How To Deal with the Unexpected Loss of a Pet?

I recently had to put my dog down when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He was only 6 years old and while he had been inexplicably sick for some time, it was not that bad so I thought he was okay. But, it turns out he was just suffering in silence, like dogs often do. I am so sad and miss him so much. How do you deal with loss of a pet when they go way too soon and so unexpectedly? Anyone else been through anything like this and have any thoughts of how to help cope?

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Kimberly Alt (Admin)
The team at Canine Journal is sorry to hear about any dog crossing the rainbow bridge. We thank you for opening up and sharing your stories with our community and please know, each and every one of you are in our thoughts. Our article “How To Deal With The Death Of Your Dog” may be a helpful resource for you to read during this time of grief. Thank you again for sharing with us and please know we are thinking of you.
Carla
Recently had to put down our Daisy 12 years old. She showed no signs. It happened so fast one day she was good. I notice that she was bloated called the vet brought her down thought maybe she was constipated had no idea that she had lung cancer kidneys and liver were shutting down. Just don’t understand we took her every year for physicals brought to vet every time she needed. It’s been a month I still don’t understand . Why it wasn’t caught sooner . She was just at the vet in April for her annual. She was a Boston terrier she loved her frisbee. Miss her and love her so much.
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
I’m so sorry for your loss, Carla.
Patricia
We had to put out dog Tikky down tonight. It was so out of the blue. She was doing great all day. Out of nowhere, she starts trembling and her demeanor changes completely. We took her to an emergency hospital and they told us she wasn’t doing well and believed it might have been an infection in her uterus. Right after they start surgery we get a call. It turned out that her intestines had twisted and had died from no oxygen. She had to be put down right then and there. She was a you g dog, only 2 years old. I feel so, so bad and feel like we could have prevented this although I dont know how.
I keep wanting to apologize to her for what happened. She was such a sweet dog! I hope she is happy now, wherever she is.
Gary McCarthy
Two days ago my much loved Alfie went to sleep for the final time , tragically Alfie was only 6 years old , he was a Lab / beagle cross ( 95% Lab tho ) he had the runs two months or so ago , we took him to our vets and after steroid injection he picked up and we thought he had picked up to his normal self , or so we thought . From about 6weeks since it all started he then went off his food , we changed vets as we were not happy , as Alfie wasn’t eating hardly at all he then along with another steroid injection he had vitamin injection as he was so weak , he then wouldn’t eat a thing . Poor Alfie then went through a scan as he had lost nearly 12 kilos to this point , the scan showed his intestines were very swallen and it turned out to be limphoma cancer and it was decided because of his now severe weight loss condition he would last another week so we laid him to rest , I’m a gro man of 58 ( it my birthday the day after Alfie went to sleep ) and like everyone having lost family members I have to say the feelings I have for Alfie , losing him is much worse I am totally devastated, Gary
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
I’m so sorry for your loss, Gary.
Peter
Just had to put my boy Brighton down today! He was a 14 year old dachshund and was suffering from bladder failure and couldn’t defecate anymore. We brought him to the vet and the vet let us know it is time to say goodbye
Lost our other dachshund Bentley this past August. He was my heart! He had liver cancer. I still cry for Bentley everyday and night and now I cry for Brighton also.
I pray to god every night that when I go to heaven that both Bentley and Brighton will see me at the rainbow bridge when it’s my time and cross that bridge into my waiting arms!
I love you Bentley and Brighton!
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
I’m so sorry for your loss Peter.
willow
Lost my dog booboo who has been with me since i was 9 yrs old. He was acting odd so we brought him to the vet they found he had eaten a pair of underwear and they removed it from him. He was at the vets recovering when his heart stopped and he passed. I miss him so much i still sometimes expect him to be there when i am feeding the other dogs. I miss my baby so much i dont know how to move on from his death.
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
I’m so sorry for your loss, Willow.
Jacqueline O Llewellyn
My best friend teacup chihuahua died recently and I am having a horrible time getting through this. She was my friend and baby girl. She was my service dog and we were insuperable and she hardly ever left my side. She love my husband, me and enjoyed our two Cockatiel birds. Lacey’s birthday is 11/29/2018 and she would have been 14 yrs. She went with us on our honeymoon and so many other places. She had a collapsed trachea and a large heart and we had found out from a specialist that her liver was failing. We were not per paired for this and it just was unbelievable that this happen so fast. She was only going in for a check up and she had to stay the night. Her breathing was not good and had to go in an oxygen tank for 24 hrs. We had some blood work done and found that her liver was failing even though her pee was clearing up. I thought that was a good sign. The specialist hold us that they had to take a sample of her liver to find out was was really going on and almost right after that she was bleeding internally. Her breathing, heart and liver could not hold on much longer and she died. We were two 1/2 hrs away and she was in the hospital for three nights. I had called them that last morning and they told me she was resting and I had asked them if she had any food. They had no way of feeding her, so she died. This is the most terrible thing I have ever gone through. I am devastated.
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
I’m so sorry for your loss, Jacqueline.
Mark
Yesterday I lost my 6 year old pug Tank. My wife and I went out to dinner and came home and he had vomited several times. Because our normal vet was closed we took him to an emergency hospital not to far from where we lived. When we got him there he continued to vomit. The vet examined him and completed bloodwork and x-rays. After running all these tests they really didnt know what was wrong with him. They speculated he could have pancreatitis or possibly gallbladder issues. They kept him overnight and ran more tests on him the following day. Later that day his condition worsened and we were advised to take him to another emergency hospital where he could receive an ultrasound as soon as possible. We transported him there and another veterinarian examined him. Based on his examination he believed Tank was having issues with his gallbladder. We would have to wait until the following day for him to get the ultrasound. The next day he got the ultrasound and it was determined he had a gallbladder molecule. The vet on duty stated it could be treated with medication or surgery. After talking to the surgeon we opted to have the surgery later in the afternoon. The surgeon stated if his gallbladder burst he could die. The surgery was completed and the surgeon stated the surgery went well and that the next 12-24 hrs would be crucial to his recovery. Later that night we called the hospital to check on Tanks condition. The surgeon told us that Tanks blood pressure was dropping and they were doing everything to get it back up. Needless to say my wife and I were extremely upset. The surgeon advised us not to come to the hospital because they were doing everything they could to save his life. Unfortunately we got a call a short time later saying Tank had gone into cardiac arrest and they didnt think he would make. My wife and I drove an hour to the hospital to learn our baby had passed away. Nobody could really give us an explanation as to what happened. Needless to say my wife and I are devastated. We loved this dog like a child and we tried everything to save his life. I’m really having a difficult time because me and Tank were really close. I feel like I have lost my child and my best friend. I keep going over things in my mind convincing myself we made the right decision to have the surgery. My wife and I got to see him one last time and say goodbye. I know I’m not the only person to ever ro lose a pet. I’m in total despair right know and miss him terribly. I hope he can forgive me for not saving his life. I’d hoped he would have lived a long life. He was a blessing from above and was the greatest dog ever. I’m sorry for the long rant but I believe this will help me in the grieving process. I’m so sorry to others who have lost the pets and best friends!
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
I’m so sorry for your loss.
Thomasine Broderick
I am heartily sorry that you are going through this immense pain that I myself know too well. I lost my wonderful cat last month. But let me ask you this one question, if you had a beloved twin brother that had been Tank’s owner and did exactly what you did for Tank, what would you be telling him now? Tell yourself that.
MissDee
Our dog Rufio died from Parvo just 2 days ago. He’s a beagle and was just 6months old. He had a few vaccines but i guess that wasnt enough to protect him from such. He had been able to sneak out of our house a couple of times.

A week ago he just suddenly weakened and has high fever. (Tho a day before that i did notice somethinh weird already with his poops but ignored it ). It was past midnight already so i just keep on attending to him staying by his side. we waited out and my brother brought him to vet early next morning. And so he was diagnosed with parvo and got confined. 2 days later we tried getting him out but was advised that he still needs to be confined. 2 days after we got the shocking news that he is dead already. I was and still am filled with grief and guilt. Bec all the time he was confined i wasnt even able to visit him due to my very tight work schedule. My younger brother would always be the one to check on him and we were all confident that he’d get better. It was just so sudden. A week ago i was playing with him and now he is gone. And i am filled with guilt of not being able to take care of him enough to prevent this from happening. I would just burst into tears whenever i remember him. We had him for just 3 months but its so painful to lose him. I miss him so much. How i wish we could have done something better, how i wish we did not ignored signs, how i wish i searched for a 24hour vet clinic, how i wish i made the extra effort to visit him in the vet, how i wish he was still here. I miss him so much. I love him so much!

Kimberly Alt (Admin)
I am so sorry for your loss. Parvo is a scary illness that takes the lives of many dogs far too soon. You are in my thoughts.
Celeste
My cat Henry died suddenly last week. I found his body. I don’t know what to feel. I have so many emotions. I cry all the time and I miss him more than anything. I don’t know what to say to you. But I’m sorry for your loss. My niece called me and shared with me how she felt when she lost her cat who was elderly. She said, for a long time I fell only negative emotions and memories. His illness his death. It took me a while to figure out that there were good memories too. And now I have only good memories of him.
I hope that happens for both of us. ❤️
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
I’m sorry for your loss, Celeste. I’m glad the good memories are flooding your thoughts more than the negative ones. I know a little about what you’re feeling. My mother died from ALS and I struggled with only remembering how she was at the end. I am slowly being able to remember some of my favorite memories of her where she was happy and healthy. You are in my thoughts.
One less angel in the world
My dog Pugsy passed away less than a month ago. October 23rd, 2018. 14 years old, and we believe now that he got attacked by a coyote or a fox. Right on the neck. He came back home with little trouble, and we had no idea he was injured until the next morning. I remember waking up to my mother crying and telling me that he wasn’t doing so good. I was used to hearing things like this because he was old, but I had no idea it was that bad until I got to her closet where he was sleeping in his doggy bed. There was so much blood…no idea where it came from at the time. It was all over his head and his stomach…and he was so cold. We thought it was cancer at first. I cried a lot and then I said my last goodbye to go to school. They took him to the vet and had him put down after I left. The surgery the vets were sort of offering was super risky in that he could easily have died because of his age, and they couldn’t determine how much damage had occurred. Plus, his quality of life would have plummeted. The decision was made, and he is buried right outside my bedroom window. I miss my good boy still.
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
I am so sorry for your loss. You are in my thoughts.
Oliver Baillie
My dog Enrique was put to sleep today just 7 years old. He was the joy of mine and my mum’s life. I don’t have a partner or children. He meant more to me than any human in my life and I feel just awful. He has had a bad heart all his life and today it became too much. I went to see him at the vets after work and literally broke down when I saw his innocent little face. I cut some of his fur off and took it home with me and its next to me as I type this. I honestly don’t think I felt this bad when I lost my father. Enrique was so caring. I suffer with bipolar and other mental health issues and I could always tell that he knew. I can’t put into words how I feel – I am lost.

RIP my little boy.

Kimberly Alt (Admin)
I’m so sorry for your loss, Oliver. Make sure you take the time to grieve. Also be sure to take care of yourself. Losing a loved one is extremely difficult. Don’t hesitate to ask someone for help if you need it. You are in our thoughts.
Oliver Baillie
Thank you Kimberly
Scarlet Morgan
Well my dog died, her name was ruby she was very playful all the time and always just so happy, a couple weeks ago I noticed that she didn’t have the energy to run around anymore and I just thought it was because of old age, she started to develop a cough and I ask my local veteran and he said just to wait it out and see if it gets worse, well it did and we had set an appointment to go in for a check up, two days before on a Wednesday morning I was getting ready for school and my dad comes into my room saying that our dog is dying, I get up quickly and run to where her bed was, she had her mouth open and she was just laying there barely hanging on, I don’t want to admit that she’s dying so I call the vet and he says that she’s probably going to die and there’s nothing we can do but he can check her if we want, which basically means “I can check her so you can feel better about her dying”, I can’t help but feel angry in myself, I should’ve known something wasn’t right and I should’ve taken her to the vet as soon as I heard even a tiny cough. I still can’t believe she’s gone, I always called her mi reiña it means my princess, I smothered her with kisses even though she didn’t like it. I let her sleep on the couch rapped up in her favorite blanket like a baby, but now I know that she’s not suffering anymore, she can Rest In Peace now.
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
I’m sorry Scarlet. Ruby sounds like a lovely dog. You are in my thoughts.
Kelly
We have two beautiful rescue Great Danes. We got Marley Mae first when she was three and then Beau Duke, he was also 3. We have had them 3 years and they are inseparable- they lay together-sleep together. Last Friday night we ha taken grandsons to the movies- we got home about 930 and shortly after noticed Marley trying to throw up but nothing was coming and then she started drooling large amounts of phlegm. I know these to be the signs and symptoms of bloat and twisted stomach and I know Great Danes are prone. We took her immediately to the vet, our worst fears were confirmed and they said it was a medical emergency and it would cost $5000 for surgery with no guarentee because of her age. We couldn’t afford it!!! We couldn’t save my baby girl. I’m heart broken. We stayed with her while they put her to sleep-we came home alone. Her Beau is missing her-my heart remains broken-I’m missing her sooo much. I miss her greeting me at the door –her talking and her jaw quivering in excitement that we were home -that she could almost sit on the floor and reach me to kiss me. . How can vets, specialists in a field charge so much for services that could save a family pet. I’m soooo angry!
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
Kelly, I’m so sorry for your loss. Unfortunately, as you mentioned, canine bloat is common in Great Danes and is difficult to catch early enough to save the dog. I’m so sorry your Marley Mae is gone. My thoughts are with you.
jared
im jared, im 14. my puppy recently died today because of a sudden heart attack. I cant cope with it and cannot stop crying i miss him so much. My other dog does not know what happened and islooking for him. I dont know what to do
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
I’m so sorry fo ryour loss, Jared. Have you tried talking to a parent/guardian or other adult about how you are feeling?
Dennis
After 13 years,5 months…my dog passed away. I buried him on 09/27/2018. I MISS him very much! I’ll see you again Mickey
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
I’m so sorry for your loss, Dennis.
Mark
With my recent loss I am still hurting so bad and I feel like getting another would fill the void and help heal the pain. Everything I have read says to wait and not do jump into replacing your loss. but why?
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
You can wait as long as you need to. If you feel ready to add a pet to your family then you should. As you mentioned, for some people it helps them handle the loss of their pet. Everyone is different.
Emily
My cat died today and i’m really struggling. Its so unfair
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
I’m sorry for your loss, Emily.
Mark
Last Sunday we lost our little girl, Sammie who was a Yorkie. She was outside with our other Yorkie (Sophie) sniffing around and enjoying the outdoors. My son was leaving to run an errand. For some stupid reason she ran out of the trees and ran under the truck . When i turned around I seen her laying there shaking. I new it was bad…..She looked at me with her little brown eyes and just wondered what the hell just happened. I consoled her but then realized i had to help her go to sleep. It was the hardest then I have ever had to do . I can’t get it out of my mind. We rescued her almost 4 years ago and was so special knowing we gave her such a better life. Sammie filled me with such joy and love. She followed me everywhere. I’ve lost pets before but this one is so much harder to deal with. I can not get the whole ordeal out of my mind…..What if, what if, What if? I haven’t talked to anyone about this and appreciate reading the other replies….may you all remember the love and memories your special fur babies brought you!
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
Oh Mark, I’m so sorry. I can’t imagine how difficult that was for you to experience. Please know you are in my thoughts.
Amy
I don’t think there is an answer to this question, honestly. It is difficult to deal with the loss of a pet regardless of how young or old they are. The younger they are, it must be tougher to deal with, but pets rarely outlive their human companions, so we have to face their mortality at some point. Still, I struggle with this, as you do. If you know it is coming, it might be easier (or maybe even harder because you know), but it can be sudden and unexpected at any age. I just lost my father and both of my dogs recently (all way too early) and within months of each other to incurable diseases. My most recent loss, our Pomeranian named Swami, suffered from diabetes the last few years of his life, but that isn’t what he died from. He was fine and the next day, not. He had stage 4 renal failure with no symptoms or notice. Within weeks, we were sure we had to help him go so he didn’t suffer, because as you say, they suffer in silence due to their nature and survival instinct to not show vulnerability to predators. This was almost 3 months ago, but I am still heartbroken and all I can offer to you is to just accept it and think about getting another pet that is in need of a human companion. Death comes to all of us, some way too soon, some hard, some easier, some with intense suffering. If you can help your pet by ending their suffering, even if it means you are left feeling guilty and empty, it is best for you both because you wouldn’t want to see your pet when they are really suffering and can’t hide it. I am so sorry for your loss and my heart goes out to you.
Kathlyn
Yesterday my 3 year old GSD, Emma, passed away. 3 weeks ago she started acting strange and we took her to the vet, they said she had heart failure which was causing fluid to build up in her lungs. She got on meds and we thought she would recover and while she would be on meds forever have a good life. She never really got back to herself but seemed to be doing alright. The day before yesterday she stopped eating and got very lethargic so we called the vet to get her in first thing in the morning. On the 5 minute drive from the house to the vet she passed in the back of the car. It is so devastating, the vet said it was her heart. I know how much she loved car rides and I hope she was happy and knew how much we loved her when she went. We have 2 other dogs but Emma had such a big personality that it feels very empty without her.
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
I’m terribly sorry for your loss, Kathlyn.
Oliver Baillie
My dog had to be put down today because of complications with his heart/breathing. I haven’t stopped crying all day.
Jayamala Sridhar
I lost my beloved PRINCE on 24th Sept who was 10.5 years old GSD- I must say he was the real prince of our family, so unique.
It all happened so sudden… he had arthritis problem since last 2 years and managing quite well though with minimal activities. He was also diagnosed with Cancer in 2017 but was under control with regular medicines. 10 days before he passed away, his back legs became very bad and he couldn’t walk. Steroid injections didn’t help him either and finally he had to be hospitalized. Though, we knew he wouldn’t be happy there and will never eat without us, we were so helpless since we had some hope that his legs will be alright and will come back home very soon. He gradually turned anemic and last day before passing away, had heavy breathing and extremely tired/exhausted with no proper blood circulation.
Doctors did echo cardiography and said his heart was functioning normally and will do a blood test next morning to know his exact condition.
Little did we know that it’s our last meeting with our darling son whom we’ll not be able to see forever. That night, we got a call from Doc that he was turning blue and vomited black…within few minutes, he died. I’m still clueless as to why his death happened all of a sudden and don’t know the exact reason. I am really depressed that we couldn’t be there next to him during his last few hours.
I’m completely devastated with his loss and not been able to come to terms at all. Day by day, my agony is increasing as I grieve for my dearest kid. He was the best thing in my life and not sure if I ever become normal. I terribly miss him and I feel I lost part of my life, become lonely. I wish I could see him again.
But, I am always thankful to god and grateful to my little one for giving me his best time over these years.
I want to repay the best days my PRINCE has given me by supporting Animal care centre and spend time with selfless pets who live there.
I live in Bangalore- can anyone suggest pet care orgs wherein I can get some kind of solace in this grieving process.
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
I’m so sorry for your loss, Jayamala.
Sarah
It’s only been a day since our beautiful flat coated retriever Iolo had to be put to sleep. I have no guilt over this action as it was the selfless thing to do as he was suffering. However even though he struggled to breath his tail was still trying to wag – but that was our boy, always happy. I stayed with him until the end as even though there were 2 other family members there it was always my room Iolo came to hide when the noice of the fireworks scared him. I’d like to think with me being there he knew not to be afraid as I always protected him in the past. The grieving process has only just started for me but I don’t know how I’ll ever feel happy again. He was the best thing in my life, my little prince.

I’ve read the story of Rainbow Bridge about 3 times in the last 24 hours and although I am comforted by the thought we will be reunited eventually I am in my 40’s and the thought of living the rest of my life without my Iolo sounds like such an empty life.

I miss you boy

Kimberly Alt (Admin)
I’m sorry you lost your sweet Lolo, Sarah.
Louyi
I recently lost a Pomeridian. She lived with me since the day I was brought home. When I was 10, I started taking care of her because my grandma moved. Then one night when I was 12, my mom woke me up a 2. She said I needed to come with her to the animal hospital. When I got there my dog was paralyzed. She was in a lot of pain and was trying to move. We decised to put her to sleep. It’s hard for me to get through this.
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
I’m sorry for your loss, Louyi.
Rachel
Yesterday I had to put my 12 year old Frenchie down, his name was Cesar. Cesar has been with me since he was old enough to leave his mom. He has helped me through a divorce, a difficult pregnancy, a layoff, the loss of my mom and so many other things. Ceez was my rock. Yesterday started like any other day, and then it all changed. Ceez was pacing the whole house and panting, running his head into everything and falling over. It happened out of nowhere. The vet said she though he had a stroke and that a corneal ulcer we just treated less than a month ago had burst and that he was in pain. She recommended that I put him down, that surgery at his age wasn’t fair. I have never had to make that decision before, it was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make. I couldn’t ever allow him to be in pain, but after the first shot he was so peacefully sleeping and I didn’t want to let him go. I didn’t think today could be worse than yesterday, but it is. I can’t stop crying, I miss him so much. I keep thinking how I should have spent more time with him or showed him more how much I loved him. This grief is unbearable. I am trying to stay strong for my 9 year old, but it is so hard. I feel consumed with guilt and pain. I don’t know how I can get past the hurt I am feeling or if this is even normal? I just wish I had one more day with him, just one more so I could spend it loving him with all my heart. He was my rock, my best friend. I feel like I lost part of my heart.
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
I’m so sorry for your loss, Rachel.
Amanda
Sunday October 7th I had to put my baby girl to sleep. I made the worst appointment earlier that week. I feel like a complete monster and that I murdered my baby. Kiki was a 14 year old pitbull who could no longer walk and I knew her quality of life was no longer enjoyable for her. I’ve cried everyday since Sunday, I can’t seem to stop. I miss her terribly. I feel empty,incomplete and like a horrible person for doing it. She was the best. I wish I could of taken her place. She made everyone so happy. The strange part is she’s a daddy’s girl they did absolutely everything together. They had a stronger bond than her and I did. I’m having a harder time with her death. Is it a man vs woman thing? I know without a doubt hubby is sad as well, I just can’t seem to let go. Everything reminds me of her, I see her, I hear her am I crazy? We had her cremated and were waiting to get the ashes back, a part of me feels like I’ll have her back, just in a different way. There’s no pain like losing a pet. I don’t want to enjoy life anymore I’m unable to be happy. Truthfully I fake being happy so my husband can feel better, I know I shouldn’t fake happy but I want him to be ok. I try to think of the day when I’ll see her again, but it’s so hard when I feel this sad.
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
I’m sorry for your loss, Amanda.
Randy Brozana
I just had to say good bye to my little Tazz my little Yorkie. AND THREE years ago too my other Yorkie Beasley
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
I’m sorry for your loss, Randy.