How to cope with the loss of your dog
Bereavement is one of the biggest causes of depression in the world, and the loss of a beloved pet – like a dog – can trigger such an episode.
The first thing to bear in mind is that it’s entirely normal to experience feelings of guilt and unhappiness when a pet dies. We are social creatures, and our dogs are a part of that social network. Their death can often feel untimely, shocking and hard to reconcile.
But in today’s article, we’re going to explain the steps you can take to reduce the pain, and to learn to cope with the grief going forward.
Talk about the way you feel
Often, the best way to navigate a difficult stretch is to discuss it with someone else. You shouldn’t feel silly reaching out for professional help – the loss of a dog is like the loss of a family member, and those of us who give it this level of significance are often able to move on more quickly. Professionals are there for a reason and should be used if needed.
Tell your children what has happened
If you have young children, it can be tempting to gloss over the event and explain the animal’s absence as a temporary “going away” period. But this will only prolong the questions you field and make life harder in the long run. Let them down gently – but be honest. It will stand your children in good stead as they get older.
Don‘t let yourself get consumed by feelings of guilt – especially if your animal died unexpectedly. Keep doing the things that bring you happiness and remember that grief is normal. It too shall pass. The worst thing you can do is wallow in self-pity. Death is a natural part of life; albeit one we try not to dwell on too much.
Keep a consistent routine going for your other dogs
It’s not just people who grieve loss – other dogs in your family will feel the absence too. To keep them in the best possible frame of mind, ensure you maintain the routine they’re used to. Be it designated meal times and walks at a certain hour of the day, these are important components of a stable and happy existence. You’ll also benefit on giving your other animals the attention and care they deserve.
Discuss the possibility of getting a new pet
Eventually, once you’ve grieved, you’ll be open to the idea of bringing a new four-legged friend into the family circle. Don’t feel guilty about doing this – it’s an important way of moving on. However, it’s never something you should jump into too early on.
When is it time to get a new pet?
It’s always a good idea to wait a while before deciding to get a new pet. Taking the plunge too quickly could mean you’re doing it for the wrong reasons, and not yet ready to fully commit to a new animal. Letting a few months pass will allow you to start to move on, and to consider the practicalities of a new pup in your life.