How to Find Peace of Mind After Putting a Dog to Sleep


These ideas for finding peace of mind after you put a dog to sleep are inspired by readers’ comments. For many dog owners, grief is compounded by guilt and regret after a dog is euthanized.

How to Find Peace of Mind Putting a Dog to SleepThe Paw in Hand Devotion Garden Stone is a lovely way to remember your dog. The stone reads: “Our pets lead us from patience to love, and then to loss….but it is always a journey worth taking.” Finding peace of mind after putting a dog to sleep isn’t about avoiding the pain. It’s about walking through it so you can come out into the light on the other side.

Here’s what one reader said on How to Know When to Put Your Dog Down: “I had to put two of my dogs down and it was the hardest thing I think I’ve ever had to do. One of my dogs we’ve had for 17 years. Saying goodbye was unbearable. She was blind and going deaf. She would go to the bathroom on herself and it was hard to see my dog suffering but what was worse was putting her down! My other dog was 12 years old and he had arthritis really bad. I was there as they were going to sleep and saw the life leave their eyes. I crawled into a ball just bawling in the middle of the room. I am suffering from nightmares now. The guilt I feel is unbearable. How do I find peace of mind after putting a dog to sleep?”





Finding Peace of Mind After Putting a Dog to Sleep

Saying good-bye to a dog you love is one of the most difficult things you’ll ever experience. There are no easy tips on how to find peace of mind, but I do have a few ideas for coping after putting a dog to sleep.

Honor your dog’s life

Losing our dogs is devastating because they are such an ingrained, important part of our lives. My dogs go on most of my errands with me – to the bank, library, church, and even my vacations. They’re almost always by my side. That’s why it’s hard to know how to find peace of mind. After putting a dog to sleep, we lose a crucial part of our lives. Losing a constant companion is like losing a limb.

Finding Peace of Mind After Putting a Dog to Sleep

How to Find Peace of Mind After Putting a Dog to Sleep

We’re also deeply attached to our dogs on an emotional level. Dogs are a constant source of unconditional love, loyalty, physical affection, and laughter. They’re vulnerable and authentic, dependent and invaluable. Putting a dog down is like shutting off a light that has burned brightly in our hearts and lives…and this, too, is why it’s hard to know how to find peace of mind.

If you feel responsible for putting a dog to sleep, you may find it helpful to read Dealing With Guilt When You Caused Your Dog’s Death helpful.

Write a tribute to your dog

One of the most important tips on how to find peace of mind after putting a dog down is to take time to write about your dog’s life. The act of writing will help your brain process the shock of losing your dog, Putting your feelings into words will allow emotional expression, which will eventually calm your soul.

How do you write a tribute to your dog? Try answering these questions:

  • Who was your dog? Think of his personality, bad and good habits, likes, dislikes, etc.
  • What was your dog’s favorite toy or game?
  • Describe how your dog was part of your daily life. What will you miss most?
  • Was your dog’s death a surprise, or had you prepared yourself for putting your dog to sleep?
  • How did you get your dog? Tell the story of bringing your dog home.
  • How did your dog change your life?

It may take several hours to answer these questions. I encourage you to give yourself at least a week or two to work through your tribute. Don’t rush it. Allow yourself to feel the pain of putting a dog to sleep. This is how you find peace of mind: by wading through the feelings of shock, devastation, anger, and despair that arise after putting a dog to sleep.



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Consider planning a short memorial service for your dog. Read Cremation Urns for Your Dog’s Ashes for ideas on how to say goodbye.

Give yourself time to grieve

Eventually, your heart will heal. You’ll begin to remember your dog with more love than pain, more lightness than despair, more faith than grief. You’ll learn that finding peace after putting a dog to sleep is a long journey that is different for everyone.

how to heal after losing your petIn How to Heal Your Heart After Losing a Pet: 75 Ways to Cope With Grief and Guilt When Your Dog or Cat Dies, I share the most valuable, comforting advice I found when I was dealing with the loss of my own dog, Jazz.

I interviewed veterinarians, grief counselors, and pet experts for the best ways to survive the death of a beloved dog, and I included stories from real pet owners who coped with guilt and grief in sometimes surprising ways.

You’ll learn that the pain of putting a dog to sleep does ease – especially if you allow yourself to try different suggestions for how to find peace of mind. If you give yourself time and space to actively grieve (as opposed to avoiding the pain of putting a dog to sleep), you’ll eventually open your heart to love another dog. You’ll be able to offer comfort to others and share hope to the hopeless.

Bow your head

As a Christian, I believe we can only know how to find peace of mind through God. As a reader of writers such as Brene Brown and Tim Keller, I’ve learned that resilience and healing only comes through a strong spiritual connection with something bigger and greater than ourselves.

I pray for healing and peace that surpasses all understanding to come into your life. May your heart be comforted and your soul lifted as you bow your head to your Creator. He loves you. He wants you to have peace of mind. He created you, and He created your dog. God knows how close you and your dog were. Your dog’s soul is resting in His perfect place, and your dog’s spirit will never leave you.

How to Find Peace of Mind After Putting a Dog to Sleep

How to Find Peace of Mind After Putting a Dog to Sleep

Your dog was a gift, a brief blessing, a glimpse of heaven on earth. May you be free of pain and grief. May you embrace the healing power of acceptance, and surrender to Jesus’ love and power. He knows what He is doing, and He loves you deeply. May you be filled with faith, freedom, and love.

For more tips on how to find peace of mind after putting a dog to sleep, read How to Cope When Your Dog Has Cancer.

I welcome your thoughts on grief and healing after putting your dog to sleep. Writing will help you process your thoughts and feelings, which can help you heal. I can’t offer advice, but your experience will help others learn how to find peace of mind.

“You have left my life, but you will never leave my heart.”


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xo


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12 thoughts on “How to Find Peace of Mind After Putting a Dog to Sleep

  • paula telford

    We just put our baby boy Conkers to sleep yesterday. I also buried my mum this week, but the grief I have for my dog is unreal. The physical pain in my chest is like nothing else I.’ve ever felt. He was coming 14 and we rescued him at 8 weeks old. He grew up with my two sons through their teenage years and just loved us unconditionally, as we did him. He got ill very quickly at New Year starting with a bleed, anaemia, and just really out of sorts. Back and forth to the vets for blood test and check ups and then he had to have his spleen removed. There was a tumor which was cancer and he had spots on his liver, but he also had a condition where his immune system was attacking his blood and platlettes. He was given steroids which made him really sick and he would stop eating. He couldn’t stand he was so weak we assume due to the low bloods and then it seemed that his bladder stopped working right because he couldn’t control it. It was heartbreaking to watch our baby suffer although through it all he never made a sound. I.m now questioning if we did enough for him, did we ask the right questions, try enough drugs and was he ill for longer than we noticed. Because although he was 14 he still jumped about and acted like a pup.
    So yesterday at the end, we held him and told him if was the best dog ever, that we loved him millions forever, but I really feel like i.m never going to get over it and i,’ve cried like i never thought possible😭😭💔💔

  • jackie

    I didn’t think I would be affected like I am but I am having a hard time adjusting to our pug named Champ being gone. Friday, October 13, 2017 we had to put him down. I am extremely sad and my heart is broken. I have not been able to sleep, I just lay in the bed and toss and turn and cry. He took a piece of my heart with him on Friday. It’s crazy but the house seems weirdly empty without him here. We got Champ when he was 6 weeks old and he lived to be 14. He still had that “pug” spirit that was strong but his body just wasn’t. He had severe arthritis and two tumors that were cancerous. Champ was in a lot of pain and I know putting him down was what needed to be done. I just hope he knew how much he was loved in those last moments as we gathered around him as his heart took its last beat. He is miss greatly!

  • Mary

    My bright little light of life, Lucy, is gone. I am heartbroken and so sad. She was the integral part of my life for 10 years. So much grief in my heart. She was a Schnoodle that my mom bought for me, and named, one year before mom passed away. Lucy laid on a chair near my mom’s hospital bed in living room watching over mom in the days prior to her death. During this time, Lucy didn’t bark when people knocked on the door. Note: Lucy always barked when someone came to house. Lucy was a bundle of life, love, light, gentleness, and fun. I’m having a very difficult time without my love bug.

  • Amitosh

    i had a puppy . He was with me since he was born. yesterday (7/04/2017) he died in a car accident.He was the most happy pup I have ever seen. He always waits for me infront of my house gate. As he was so young i use to feed him by my hands after he finish eating he always licks my hands and tries to reach to me by standing on his 2 limbs, But now my dearest one is no more. I hope he is living in a peaceful place where he is happy. I love you and i will always miss you though 2 months is not that much but for me those 2 months is equivalent to years.
    And if you are also going through this kind of situation … i hope you will be fine someday 🙂

  • Natasha Mcpeek

    My sweet winnie left me unexpectedly yesterday she was my best friend in the whole world not to mention she was also my daughters best friend. And i dont know what to do. Neither of us can’t stop crying. I need some help with this. she was my baby girl, i was with her 97% of the time for 2 years. My heart is crushed.

    • Laura Hollenbacher

      Natasha, My sweet girl left my two days ago. Like you, I’m devastated. I’m numb and completely out of it. I can’t stop thinking of her and how sudden her death was. I hope I did the right thing. I will pray for you and I hope you find the peace you are looking for. I’m so sorry for your loss. I understand your pain. I’m feeling it too.
      Laura

  • Cindy

    My parents are going to sell my dog I felt so sad because she is everything j have I cant live without her whenever I come back home j call out her name and she wriggled her tail this is the most hard decision for me I am still young I tried to convince my parents but they don’t agreed but I can’t live without her she is the only one who accompany me I am not scare of anything because of her I am so sad I read your article and tried but I just can’t stop crying

  • Jenny martin

    We lost our 11.5 year old lab coach 4 days ago. My heart is broken I feel so guilty for all the missed love I should have taken time to give him. He couldn’t walk on wednesday morning but my husband and son were gone he wasn’t crying just resting so I laid with him all day until they were home and then we took him to the vet to be put to sleep. We stayed with him the whole time and had him cremated. I have his box of ashes in the living room with his favorite toy and a picture of him. I feel like my heart will never mend. I miss him. I cry all the time. I just want one more day. He was to special not to be with God but I just want him with me. I hope God takes this pain soon and I can think of him with happiness. I hope he knows how much I loved him. Thanks for your article I am trying to use all the tips.

  • Nekeyah

    My Dog max was poisoned by unknown people of my community using a powerful weed killer. A day later we saw that he came in the kitchen under the table where he usually goes when something is wrong, he looked sad, weak and like he was suffering, he loved deli meats such as bacon and bologna we offered him piece and he declined which was strange we decided to take him to the vet where we had to lift him because he was too weak, he received shots and antibiotics and the vet said we had to hope and pray for his wellness. Today 17/5/16 Max died at shortly after 8am and he was laid to rest the same day. I had him for 10 years and i loved every moment. RIP max

  • Sarah

    I had to put my sweet dog, Henry down today. He suffered a spine injury and the medications were not helping. He went from walking and jumping on Thursday to having to be carried because his back legs were not working on Sunday. He also lost the ability to go to the bathroom. I know it was the best decision for him. He was in pain, his quality of life fanished overnight and as someone who loved him so very much I could not let him exist that way. My heart is broken. He was just 4 years old. I pray God takes this pain away. I have peace knowing he is no longer suffering.

  • Laurie Post author

    Thanks for your thoughts, crur. Yes, I agree – not everyone has faith in God, and this article isn’t for all dog owners. I’m just trying to help people with faith learn how to find peace of mind after putting a dog to sleep.

  • crur

    Lots of helpful tips on how to find peace of mind after putting a dog to sleep, however, not everyone has faith in god or religion. Advice needs to be more general and non faith based. I switched off when the god factor was mentioned.