  • You can bury your dog in a pet cemetery.  This is the most expensive option but it’s a nice way to honor them.
  • You can have your pet cremated. There are lots of nice urns available .

Other Pets

Your other pets may or may not show signs of confusion or grief when your pet passes. When my last dog died, he died at home and I let the other dogs come and see his body so they would know he had passed and not wonder why he wouldn’t be there anymore. Of course, this isn’t always possible to do.

Your other pets may grieve for their lost companion or they may not. However they will notice that you are grieving and that may cause them stress. So either way, give them some extra cuddle time. It will be good for them and for you too.

Grieving Chihuahua


Depending on your children’s ages, they may or may not understand about death. Here’s some things to consider:

  • Do not say that you “put your dog to sleep” if the child is young. This may cause some sleep issues in the child. Remember, kids take everything literally.
  • In the same vein, do not tell your child that your dog “went away.” This will just leave the thought in the child’s mind that the dog may come back. They need to understand that their dog is not coming back.
  • Depending on your belief system, you can tell them your pet is in heaven, and is no longer in pain.
  • Let them grieve too. They will probably need some time to deal with their own grief. Be there for them and let them grieve the way they need to. Don’t stop them from crying if that’s what they want to do.
  • Encourage them to do something in remembrance of your pet. When my beloved Cocker Spaniel died when I was a kid, I made a little book about him, complete with illustrations. It really helped me. You child may want to do something like that, or maybe have a little memorial service for your dog, or do a craft project related to your dog (a painting, clay art, etc.).
  • Check your library, local book store or Amazon for books for kids about losing a pet.

When to Get a New Pet

Some people want to get a new pet right away, but in my opinion, it’s best to wait a bit. By getting a new pet, you are not giving yourself a chance to adequately grieve for the old pet. You need to give yourself at least a month or two.

I know this from personal experience. When I was in my mid twenties, my 2 beloved Yorkies Ernie and Chassie died in a tragic accident. The grief and guilt I felt was almost too much to bear. In an attempt to help me get over it, my parents bought me a new Yorkshire Terrier puppy named Wendy. I loved Wendy, but I was never quite able to bond to her like I had with Ernie and Chassie. I think it was because I hadn’t been able to work through my grief over them.

Remember Them

One of the things I have done to remember a pet that has passed was to get together a bunch of photos of him and make a poster sized framed collage.  You can also donate to a rescue or shelter in remembrance of your dog, get a garden stone with their name on it, or get a special ornament to remember them.

You will get through this. Many of us already have.

Have you lost a fur child? How did you handle going through it? Or are you dealing with a new loss of a loved one right now? Feel free to tell us about your pet in the comments.

Cathy signature Chi


Saturday 20th of November 2021



Saturday 20th of November 2021

I'm so sorry Jessica!

Kimberley A Cap

Friday 13th of November 2020

Sugar was almost 10 she developed epilepsy 5 years ago resolved by seizure guard herbs found online. Two weeks ago i fell depressed the election, my husband lost job, stressed i didnt see her i fed her chunks of meat and dry food always out. I didnt recognize night seisures she was suffering she died. Im crying lost reaching for her throughout the night. She saved me many times with her fierce companionship. Im 61 she died young im so sad i could have saved her if i paid better attention. Feed frequently small portions keep her blood sugar stable. Feed herbs. Feed properly. Looking back she was trying to get my attention. I was depressed now lost. I will miss her. I pray Jesus is holding her and saving her for me. Tears


Friday 13th of November 2020

I am so sorry Kimberley! That is so hard and to have guilt and depression on top of grief, it's just a lot to bear. There's nothing I can say that can help you, although I have been there too (2 of my dogs died 30 years ago because of an oversight of mine and it was very hard to forgive myself).


Friday 26th of July 2019

My son and his family just had to have one of their dogs euthanized a couple days ago. The vet came to their house for the procedure. Their 4 children (ages almost 5 to almost 11) were there while it was being done, so they were able to say goodbye to Jack. It has been hard on the kids - Jack was older than all of them, so they've never been without him. They are having him cremated, but haven't gotten him back just yet. Jack was 13 or 14 years old, which is fairly old for a border collie mix. I know they will all miss Jack; he was a special dog.


Friday 26th of July 2019

Yeah that is tough for kids to lose a dog they have known their whole life. I'm glad the euthanasia was done at home and Jack was surrounded by the people he loved the most.


Saturday 26th of January 2019

I had to have my little Maggie put down Wednesday morning. She was with me for 15 years plus my wife do 33 years divorced me about a year ago. Maggie was about to suffocate due to heart and respiratory issues. I stayed with her when the er vet euthanized her. It’s hard to unsee since it was. 3 days ago. I feel hollow inside, but I couldn’t leave her when she was so scaired. This sux.


Saturday 26th of January 2019

Gary you are very brave and loving to stay with Maggie when she needed you the most. You have had several traumatic losses lately so take it easy on yourself. It takes time for things to get better. It will help if you get some help, someone to talk to like a grief loss group or a counselor.

Morianna Steele

Monday 21st of May 2018

Words cannot describe the amount of sorrow I felt reading what you wrote. Chica was my sister. It might sound bad to say, but she was closer to me than either of my siblings. I miss her daily and I think about her even more now. I had a feeling it would be the last time that I held her when I left to move to Georgia. And I cried. I felt guilty for crying about the dog but not worrying about anyone else...When I was visiting Georgia in January I broke down about Chica to Daulton, and that I’d have to lose my horse too. I did everything in my power to get even closer to her and spend the most amount of time I could before I left, like taking her to Ace Hardware because she wanted to go bye-bye with me. She never wanted to go anywhere with anyone but you, so I felt I needed to take her if she wanted to. She followed me around and laid with me a lot more than she used to. I enjoyed it a lot and it made me feel very loved. I tried to do all I could to help you guys figure out what was wrong. Sometimes there’s nothing you can do but make them live a happy and comfortable life for whatever time they have left. Loss is a part of life and you can do everything in your power to prepare yourself for it, but it doesn’t help. Chica Marie was different than any other dog I’ve had. She was a little person and was unexplainably special to me. She still is. I love you Mom. -Your Daughter


Wednesday 6th of June 2018

I'm just seeing this sweetheart. I love you so much. Thank you for this. I miss her furry face daily. She was special that's for sure. Never had or met a dog like her before. She really thought she was a human! Love, Mom.


Monday 21st of May 2018

Chica sounds like she was a very special little dog.