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The loss of a beloved pet is a heart-wrenching experience that can leave you emotionally distraught for a long time. Dogs aren’t just pets; they’re members of our families, giving us unconditional love, companionship, and countless joyful moments. It’s why talking about pet bereavement, specifically the loss of a dog, is so crucial. We recently sat down with Emma Liddell, our LWDG Mindset Coach, to discuss this sensitive and often misunderstood subject. In this blog, we’ll explore the emotional stages of grief, coping mechanisms, and how to know when you’re ready for another dog, among other relevant topics.

The Unique Bond Between Humans and Dogs

Most dog owners will agree that the bond between a human and their dogs is unlike any other. This relationship is built on mutual affection, trust, and a deep emotional connection. The love we share with our dogs fills a void that sometimes even human relationships can’t. The depth of this connection makes the ensuing loss incredibly painful and challenging to navigate.

The emotional toll of losing a dog is often similar to losing a human loved one. It’s an emotional rollercoaster, incorporating stages such as denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally, acceptance. Every individual’s experience is unique, but recognising these stages can be a crucial part of the healing process.

Preparing for the Inevitable

Whether due to old age or a prolonged illness, sometimes we have a sense that our time with our dog is limited. While it’s a painful topic to ponder, preparation can make the process marginally more manageable. Emma recommends spending quality time with your pet, capturing memories through photos or videos, and consulting your vet about palliative care options. “Prepare not just for their passing, but for how you will cope afterwards,” she suggests.

Many people experience what Emma explains as ‘pet parent guilt’  Did I do enough? Could I have done something differently? Such questions plague our minds and add an extra layer of complexity to our grief. Emma advises, “Don’t dwell on the past. Think about the happy moments you gave each other and forgive yourself for any perceived shortcomings.”

The aftermath of losing a dog can be overwhelming, but there are several ways to find emotional support. The podcast suggests a few practical coping mechanisms:

How to Know When You’re Ready for Another Dog

The void left by a departed pet is immeasurable, making the decision to get another dog difficult. According to Emma, “It’s a deeply personal choice. Listen to your heart, and don’t let others rush you.” She further advises that a new dog should never be a replacement but a new chapter in your life.

Resources for Grieving Pet Owners

There are various resources available for those who are grieving:

External Cultural Perspectives on Pet Loss

Cultures around the world have different practices and beliefs about pet loss. While this topic was not extensively covered in our interview, it’s worth noting that some cultures have unique memorial practices, ceremonies, and even pet cemeteries. These various traditions can sometimes offer additional layers of comfort and understanding.


The journey through grief after losing a dog is fraught with emotional highs and lows. Yet, the conversation with Jo and Emma illuminates that while grief is universal, coping mechanisms are individual. Above all, we want readers and listeners to remember, “You’re not alone, and it’s okay to seek help.”

Additional Resources

To hear the full conversation with Jo Perrott and Emma Liddell, please follow the link to our podcast interview . For those seeking one-on-one coaching or additional support, Emma can be contacted via the Ladies Working Dog Group website or on her website.