Why Losing a Dog Can Be as Hard as Losing A Loved One

For anyone who has lost a dog before, you will know it is one of the hardest experiences you can go through. It leaves a noticeable hole in your life that takes time to adjust to and makes you realize just how much that special friend enhanced your day to day life.

Pet owners share an extremely close bond with their pets, part of the reason being that pets show unconditional love and expect nothing in return. In fact, it now seems science backs up what us pet owners already knew. Research suggests that overcoming the passing of a pet may be harder than overcoming the death of a human.

Now, of course, no one is saying that the death of a human is easy, but these findings are certainly interesting. So why does the loss of a pet hurt to such an extent? Let’s explore the 5 main reasons.

The 5 Reasons Why Losing A Dog is as Hard as Losing a Loved One

  1. The Grieving Process– Grieving is a natural part of the process when you lose your dog, although other people in your social circle may not share the same beliefs. It is important that you don’t argue the case with them as it will only make you more upset. Instead, look outside your circle to others who understand what you are going through. This will help you through the grieving process while at the same time maintain the relationships with your closest friends.


  1. Change in Routine– When you own a dog, routine becomes an extremely important part of your life, from specific feeding and walking rituals to sleeping habits. When they leave us it inevitably leads to a change in our routine. This is not an easy transition after years of the same routine, with even the smallest of triggers able to bring back memories and set off an emotional response. You may find yourself looking for your dog only to remember the reality of the situation. Being the creatures of habit we are, this is entirely normal, and with time will improve.


  1. Remorse– Depending on the circumstances of your dog’s passing, it is possible that you might feel somewhat responsible, almost as if it was partly your fault. This is not the way to think because you know deep down you did what you believed to be the correct thing at the time. Instead, focus on the positives like all the joy you brought into your dog’s life and how much they brought into yours.

  1. Memories– No matter how long you had your dog, it is inevitable that you formed many memories with each other. Unfortunately, these memories can be triggered by the smallest of things in your everyday life and evoke a sudden strong emotional response. Although this does make it more difficult to move on, try to remember what made that memory so special to you and cherish it.

  1. The Bond– The Official Journal of the Human Behaviour and Evolution Study has come to the conclusion that we forge bonds with dogs that are very similar to the relationships we form with other people. Research has found that the same chemical processes occur in the brain when forming bonds with dogs and humans. So, when your co-workers look at you funny when you tell them you weren’t in work last week because your dog passed, ignore them. It is clear they don’t understand your pain, nor will they ever experience the true joy a pet can bring into your life.

Losing a dog is comparable to losing a friend or family member. It is important that you don’t let others tell you any different, especially if you are to overcome and move on. You should also implement little things such as creating a small memorial and even having a funeral for your dog. This will help you move on while at the same providing the correct kind of closure that your lost buddy would surely want you to have.

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