27 Sep 2017
Don’t skip water: Hydration for pet loss self-care

Don’t skip water: Hydration for pet loss self-care

My hemp milk-cocoa-powder-stevia coffee beverage is my go-to, especially on morning when my mental energy is at its lowest. I love the creamy sweet treat. It comforts me. And while I have gone to great lengths to make sure it has healthy fats and zero to no sugar or carbs, drinking this beverage first thing in the morning probably isn't what my body needs most. Throughout my day I also rely a bit too heavily on sugarfree sodas that we make at home (thank you SodaStream!). What I should be drinking more of is water, and so this is my quest to reinforce for myself the need for hydration during periods of pet loss.

The anxiety and stress of caring for an ailing pet, and the grief that follows his or her passing, will more than likely take a toll on your human body, too. Emotions, especially those related to a devastating pet loss, can lead anyone to neglect their wellbeing as they might during a less stressful period. I know that just as in the final days of Tia's life and now, when Spartacus is going through a health crisis, my whole body suffers from fatigue, and let's face it, malnourishment. 

The strain can be even more intense if the people in your life don't understand that this animal soul is or was a member of your family - one who offered you unconditional love no matter what. As a result, the pet loss grief support you receive may be limited.

I’m here to tell you it’s OK to feel this loss hard - because pet grief is REAL grief. It’s OK to cry your eyes out and miss your fur baby. I’ve been there. I know that sometimes people need help to deal with the grieving process so that when acceptance comes, they’re able to move forward in good health.

In particular, people who are in mourning are susceptible to dehydration due to all of the salt-laden tears shed. The act of crying can be very therapeutic, but it can also disrupt your electrolyte levels. Our bodies’ cell need water to survive. Fluids keep things flowing and remove toxins from our bodies. When we’re dehydrated, we run the risk of having issues with internal organs. In fact, people end up hospitalized for dehydration all the time.

The big picture: Fluids are a must during times of grief. Let’s chat about how you can restore your body’s hydration levels after the loss of a pet.

Drink Water Pet Loss Self Care Activities Tiny Pet Memories

Water: The Essential Element For Your Self-Care Plan

Part of your personal mission to take care of yourself following pet loss is to make sure you’re doing what you need to stay healthy. Water is as essential to self-care as eating right, exercising, and even deep breaths. Signs of dehydration can include an achy feeling overall, sluggishness, a dull headache, and just a downright sense of being more miserable-feeling than you already are as you mourn. The right beverage can often be just what you need during this time.

Here are some basic ways to up your fluid intake.

Take a Drink

Fluids can come in many forms, but few are as beneficial as plain old H2O. Try to incorporate 8 to 10 glasses of filtered water into day. If you’re not a fan of unflavoured water, spruce it up with these ideas:

  • Slices of fresh citrus fruits, like lemon, lime, or orange add natural flavour without added sugar.
  • Fresh herbs like basil and mint, as well as cucumber slices, can add a refreshing taste to tap or filtered.
  • Try an infuser with different combinations of fruit and herbs for a tasty, calorie-free treat.
  • Avoid caffeinated or alcoholic beverages that can dehydrate (and also impact your mood levels). 

Take a Soak in the Tub

Taking in fluids orally isn't the only way to get the benefits of water. A luxurious bath can do wonders for the mind and body. I like to give mine a spa feel by tossing in a couple cups of Epsom salts, which contain magnesium, along with some baking soda and a few drops of lavender essential oil. This combination draws impurities from the body which helps with depression, muscle tension, moods, and more.

Enjoy Tea Time

When I’m down, a soothing cup of tea can boost my spirits. There’s something therapeutic about this hot beverage, especially during times of grief. If relaxation is your goal, herbal teas are a great go-to drink. Check out our recipes printable below for ideas that can help hydrate your body and calm your inner storm.  

Experiment with Kombucha

You may have heard of this fermented tea. It's fast becoming trendy worldwide, yet it's not really new. This naturally carbonated beverage has been consumed around the world for over 2,000 years. Russia, Germany, and China have applied it medicinally to heal a number of ailments such as constipation, indigestion, eyesight, and candida and yeast infections. Kombucha is high in antioxidants, polyphenols, amino acids, and probiotics (healthy bacteria).


Self-care is essential during times of grief. It’s too easy for the numbness to take hold and cause you to forget to do things you need to stay healthy, like eating or drinking. I hope you can use these ideas to easily incorporate more hydration into your days following the loss of your pet. If you've found other beverages useful in healing from grief and loss, leave your ideas in the comments.


Images: Joanna Kosinska, Neven Krcmarek

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Health Disclaimer: I’m passionate about wellbeing and health but I’m not a medical professional, nor am I a licensed therapist. Any content you read on this site is intended for inspiration and for information only – by not means am I providing medical advice. Please consult your certified professional for personalized recommendations on the mental health or physical health ideas I write about.