Some people find grief following the loss of a pet comes in stages, where they experience different feelings such as denial, anger, guilt, depression, and eventually acceptance and resolution. Others find that their grief is more cyclical, coming in waves, or a series of highs and lows.
Psychologist Julie Axelrod has pointed out that the loss of a dog is so painful because owners aren't just losing the pet. It could mean the loss of a source of unconditional love, a primary companion who provides security and comfort, and maybe even a protégé that's been mentored like a child.
Broken heart syndrome occurs from an intense surge of stress hormones related to an emotional event — including the death of a pet. This extreme stress response can mimic symptoms of a heart attack and may include: chest pain.
The grief that comes with losing a beloved pet can be all-consuming.
Some people start to feel better in weeks or months. For others, the grieving process is measured in years. Whatever your grief experience, it's important to be patient with yourself and allow the process to naturally unfold. Feeling sad, shocked, or lonely is a normal reaction to the loss of a beloved pet.
However, the loss of that companion can be devastating and traumatic. Humans develop a lasting attachment with their pets, which breaks at the loss of the pet. Regardless of the manner of death, a pet owner may perceive the death as traumatic and experience distress or exhibit posttraumatic stress symptoms.
You may be surprised to have so much grief from the loss of your dog, or to be experiencing grief before your dog is even gone. This grief is completely normal, and may be misunderstood by the people around you. They may accuse you of overreacting. It is, after all, 'just a dog.
The last few days before your dog passes you may notice: extreme weight loss, a distant look in their eyes, a lack of interest in anything, restlessness or unusual stillness, a change in the way that your dog smells, and a changed temperament.
Research suggests that when people are in anguish over the loss of a pet, disenfranchised grief makes it more difficult for them to find solace, post-traumatic growth, and healing. Disenfranchised grief seems to restrain emotional expression in a way that makes it harder to process.
Acute grief symptoms after the death of a pet can last from one to three months and general symptoms of grief can continue, on average, for six months to a year This grieving period can vary significantly from person to person and can be much longer or shorter.
Symptoms of acute grief after the loss of a pet can last from one to two months, with symptoms of grief persisting up to a full year (on average).
Here are some examples of what not to say when a pet dies: "Don't cry." Crying is part of the grieving process for many people. "It's just a [dog/cat/etc.]." A comment like this that downplays the loss is mean and thoughtless. You don't know what the pet meant to that person.
According to a new study, published in the journal Learning & Behavior, dogs want to comfort their owners when they're upset, and they will overcome barriers to do it. Previous research has shown how dogs are responsive to the sound of humans crying.
The truth is that your dog will almost always remember you, however long you've been apart. Dogs don't forget their beloved owners, even after months or even years apart.
The time to obtain a new pet is when you have worked through your grief sufficiently to be confident that you can look forward to new relationships, rather than backward at your loss. For some people, that might be a matter of days or weeks; for others, it might be months or years.
Once you're sure your dog has passed, the next step is to call your veterinarian's office. A vet's office will take your dog's body and either dispose of it for you or store it for you before you have a cremation or burial. They might also know of resources like a pet crematory or a mobile vet service.
Your pet's body is usually picked up by the crematorium and brought to the facility in their own transport. Pick-up timing will vary, depending on the arrangement that your practice has with the crematorium. Don't be afraid to ask if you would like to know.
Seventy-five responders reported the loss of a pet and filled out a battery of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I've often written about PTSD; it's defined as the recurring memories and heightened state of arousal that lingers for more than a month after a traumatic event.
Relaxing occurs naturally after a dog passes away, but contraction does not. This means that although the eyelids may droop, they often do not close completely, as your dog no longer orders those muscles to contract.
The pets that we had to say goodbye to are alive in heaven right now in their spiritual bodies and we will see them again if we accept Jesus as our Savior. Your Pet Is Not Gone Forever.
You may see them twitch or take a final breath. This can be startling, but it's a normal part of the process. Your pet isn't in pain. Use of a sedative makes this step less likely.