Is It Normal To Cry Everyday After Dog Death?

Grief is a Natural Response

Grief is a natural emotional, mental, and physical reaction to loss that most people experience after the death of a loved one, including a pet. It’s very common to frequently cry when grieving, especially in the initial days and weeks after the loss. According to Harvard Health Publishing, crying is a normal physical response that helps the body release emotions and process grief. Tears contain stress hormones and other chemicals that get excreted when you cry, providing emotional relief.

Feeling deep sorrow and crying often when grieving a pet is an expected response. Pets offer unconditional love and their loss can be devastating. Don’t feel embarrassed about crying everyday – it simply shows the depth of love for your pet. With time and support, the intense pain of grief usually becomes more manageable.

Crying Helps Process Grief

Crying is a natural response that helps process difficult emotions like grief. Research shows that crying releases hormones like oxytocin and endorphins that provide relief from emotional distress. These feel-good chemicals help ease pain, improve mood, and restore emotional balance after traumatic events like the loss of a pet (1).

The act of crying is cathartic – it provides an emotional release that many find soothing during the grieving process. Tears help express the deep sadness, pain, and other difficult feelings that accompany grief. Letting those emotions flow through tears can provide a sense of lightness and peace afterward (2).

Rather than suppressing tears, allowing yourself to cry openly and fully can help you accept and work through grief in a healthy way. Crying shows vulnerability and allows the body to release tensions built up from profound loss. While frequent and prolonged crying may be a sign that additional support is needed, crying itself provides comfort and facilitates healing during bereavement.

Grief Has No Timeline

There’s no “normal” timeline for grieving. Some people may cry every day for weeks or months after the loss of a beloved pet dog. Others may move through the grieving process more quickly. According to The Living Urn, acute grief symptoms can last anywhere from one to three months on average. However, general grief symptoms may continue for six months or longer after a dog dies.

A 2019 study published in Anthrozoos found that 25% of bereaved pet owners experienced intense grief for 3 months to a year after the loss. The length and intensity of grief depends on factors like how close your bond was with your dog, if the death was sudden versus anticipated, your coping abilities, and the level of social support you receive.

There is no set timeframe dictating when you should “get over” your grief. Be patient and compassionate with yourself through the ups and downs. Honor your feelings, even intense ones like crying every day. With time and support, most people begin to adjust to life without their beloved companion.

Factors Affecting Grief Response

The intensity and duration of grief after the loss of a dog can vary significantly depending on several factors. According to the HelpGuide article Coping with Losing a Pet, the level of grief often relates to the strength of the human-animal bond, as well as the degree of emotional attachment to the pet.

People who have a very close relationship with their dog, such as considering them a family member, best friend or constant companion, tend to experience more intense grief for a longer period of time. The grief response is also amplified if the death was sudden or traumatic, as there is often heightened shock and disbelief.

Other factors that can make the grieving process more difficult include experiencing multiple losses or stressors around the same time, lack of social support, pre-existing depression or anxiety, and a tendency to avoid or suppress emotions. However, even people with ample support and stable lives can still feel deep sorrow.

Personality plays a role as well. Highly sensitive people, optimists who believe their dog would live longer, and individuals with high separation anxiety may have greater difficulty coping. However, grieving the loss of a beloved dog is painful for almost everyone.

Seeking Support

Don’t isolate when grieving. Seek support from friends, family, pet loss hotlines, and support groups. Talking to others who understand what you’re going through can provide comfort. You can share memories, look at photos, and lean on each other during the healing process.

Pet loss support hotlines and chat services are available to lend an ear. Consider contacting the Pet Loss Support Hotline, Tufts University Pet Loss Support Hotline, ASPCA Pet Loss Hotline, or C.A.R.E. Pet Loss Hotline.

Joining a pet loss support group, either locally or online through social media groups and forums, connects you with a community who can empathize. You’ll find you’re not alone in your feelings and others are navigating through the same struggles.

Self-Care Helps Healing

Grief after losing a beloved dog can feel overwhelming at times. It’s important to make self-care a priority while you adapt to life without your pet. Practicing self-care will help replenish your emotional reserves so you can gradually heal.

A few ways to practice self-care include:

  • Getting adequate rest. Allow yourself to sleep in or take naps if needed.
  • Eating nutritious meals and staying hydrated. Grief can diminish your appetite, so eat smaller, frequent meals if needed.
  • Exercising in whatever way feels good, like taking walks, stretching, or doing yoga. Movement boosts your mood.
  • Enjoying hobbies that engage your mind or soothe your spirit, like reading, painting, or listening to music.
  • Spending time outdoors and in nature for a change of scenery.
  • Treating yourself kindly. Don’t judge your grieving process or expect too much from yourself right now.
  • Asking for help from loved ones with chores, errands, or meals if needed.
  • Seeking counseling if grief becomes prolonged or debilitating.

The key is being patient with yourself and making time for activities that nourish you emotionally and physically. With self-compassion, the intense pain of grief gradually subsides over time.

Remember the Good Times

Reflecting on happy memories with your dog can help the grieving process. Set aside time to think about your dog’s silly habits, favorite toys and activities, and all of the joy they brought you over the years. Looking at old photos or videos can help you remember the good times. You may want to make a photo book or memory board with pictures of your dog to display in your home. This can serve as a tribute to your pet’s life and give you something positive to focus on during this difficult time. Talk with friends and family about your favorite stories and memories with your dog. Sharing these happy moments can help honor your pet even after they are gone.

According to the Humane Society, “Don’t let the grief over losing your pet overshadow the joy they brought you” (https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/how-cope-death-your-pet). Reflecting on the special bond you shared and the happy times you had together can be an important part of the grieving process.

Honor Your Pet

One of the best ways to cope with the loss of your dog is to honor their memory in a meaningful way. This can provide comfort and a sense of closure after their passing. Here are some ideas for honoring your beloved dog:

Have a ceremony: Hold a special ceremony or memorial service to say goodbye to your pet. This could involve burying your dog with a favorite toy or blanket, saying some words about what they meant to you, planting a tree or flower over their burial site, or any other personal ritual that feels meaningful.

Make a donation in their name: Consider making a donation to an animal shelter, rescue group, or other pet-related charity in your dog’s honor. This is a great way to help other animals in need while memorializing your pet.

Volunteer at a shelter: Spend some time volunteering at an animal shelter or rescue organization. Walk the dogs, play with the cats, help out however you can. This is a wonderful way to give back and pay tribute to your pet’s memory by helping other animals who are still looking for homes.

The most important thing is finding a way to honor your dog that feels personal and special to you. Remembering and memorializing your beloved pet can help provide closure and comfort as you mourn their loss.

Prepare for Triggers

Anniversaries, holidays, sights and sounds may trigger crying spells after the loss of a pet. It’s important to plan coping strategies in advance for when grief hits. Some potential triggers include your pet’s birthday, adoption day anniversary, holidays you spent together, returning home to an empty house, hearing certain songs, or seeing their toys and belongings (https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/how-cope-death-your-pet).

To help get through these difficult moments, have a support system in place of friends and family who understand pet loss. Reach out to them when feeling low. Self-care activities like journaling, breathing exercises, or taking a nature walk can also help stabilize your mood. Remind yourself the crying spells are temporary, even if frequent, and part of the journey to healing.

You may wish to avoid some triggering situations at first if they cause too much distress. With time, you can gradually reintroduce them as it becomes easier to manage the emotions. However long it takes, have compassion for yourself and know the deep bond with your pet can never be broken.

Consider Getting Another Dog

When you feel ready, getting a new dog can help ease feelings of loneliness after losing your beloved companion. However, it’s important not to rush into this decision or expect a new dog to replace the one you lost. There is no set timeframe for when someone is ready for a new dog – some people may feel ready within weeks or months, while for others it could take many months or over a year. Give yourself time to fully grieve so you can be open to loving a new dog for who they are. When the loneliness becomes overwhelming, or you find yourself yearning for canine companionship again, this could be a sign you’re ready. But get the new dog for yourself, not to fill a void. Understand they’ll have a different personality and you’ll build a unique bond together.

Some tips when getting a new dog after a loss:
– Consider adopting one who needs a home rather than shopping for a specific breed or puppy. Saving a life can be very healing.
– If possible, involve the whole family in choosing the new dog so everyone is invested.

– Prepare your home and routines to welcome a new canine companion.
– Be patient as you train and bond with the new dog.
– Talk to them about your previous dog and share memories. The new dog will never replace the one you lost, but can still bring joy and comfort.

While the emptiness may always exist from losing your previous pet, in time a new dog can ease the loneliness and provide wonderful companionship. Remain open to loving again when you feel ready.

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