A dog is a person’s best friend, as they say. Worth enduring the long walks in the rain for, as well as the subsequent shake down of mud on cream walls. Worth the troubling trips to the vet. Worth the destroyed upholstery and holes in your socks. Yep, we just love dogs.

Indeed, owners can become easily attached to their four-legged friends. But it’s an unfortunate truth that dogs generally live shorter lives than people, and as such, there’s a good chance that if you own one, you’ll have to also deal with its loss at some stage. Don’t do this thing alone; here are 5 ways to cope with the loss of a dog.

LEARN ABOUT LIFE EXPECTANCY 

Though it may be morbid to confront your pet’s mortality head on, it’s important to be well informed and ask ‘how long do dogs live?‘ It’s said that every dog year equals 7 years of human life. However, this rule isn’t precise enough. Your dog’s life expectancy primarily depends on their breed. When your pet is young, it grows faster, but that ratio decreases a little later down the line.

But generally, if it’s 6 years old, it’s like a 45-year-old human. At the age of 10, it’s like the human age of 65, at the age of 15, it’s equivalent to a human of 90, and so on. Therefore, your dog usually lives more or less for 15 years. For more detailed data, check the predictions relating to your dog’s specific breed and their life expectancy. 

EXPLAIN THE PET’S LOSS TO THE YOUNGEST IN THE FAMILY

The moment your dog passes away is difficult for the whole family; years have been spent building special bonds, after all. The pet’s loss can be especially traumatic for children who spent lots of time playing with their four-legged companion and don’t understand loss in the same way as adults yet. 

Thus, parents should prepare their kids for this bad news and tell them gently what happened. Though the temptation to lessen the burden will be strong, the worst thing you can do is tell your kids that the dog ran away. Although you may want to protect your children’s feelings, telling this white lie won’t solve the problem. Quite the opposite, it may become more painful in the long run and foster a sense of abandonment.

ARRANGE THE CEREMONY TO COMMEMORATE YOUR PET

The old garden burial is a bit bleak and budget, no? To say goodbye to your beloved pet properly, though, you can officially commemorate it by arranging a suitable ceremony. For that purpose, try to engage your children in the search for a proper place to bury your pet. You can also place some flowers on its grave, and say the last few words to thank the dog for its love and friendship. Such a funeral will give you all a sense of closure, often a welcome footnote before you turn the proverbial page.

ALLOW YOURSELF TO GRIEVE AND EXPRESS EMOTIONS

Many people try to be strong and not show any emotions after their dog’s loss; ‘it’s only an animal, don’t be so silly’…that kinda thing. But you shouldn’t undervalue these feelings. To feel emotional relief following any loss, you need to allow yourself and your family to grieve and express your emotions. You can do that in many ways, for example, you can talk to your friends or keep a diary. Give yourself time to go through this traumatic experience, and then when you’re ready, move on. 

REACH OUT FOR SUPPORT

If you were firmly attached to your canine friend, and you can’t stop thinking about them, you may well benefit from some support. It’s good to get the burden off your chest, even shed a tear or two on your friend’s shoulder; there’s no stigma in that. A heart-to-heart talk can make your loss more bearable – a problem shared is one halved, after all – and can go some way to helping you feel better. All in all, these experiences are part of life’s journey and we need to learn how to cope with them. 

THE BOTTOM LINE

The experience of losing a dog is always traumatic, both for adults and children. In most cases, it leaves a deep mark on you, but after the time of despair and grief, don’t forget to bounce back and enjoy your life again.