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Experiencing the Death of a Dog


The death of a dog can affect people in the same way that losing a family member or close friend would. For those who've experienced the loss of a dog, the American Kennel Club makes the following suggestions:


  • Grief should be expressed freely so the healing process can begin.

  • Make a conscious effort to be thankful for the joy your canine companion brought you through the years.

  • Spend time with people who can appreciate the significance of your pet's impact on your life and who are empathetic to your loss, including other pet owners and your breeder.

  • Seek out pet bereavement groups through your local veterinarian, animal shelter or online. Your vet or local animal shelter may also be able to recommend a pet loss hotline.

  • If this is your child's first experience with death, make it clear that the dog is not coming back but emphasize that it is now free of pain. Let your child know it's ok for him or her to express grief over the loss of your dog.

  • Other pets in the house may also react to the loss of their companion. Give them extra attention during this time.

  • Memorializing your dog can help you celebrate your pet's life and begin the healing process.

  • Consider a donation to a dog-related charity in honor of your dog

  • Create a photo album with snapshots of your dog, or write down some of your best memories in a journal.

  • Consider having a memorial service for your dog in an area that holds special meaning for you. Disperse your dog's ashes in a favorite location or keep remains in a specially crafted urn with the dog's photo.

  • If you participated in dog show events, consider placing a tribute ad in a dog show catalog, pet publication or website.

  • Realize that it may take time before you are ready to bring a new dog into your home. If you feel that you might not be ready for a new dog but want to spend time with animals, consider volunteering with a local kennel club, rescue group or animal shelter.

  • Discuss the idea of bringing a new dog home with your entire family. Whether or not you choose the same breed, be sure to appreciate your new canine companion for his own distinct personality and character traits.