Scientists explain: The reason losing a dog feels the same as losing a human loved one

The loss of a pet can be very painful; for us animal lovers, it can hit as hard as losing a human loved one.

This pain isn’t helped by a lack of understanding and social support many of us experience after losing a pet.

However, a new study reveals that saying goodbye to a pet can be as painful as losing a human loved one, and here’s why …

Those of us who have lost a dog know how painful it can be, it feels as bad as losing a human family member. Now science explains the reasons why.

According to a study by the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna, scientists have found that the bond between dogs and their owners is similar to that of a parent-child relationship in humans.


According to the study “one aspect of the bond between humans and dogs is the so-called ‘secure base effect’

Love, trust and comfort

“This effect is also found in parent-child bonding: human infants use their caregivers as a secure base when it comes to interacting with the environment.”

In the case of pets, they make their parents feel safe due to love, trust and comfort, according to the study.


Although the loss of a dog severely disrupts your life and can cause depression, in some cases those around you think because you’ve lost an animal it’s not as serious as losing a human loved one.

‘Embarrassed to show grief’

Contrary to what happens when we lose a family member, you are often not given time to work through your grief and can feel “embarrassed to show too much public grief over our dead dogs,” according to Business Insider. 

However, there are some recommendations to help cope with the loss of a pet.

A ritual: organize a funeral or ceremony to commemorate the life of your pet which will allow you to openly express your feelings.

Grieve your way: don’t let anyone tell you how to feel, everyone is different. It’s okay to feel angry, sad or want to cry; it’s also okay to experience moments of joy. You can let go of the pain when you are ready.

Seek support: Talk to people who have experienced a similar situation to help give you comfort. There are also  support groups that can help you.

Establish a memorial: You can remind yourself of the happy memories you shared with your pet by planting a tree or putting together a scrap book or photo album. This can help you to move on.

Have you gone through the pain of losing your dog? How did you cope? Do not hesitate to share your experience and advice with others in the comments section.