My dog died, will I ever stop crying?

After the loss of our dog, we sometimes can’t seem to stop crying. Losing a pet feels worse than losing a human. Depending on the breed or other factors, the time with our beloved dogs is usually never enough. When we do lose our dog, it is devastating and the grieving period can seem to last forever. This leads us to wonder if the tears will ever stop from the sadness we feel. A question I often ask and you might be asking as well is “My dog died, will I ever stop crying?”

If you have lost your dog and cannot stop crying or cope with the hurt, below are a few ways to help work through the grieving process and stop the tears.

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Rainbow bridge for dogs

Will I feel happy again or just keep crying?

Wondering if you will feel happy again after you lose a dog, is a valid question. Especially if you are constantly asking yourself, “Will I Stop Crying?” or “Will I always feel this empty without my dog?” Dogs are members of your family. And the sadness you feel when you lose them is long-lasting. The joy they bring to your everyday life is immeasurable. Their unwavering love and devotion to you can be a devastating blow and the feeling of emptiness is not something you are often prepared for.

You will feel happy again though. With time and patience, the pain will fade each day. It may take weeks or months to stop crying. You may forever feel sad when you think about your dog or talk about your dog. But, you will work through the grieving process and feel happy again. 

You should not feel guilty about how long you feel sad or for how long you cry over losing your dog. Your dog was a big part of your everyday life. We all react differently to losing our dog but rest assured that there is no right way or wrong way of how you grieve or for how long it takes you to feel happy again.

Crying after the loss of a dog

Why does it hurt so bad after losing a dog?

Your dog was likely your best friend and your companion each and every day. They likely woke you up each morning for their walk or to be let outside. Your dog greeted you when you came home. Your dog likely provided you with comfort each and every night as you watched your favorite Netflix series. In some way, they were a part of you just like a child or spouse is. It’s okay to feel like you lost a part of yourself because you did.  

How and when you lost your dog can also factor into how badly you may hurt right now. A pet dying of old age may be easier to cope with. Or if you had time to say your goodbye and spend their last days together. 

If your dog dies suddenly or in an accident, it can be more devastating. Making peace with saying goodbye was never provided to you in these cases. So the pain could be worse if you never got to say goodbye. In these cases, it’s important to find friends and community to talk about your dog and work through finding peace in saying goodbye over time. It might take a week or months, but finding your journey to peace if your dog’s death was sudden is very important. 

5 stages of grief

Is crying part of the grieving process after losing a dog?

The process of grieving your dog’s death can be different for everyone. Each stage can take as long as it takes. For some that might be days or weeks or even years. And crying can be part of all the stages of grief.

Keep in mind that there can be up to 5 stages of grief. It’s important to recognize the stage you are in so you can work through it. Below are the 5 stages of grief that you may have experienced or are currently experiencing. All are completely understandable to be in and to be feeling. 

Grief Stage 1: Denial

You may be in shock when your dog dies. Or become forgetful and be confused. You might find yourself saying “This can’t be happening” or “This can’t be real”.

Grief Stage 2: Anger

You may lash out at people or feel very irritable. You might find yourself saying, “This is not fair” or “Why did this happen?”

Grief Stage 3: Bargaining

This is definitely a hard stage to be in, in my opinion. You start to blame yourself or maybe others. You start to question everything and the “What Ifs” start to take over your thoughts. Such as, “What if I had brought him to the vet sooner?’ or “I should have recognized the signs earlier”.

Grief Stage 4: Depression

This stage is not technically clinical depression but the feeling of sadness and most often shutting down. Feelings and thoughts of “I can’t take care of myself without my dog” or “I can’t work” can come into play. 

Grief Stage 5: Acceptance

Being in this stage does not reflect you getting over your dog dying. Feeling sad and missing your dog will likely still be present. But this stage is about accepting your new life without your dog. You might think “I can’t change what happened” and you may even begin to plan a memorial or write an obituary for your dog in remembrance. 

When I lost my dog, Wes, I truly thought I would not stop crying. But after about a week, the tears became fewer. The part where I missed him and thought about him every day, took longer. More like weeks and now we are into the months. But the emptiness became less and I tried to fill it in with other happy moments. Like time with my kids or significant other or friends. 

There is no right or wrong way to grieve your lost dog.

You will work through the grief in your own way and on your own time. 

The important thing now is recognizing what stage of grief you are in so you can work through it to stop the tears and sadness. You will be okay. And you will also likely always miss your dog. And both feelings are perfectly acceptable.

Comment below with the name of your beloved dog that you have lost. Reaching out to a community and remembering him/her can help in your grieving process.