Coping With the Death of a Pet

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February 28, 2012

dog and cat lying nose to noseI am not an expert in animal emotions. All I know is what I have observed with my pets. Hopefully, the suggestions I have will be helpful to anyone who finds themselves dealing with a pet that is saddened by the death of another pet.


It's important to watch for signs of depression in your pet. They may stop eating, become reclusive and have no interest in playing or interacting with you or other pets.
It's important that you spend extra time with the pet that is mourning. If you have multiple pets, be sure you spend one on one time with the one who is depressed.

Keep the household routine such as feeding schedules, grooming schedule, and play time as normal as possible.

Give your dog some new activities to look forward to such as a ride in the car, a walk around the block or a trip to a dog park. If it's your cat that has lost its playmate, introduce some new interactive toys into her world. Make things around the house fun and exciting. Cats often like hide and seek adventures. Provide some new entertainment for the cat in the form of a window seat where she can watch outdoor activity.

You might want to temporarily give the dog or cat a blanket or toy that belonged to the deceased pet. They might feel comforted by having that nearby. I have seen this idea be successful and I have seen the objects be totally ignored by the mourning pet. I suppose it's a “try it and see what happens” idea.


Don't expect your pet to eagerly accept another pet that you might bring in to fill the void. Introduce a new pet slowly and don't expect the bonding process to be quick. Your cat or dog may never have the same relationship with a new pet as it did the previous pet. They may share your home in a friendly manner without a deep bond or they may form a deep bond as time goes by. Just be sure that you give each pet an equal share of your undivided attention.

By VeronicaHB

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December 29, 2009

The presents are all unwrapped and it was a successful Christmas. the most loved present this year was to my daughter.


This year we have lost three beloved pets to accidents, so I got to thinking about how to make their memories special.

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9 Questions

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April 10, 2018

My dog Tyson died on the 26th of March this year. He was nearly 13 and a large dog so it was expected, but still hurts. Then nine days later my Jack Russell, Nellie, died of a broken heart.

I have buried my dogs next to each other. How does my family get over this? It's like my house is empty now. The grief is so hard to cope with.


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April 10, 20180 found this helpful
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The best thing to do when you are hurting is to help others. You might want to volunteer in a soup kitchen or nursing home.


You might also want to volunteer at an animal shelter, and perhaps meet the next lucky pet.

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April 10, 20182 found this helpful
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I'm very sorry for your losses. The pain of losing our precious animals is incredibly difficult, as nothing seems the same for awhile. The world almost becomes a different place, since our
furry family members aren't in it anymore.

Sometimes the heart pain will feel as though it's impossible to get past. But remembering, and talking about all the wonderful moments you had with your dogs over the years helps your heart too.


If you've read the poem, The Rainbow Bridge, that can help also, depending on what you believe. I know it helped me when I lost
my little furry friend of 18 years. That poem sort of gave me something to hang onto, *which sometimes that's what we need in our mind and hearts - *though it's a poem, it's so beautiful*, and just the simple thoughts of seeing my little "Trixie" some day, helped, as I choose to believe for my own heart and mind.

Just talking about this, hurts, and I feel for you because I know what you're going through, and it's one of the hardest things in life that most of us with animals we love will face one day. We just have to remember, God made it this way, *for reasons beyond our knowledge* right now, and then we allow life and death, to be.


If you can try and keep yourself busy, maybe even getting another dog to love, or any animal, may help you, and that will give another precious animal a chance to be loved by you and your family. I wish I knew how to help you, but I don't know how to take away the heart pain. I can only let you know the things I've done, as I still, now and then will burst into tears over my little furry best friend I lost and it's been 20 years now since she's been gone. I do believe when we love, nothing takes that away, not time, not anything, but the greatest thing of all is, they never really do leave us, *hold on to that thought too* as they're really forever with us as long as we live, they truly are in our mind and hearts.

I did get involved with other animals, like birds, which I knew nothing about before, but love them to pieces now. Even with the little winged friends, there's loss and heartache.

My husband keeps telling me that nature will run it's course as it's suppose to by God, and that only the strong survive, and I must try to "allow" life to run it's course, which is not easy, it's VERY hard, and that's the truth. But, when we look to a higher power, our Creator, (if you believe that way) then we can carry on with the thoughts of that there is a reason life works the way it does, though we may not know the answers, it can help us see outside of what we're feeling.

You said your house feels empty, I understand. It will be for a while, and then the day may come that you feel all that love
that you have in your heart, you'll want and need to give that to another, and when you do, the heartache pain will lessen because you'll see that the new pet has been waiting for just you and your family.

Nothing will ever replace what was, but, you can make what is.
And that "what is" is what life is about, giving love, and being loved
back, and when we have all that inside of us, it's what we must do to continue all life.

Also, maybe call your vets office, or any vets office, as people are very kind and understanding with the loss of a family member pet, and they may be able to help you find a support group of others too that are hurting as they understand best, and that can help you too.

Take care.

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April 11, 20180 found this helpful
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My heart goes out to you. I too lost my two best friends within 2 weeks of each other. It has now been a year and I stopped crying each day. I find peace in putting flowers next to their pictures to remember them with. I used to not be able to look at the photos without breaking into tears. But I find it soothing now. I remind myself when I'm feeling sad that they had amazing long lives & was well loved.
Have you considered volunteering at your local pet rescue? It will help fill that void and give some puppy snuggles. Until you are ready to maybe take step in opening your home to a new pet. Best wishes.

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July 10, 2013

I am trying really hard to understand how it happens that we can miss signs that would tell us something is wrong with our pet. I know that everything that lives will die and that it is the process of life, but my heart hurts so bad and there is no close support group for pet parents that have lost their family member unexpectedly.

How does a dog become paralyzed and lose the use of its limb in 10 days? How is it possible that a pet can be healthy and well and full of life and 10 days later going to the Rainbow Bridge? How does one heal a heart that feels cheated?
My little dog was only nine, always bringing us her toys, loved treats, and was so full of life, what happened?

By Lois B

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February 5, 2010

My dog, Simba, just passed away last Thursday. It was also my daughter's 10th birthday. We have had Simba for 13 years, since he was a puppy. We never boarded him and he went on every vacation we ever took (yes, even on airplanes).

I have 2 questions. Any advice for helping my daughter through the years as the dog passed away on her birthday? I do not want her to dwell on that fact. Also, any advice to help me get over losing the dog? I have owned him since before I had children and he was like my first child. Thanks so much.

By Jenny from MD


February 5, 20100 found this helpful

I'm so sorry for your loss. I've been there. We had to put my 15 year old dog to sleep one year on Christmas night (cancer took a turn for the worse). It's not exactly the same as a birthday, but still a significant day each year that is normally a happy occasion. We got him when I was in second grade, so he was really like a sibling to me. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do.

Try to remember the good times, and it's okay to cry when feeling sad. Shortly after I had to put my dog to sleep, the dog in the comic strip For Better or For Worse saved their little girl from drowning, and then he died. I cried reading it. They made it into a book, and I shared that book with my sister-in-law when she had to have her dog put to sleep. Here is a link, if you or your daughter would like to look:

Time will help. It's been 14 years, but if I see a dog that looks like mine, I'll still tear up. My mom got me a Hallmark picture frame ornament that first year that said "Good Dog" (with a picture of my Freckles already in it). Every year when I put it on my tree and take it down, my eyes water up (they are right now, too). It's sad, but we have to know that we did the best we could, and be thankful for the time we had with them. And always try to remember the happy times. Maybe after a little while you can make a little mini scrapbook, showing Simba and your daughter together through the years.

Now I have a 13 year old cat, and I know he's getting older. I dread when the day will come. Again, I'm so sorry. I hope that you find comfort in good memories.

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February 5, 20100 found this helpful

I've experienced doggie grief several times. The first time I waited until the grieving ended. The pain seemed like eternity to get over. The second time I couldn't stand it and got another pup to fill the void my dog's leaving made. The hurt was still there, but not as much as I gave another pup my attention and time. I also felt like this is the kind of pup my deceased dog would have liked me to have gotten. From both sides of the fence, I'd get another pup/dog sooner than later.

When we were children and lost our pet, we didn't want a dog right away. It felt like we were a traitor, but as an adult, one realizes the void a beloved dog leaves and it is not good getting up each day without a dog in the household.

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February 6, 20100 found this helpful

Anyone losing a pet has to deal with it in their own way but some things can help. When you start to feel the overwhelming grief settle down on you concentrate on pushing it away and remembering the good times. Try to realize that your life was brighter for having that animal in it. When you feel guilt (most of us do) list the things you did for that beloved pet over the years that showed your love and devotion. If you had to put your friend down try to realize that this is the greatest act of love.

Anybody can love and care when it's easy. It's harder to be the one who has to make the hard decisions and end the life of a suffering pet. I thought I could never love another dog like I did my little Lucy and I honestly cried every day for a year. When my mother gave me her little doxie I took her because she could have a better life with me, not because I loved her. Now she's the center of our little universe and we have group hugs with Papa, Penny, and Mother. You do recover but you never forget.

As far as a grieving child, would never mention again the fact that the dog died on her birthday. She'll probably remember but it will be less important to her than it is to you by next year.

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February 8, 20100 found this helpful

i am so very very sorry for your loss. there is no way to get over the greif of losing a family member. jsut try to think of the great times and remember there is another baby out there needing a home because of abuse or homelesness, you will never replace your baby but give much needed love to another, and remember she is only gone in body and her soul will be with you forever so on your daughter birthday also celebrate the life you had with your baby, lots of furhugs and kisses..deby

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February 8, 20100 found this helpful

I'm so sorry about the loss of your pet. This site is a wonderful resource, it has a chat room as well as a Monday night ceremony that is a wonderful way to say goodbye.

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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 846 Posts
February 8, 20100 found this helpful

I am so sorry for you and your daughter's loss!

One never really gets over losing any fur baby but one thing I did to help me through the grief of my first baby as an adult (a Persian who was just short of 15 years old) was sleep with her collar on my arm for almost a month and had my favorite picture of her framed in a really cute bronze color cat decorated frame that I kept on my nightstand for the longest time. Even though it's been nineteen years her picture is still displayed on the table near the door in the entryway.

One thing that helped me the most was a family who didn't want the responsibility of their kitty cat (who was six years old and being almost completely ignored) so I adopted her and it took away so much of the pain and especially when the day came that she knew she was loved and would be given special attention including hugs, sleeping with me, being brushed and fun playtime and gave love back to me :-) When she passed away I made a special stepping stone for her out of concrete with her name stamped in it and decorated it with colorful half marbles and placed it over her in the garden where she was buried.

It looks like your baby's picture might have been taken at the vets office and the very last picture of him? Maybe framing it and making a stepping stone will help with the grief process for you and your family?

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February 9, 20100 found this helpful

I had recently lost my beautifull 10 month old pitbull to parvo and to be honest I didn't know how I was going to get over it. I don't have any children so she was my baby and it killed me. I did get over it but I miss here terribly. I had to put her to sleep and I felt the same way you felt but sometimes we are doing whats best for them. So sorry for your loss.

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February 9, 20100 found this helpful

Maybe you can get her another dog and it might take her mind off the one you just loss.

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April 23, 2015

Our older dog passed away last Sunday and now our younger dog is peeing and pooping in his kennel when we leave him. We have only left him for a few hours each time and we put him outside prior. He still pees in the kennel. He is a nervous dog that we rescued at the same time as rescuing my older dog so they have been together for five years. He is eating and drinking, but not as he did prior. He is quieter than usual. We know he is mourning, but want to stem the peeing in kennel thing as he was difficult to crate train in the first place. Any ideas?

By Bonnie M from London Ontario

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March 31, 2011

I have recently had to have my 20 year old Lab put to sleep. Now my 8 year old Boxer wees in house almost every time I go out. She never did if before when my other dog was here. Please help.

By janet scott from Lancashire, England

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

March 31, 2011

I had two dogs a chocolate Lab 13 years old and a Pomeranian 4 years old. My lab passed away a week ago, since then my Pom is peeing in the house.

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February 5, 2010

Dealing With The Grief After Losing a Pet. I had to euthanize my dog, Lewis, who was 15 1/2 years old. I am suffering from profound grief, and guilt. I miss him so much.

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