Survey Says: Pet Death Harder Than Human Loss

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In a survey conducted by pet CBD oil maker Honest Paws, 68% of respondents said grieving the loss of their pet was more difficult than the death of a family member or friend, and 17% said pet loss was equal to that of a family member or friend.

Survey findings include:

90% said pet loss was one of the most profound losses in their life

72% said someone diminished the significance of their loss (“It’s just a dog”)

34% didn’t have support from someone who understood the profundity of their loss

24% said the hardest part was no longer having a source of unconditional love

11 thoughts on “Survey Says: Pet Death Harder Than Human Loss”

  1. I just lost my "Jondy" last Thursday, and am not sure I want to continue.

    I lost her full Brother 1 1/2 years ago to cancer, and epilepsy seizures, and Jondy to Arthriris and a stroke on Wednesday.
    Now, I sit here and cry with no feelings left, and just think.

  2. After lots of research and years specializing in Pet Loss Support (mental health therapist) I’ve come to realize two things related to why pet loss is so painful.
    We believe it's the unconditional love our pets give us that create our bond with them. Research shows it’s our caregiving. Simply a different perspective. We invest and love develops. The bond resulting is a sort of payoff. Our daily schedule revolves around their care and wellbeing. From feeding them to walking them, even trips to the vet, the groomer, etc. It used it be, when I worked in an office setting and coworkers invited me to happy hour, my regular response was, "Oh, thank you, but I can't. I've got to get home to let the dog out." These were easy sacrifices for my furry companion. And the welcome I received when I got home was priceless!
    The second realization is that our pets live in our homes as family members. Conversely, family members such as grandparents, adult children, our own parents (if we're an adult) live in their own dwelling. A certain level of separation is provided by this. The opposite is true If we tend to a family member’s needs on a daily basis, then the loss feels more intense.
    Loss is painful and there are no shortcuts. How every deeply we care is how badly it’s going to hurt.

    1. shelia marie lehigh

      I agree i loss my first dog and still grieve…i thought i was having a heart attack and i still miss my boy.. even though i have other pack fur babies Columbo was link to my Mother..I find myself still crying. Then years later i lost my Troubadour to cancer 2sep2020 and never will i ever get over him he was my soul mate. I am still hurting…he was only 10 1/2.

  3. Agree with the people who commented above. I lost my Moose to traumatic injury inflicted by another dog and it is almost impossible to go on without him, despite loving the other pack members. One thing I would mention is that Cornell University School of Veterinary Medicine has a wonderful grief line manned (“personned”?) by fourth-year vet students who are very helpful and also send written materials if you wish. May everyone heal and go on with their dog babies, remembering.

  4. Shadow left earth after 13 And a half years, the pain is bad. I did everything to keep her well…but one night the vet came and said there was nothing he could do to keep her in good health, She went to sleep my my bed peacefully, I fed her water from a cup to keep her mouth moist. the shot

    took effect..she looked up at me blinked her eyes as to say "I'll see you later" My tears have not stopped..We'll meet again in Heaven on the Bridge. It's painful to love a dog, but we do it anyway….A

  5. I'm not surprised that the people surveyed responded that the loss of their dog was more painful than the loss of a family member or friend. This is a very complex issue. The survey compared loss of a much loved dog to the loss of any family member or friend. This includes more distant family and friends. Many people who answered the survey might not have had the horrific experience of losing a child. Or a sibling. But all had experienced losing a dog. It might be better to compare the loss of a loved dog to the loss of a loved child. Both are very traumatic.

  6. I also agree. My dachshund, Lily, had a brain tumor and I had to end her suffering last October. It has been the most profound and devastating experience of my life.

  7. I agree 100% — the loss of a dog is far more devastating than that of a human. I have lost 5 dogs in my life and each one destroyed me. The severe emptiness and pain cannot be compared to the loss of a person.

    Anyone who says "just a dog" is "just a jerk" I love my 3 dogs beyond words and I would do anything for them!

    1. I totally agree with you – it is always a devastating experience when my dogs have died. If you have not had a dog in your life you can’t understand – fortunately I have dog people in my life who get it

    2. I agree with you, Donna. I have two dogs. One recently turned 15 years old, so I’m preparing myself for the day she will no longer be here. I will be devastated when that day comes.

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