I've owned pets most of my life and volunteered many hours to help others. I've written on topics regarding their welfare for over 10 years.
Losing a Dog: Remembering the Good Times and Honoring the Love
For many people, a pet is not just a pet. A pet is part of the family and losing one can be crushing. Making the decision to put a dog or any other animal down is painful, but just as with any loss, it's important to hold on to the memory of the wonderful life you shared and the loving bond that will never be broken.
Music can be one way of dealing with this loss. Below, you will find dog songs that tell stories that are likely similar to your own—stories of living and loving a dog and then trying to go on after they are gone. Sometimes, knowing that your experience is shared can help.
You will also find a handful of songs that may not have been written specifically about dogs, but they express some of the feelings one experiences when their companion passes on. They can give voice to the sadness, a reminder that your love goes on, and a chance to say goodbye with all of the gratitude your friend deserves.
The songs below may not be top hits or even current tunes, but they can provide the inspiration needed to fully experience our feelings, cope, and heal.
1. "It's Just a Dog" by Mo Pitney
In 2016, Mo Pitney recorded "It's Just a Dog." It's all about grieving the loss of a best friend. The song tells the story of finding "his girl" as a stray in the rain, her ever-present companionship thereafter, and mourning her loss when she's gone.
Everyone who has ever loved a dog knows, they are never just a dog.
2. "Shannon" by Henry Gross
Apparently Henry Gross knows what it is like to grieve for a dog. In 1976, his song "Shannon" was popular. In it, a family finds itself mourning the passing of their dog. Gross reportedly had an Irish Setter named Shannon, but he wrote the song when he learned of the death of the Beach Boys member Carl Wilson losing his Irish Setter.
3. "Little Boys Grow Up and Dogs Get Old" by Luke Bryan
The shorter life-span of dogs has been the cause of a lot of grief. Luke Bryan's song "Little Boys Grow Up and Dogs Get Old" from 2015 tells the story of growing up with a dog, leaving home as a nearly grown adult, and leaving behind an elderly best friend.
4. "Better With You There" by Dan Reising
Dan Reising wrote and performed a tribute to a dog as well. This is a simple tune that tells the story of a man who misses a long time friend. Any working adult can easily see themselves in the situation described in "Better With You There."
5. "I Will Always Be With You" by Sheena Easton and Jessie Corti
From the movie All Dogs Go To Heaven 2, the song "I Will Always Be With You" pays tribute to a bond that can never be broken. It speaks to the true and constant companionship between a person and a dog and how death doesn't change that. Sheena Easton and Jessie Corti recorded this song in 1996.
6. "My Old Dog"
If you've had an older dog you've had to put down, you really should understand this song found on YouTube. The song "My Old Dog" is about alleviating the pain of a pet, dealing with the despair of that decision, and knowing that they will eventually be together again.
7. "Beau" by Jimmy Stewart
This is a bit of a cheat because the following video doesn't showcase a dog song. Instead, it is simply a poem written and orally presented by actor Jimmy Stewart, who was a major talent in the 1940s–1970s.
In 1981, Stewart appeared on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and performed a heartfelt reading of a tribute to his dog Beau. Both Stewart and Carson are genuinely affected.
8. "Cracker Jack" by Dolly Parton
A true country tune, "Cracker Jack" is a Dolly Parton song from 1974. It's the reminiscing of an adult who fondly remembers her childhood best friend, a dog named Cracker Jack.
9. "A Dog's Heart" by CRD Creative
Another country gem on YouTube, "A Dog's Heart" from CRD Creative sings the praises of dogs and the gifts they bring us. In the end, of course, the dog is gone and we are left with the valuable lessons we learned from them.
10. "If I Could Talk"
This is another cheat, but it's a fitting way to end this particular collection. In the short film If I Could Talk, we see the bond between a dog and a man (and later a family) grow from puppyhood to old age. We see the final moments. But more importantly, we see the critical message that not only has a dog filled our lives with joy, love, and life lessons, but we have given him a full and joyous life as well. It's a message that anyone who has loved and lost a pet needs to understand.
11. "I'll See You Again" by Westlife
In "I'll See You Again" by Westlife, you can reassure your heart with the thought that your companion is not truly gone from you and that you will be spiritually reunited one day.
12. "I Will Remember You" by Sarah McLachlan
Sarah McLachlan's "I Will Remember You" may serve as a way to express your desire to keep your pet alive in your heart. Any time a loved one passes, reliving memories of them allows us to continue to experience their love.
13. "You're Missing" by Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen's "You're Missing" describes how life goes on but things aren't the same, someone is missing and it creates a hole in your life. While so many people may not understand the grief of missing a pet, this song puts words to that feeling of loss.
14. "Because You Loved Me" by Celine Dion
Dogs give us all of their happiness, energy, unconditional love, and much more. "Because You Loved Me" by Celine Dion is a song that puts our gratitude for all they share with us into words.
15. "This Is Not Goodbye" by Sidewalk Prophets
Sidewalk Prophets' "This Is Not Goodbye" is another potential dog song for those grieving the loss of a pet even if that's not its original intent. It is about bidding a gentle goodbye to a companion or loved one.
16. "Goodbye My Friend" by Linda Ronstadt
"Goodbye My Friend" by Linda Ronstadt is about the loss of a friend, accepting the uncertainty of life, and death. It tells us that the love we shared and time will ease the pain. It's not unusual for grief to linger, but being able to move forward and find joy in what was can be a healing force.
© 2018 Ruth Coffee
Do You Have Songs That Have Helped You Through the Loss of a Pet?
Shannon T on June 17, 2020:
Little Willow by Paul McCartney...it’s not about a dog per say, but it’s very befitting to losing your best friend.
Cathy on May 12, 2020:
Lost my beautiful 12+ lab on April 17th and am working on a video in her memory. Many songs on this list are heart breaking but perfect and have purchased downloads to use. Also found in the past few days a beautiful music version of "The Rainbow Bridge" by Libby Allen. My prayers go out to you Joshua, they steal our hearts and take a piece of us with them. For whatever it's worth, when you are able, I believe our sweet babies would want us to take some of that love and rescue another in need. Dogs are God's way of teaching us the sweetness of unconditional love.
Joshua on May 11, 2020:
Thank you for these suggestions. I had to put my puppy to sleep today at age 15. I forgot how much it hurt losing a best friend.
But hes not in pain anymore at least and i know he loved me but what i wouldnt give to have him cuddling into the back of my legs as he always did right now.
Goldie Holbrook on March 18, 2020:
I love dogs too death she was myl loveHe was like my kid and I love her to death
Serafina on March 06, 2020:
My son lost his best friend tonight. When I came to visit him, the dog got out on country roads and was hit by a car... died instantly the neighbor said. Son was torn to pieces when I got there. He had him since he was a puppy. He was his bestfriend. I pray his heart will be lifted soon from the heavy grief he has at this moment. Love you Erik.... Valentine will be mossed.
Allison on February 07, 2020:
I lost my sweet, loving dogs on Jan 4th. They were 13 years old and brother and sister. It hurts so incredibly bad and I’m having a hard time with the pain of losing them.
Steve on January 14, 2020:
I lost my dog a week before christmas. 12 year old boxer lennox. I miss him so much
Aytumn on December 22, 2019:
I lost my dog lazy boses he deyd but I don't want a dog I got a dog so I am sad he diyd he was so good he did not deserves to die I am so sad
Aytumn on December 22, 2019:
Ones I had a pet cat he diyd I was so sad I was crying because he diyd and his name was Mr. Tickles I was sad that he diyd
Ruth Coffee (author) from Zionsville, Indiana on December 17, 2019:
Damian, I am so sorry for your loss! The loss of a kitty feels no different than that of a dog. Cats can be as funny and as loving as a dog. That hole they leave is just as painful. You made a hard decision with a lot of love. There are some forums out there with fellow cat lovers you might want to read. And yes, there are songs about the loss of a loved cat. One album you can stream is Souris Calle (it's a French ladies cat) Pharrell Williams, Bono, and others all wrote songs for the album. There are more of course, but these were written very specifically for a cat.
Damian Jones on December 16, 2019:
I know most of these are dog related but yesterday i had to put my kitty of ten years down and I can't stop crying feels like a weight is on my chest
Ruth Coffee (author) from Zionsville, Indiana on December 14, 2019:
Isabella, crying can be a good release of your grief. If you haven't already, you might want to talk about your dog and how much you miss her with your parents to help them understand what you are feeling inside. The time may not be right yet, but another dog might be good to have in the future. You can not replace a dog you love just as you can't replace any other member of your family. But, you will eventually be able to love another dog too. A person's heart is big, just as a dog's heart is big and there is no limit on the number of people or dogs that we can love. I think you are also right, your dog will always be with you, that love will never die.
Isabella on December 13, 2019:
Thank you I've been thinking so much about her and i haven't been myself lately i cry alot when im alone i mean my parents think i can replace her with a huskey but i cant i tell Myself she stays with me always
Ruth Coffee (author) from Zionsville, Indiana on November 14, 2019:
Thanks for sharing the song for everyone Eddie. I am really sorry for your loss. I can easily see that your dog was loved and had a fantastic life with you and your family.
LydSherman on August 07, 2019:
My baby boy just past away last August 02. He was 11 yrs old a Siberian Husky he was the love of life. We are so heartbroken. Everytime I see photos of him in my house my tears flow. He left us a big hole in heart . I don't think my life is the same with out him. He was a very special boy. Every day since he left we always think of him me and my husband he was our first and only pet child. Too many good memories our house is so empty right now. The pain is very deep it was so hard to describe . If there is a word above pain that's what we feel right now.
Pat on June 14, 2019:
I lost my dog 3 days ago because of a sudden illness. In less than a week, he went from healthy to dying, so we had to put him down. I am so hearbroken and miss him so much, he was always beside me. I know that time heals everything, but right now, it seems impossible to bear. Thank you for your suggestions, they do help. Especially the Bruce Springsteen's You're missing, and some songs mentioned by Bruce in the comments were actually pretty accurate.
Ruth Coffee (author) from Zionsville, Indiana on May 29, 2019:
I've very sorry to hear about your loss. While dogs can't verbalize their feelings the way we can, our hearts speak the same language. I am certain she knew how important she was as a family member. Just as with the loss of anyone important to you, be sure to take the time to talk about it with those you trust, your family, and if necessary a counselor or other pet lovers online.
Victoria Tidmarsh from Birmingham UK on May 29, 2019:
I'm so lost and empty right now our dog Yoshi was put to sleep on 24th of May she was 16yrs and 8 months old my husband had had her from 6 weeks old and she had been a part of my life for 13 yrs my children have never known life without a dog. My heart breaks even thinking about her. I miss her so much
Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on April 01, 2019:
Hi, Ruth Coffe, your comment noted.
Ruth Coffee (author) from Zionsville, Indiana on April 01, 2019:
Naa, I'm so sorry to hear that your dog is gone. We can never keep them long enough. I hope in time you will remember mostly the love. As much as you loved your dog, he loved you right back.
Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on April 01, 2019:
Hi, naa, sorry for the loss.
naa on April 01, 2019:
my dog died today ,my heart is broken and i really miss him
Doug on February 24, 2019:
Two songs I have recently found are Chasing Butterflies by Frankly Speaking and Without Words by The Spectra 2014 Singers. Both are so good, but so heartbreaking too, lots of love. It has been almost 2 years since I lost my boy, and this morning it just hit me really hard as if I had JUST lost him. Blitz was everything good in my life.
Carolina Mejia from Mexico on June 20, 2018:
The poem is really sad it really made me tear up
Ruth Coffee (author) from Zionsville, Indiana on June 04, 2018:
Thanks for visiting and commenting. Here in the US, people most often keep dogs as companion animals. Many kids grow up with one and single people and the elderly often find them to ease loneliness. Many of us become emotionally attached to them, so the death of a dog is a cause of grief.
Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on June 03, 2018:
Hello Ruth Coffee, thanks a lot. I do not own a pet dog or any other pet. But I recalled I kept domestic fowls as an hobby a log time ago.
If these are gone, they are gone because I and others like you used them for food. Those has not the sense of companion-love like a good dog.
But I am an avid reader. So why should not I read your interesting hubs? Two, I like singing but I am not a singer. Singing odd songs at times can create inspiration, mental enhancement and so on.
Thanks again, and happy hubbing.