Dog death is one of the most difficult losses to survive, especially if you were somehow involved in your dog’s death. These suggestions for surviving the death of a dog are inspired by an email I received from a reader.
I have read and reread your ebook on Surviving Pet Loss. It is very good and I would recommend it to others, but I am still having a difficult time getting past this experience. My dog died due to poisoning by the drug Trifexis that was recommended by my veterinarian to keep him healthy. It is a chewable heart worm protection and flea prevention monthly medication. I feel so sad and guilty that I gave my wonderful dog this drug. I am sick with worry until the drug leaves the systems of my two remaining Golden Retrievers. I have done all of the recommended activities to “move on” but losing a best friend so unnecessarily is not acceptable.”
My dog Georgie also took Trifexis and had a very bad experience, which I describe below.
I’ve written several articles on surviving dog death and coping with pet loss. When I wrote my ebook on surviving the death of a pet, I interviewed several grief experts, counsellors, pet owners, and even pet psychics.
But all the tips and experts in the world on surviving dog death doesn’t make the reality of living with loss and sadness any more bearable.
Surviving the Death of a Dog
Here are two suggestions for coping when it seems like you’ll never heal, never stop grieving the death of your dog, and never move on.
I won’t rehash my tips on surviving pet loss – they’re available in the links above and below. If you read those articles on surviving dog death, don’t forget about the comments section! Readers have shared hundreds of stories and experiences, which may help you heal.
If you haven’t lost your dog yet, read How to Prepare for the Loss of a Pet.
Complicated grief and dog death
If you’ve been struggling with extreme depression, guilt, or anxiety because your dog died, you might be dealing with complicated grief.
Here’s how the Mayo Clinic describes it: “For some people, feelings of loss are debilitating and don’t improve even after time passes. This is known as complicated grief. In complicated grief, painful emotions are so long lasting and severe that you have trouble accepting the loss and resuming your own life. If you have complicated grief, seek treatment. It can help you come to terms with your loss and reclaim a sense of acceptance and peace.” – from Complicated Grief on the Mayo Clinic website.
If you just can’t seem to accept your dog’s death and think that there is something deeper going on, please call a counsellor or talk to your doctor. Reach out for help today.
Take action – be an advocate for dogs and dog owners
Another suggestion for surviving the grief and pain is to turn your pain into a mission, a life purpose, a vision for the future. For my reader – if Trifexis isn’t a good flea prevention medication for your dog, then maybe it’ll help you cope with her death if you speak out about it.
I gave my dog Georgie Trifexis once, and she was horribly sick for three days. She has a sensitive tummy – I actually think she has intestinal bowel disease or syndrome. The veterinarian encouraged me to try Trifexis for flea and worm prevention. I did, and Georgie didn’t eat for a whole day, and was lethargic and had diarrhea for three days.
I just assumed Trifexis wasn’t right for my dog. I didn’t realize that it could actually cause dog death! If had known (or done the research), I wouldn’t have let her try it. Now, I research medications before I let the veterinarian prescribe them, and I try to stick with natural remedies, medications, and food. To learn more about this medication, read Is Trifexis a Good Flea Treatment for Dogs?
Turning your experience into a mission or life purpose isn’t a typical way to survive or cope with the death of a dog, but maybe it’ll help! Maybe you need to turn your grief into action, to do something to protect other dogs and dog owners.
I invite you to share your thoughts and experiences on surviving the death of a dog. Writing can help you heal and move on, and will show others that they aren’t alone.
If you’re having trouble surviving your dog’s death, read
“The one best place to bury a good dog is in the heart of his master.” – Ben Hur Lampman.