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Articles Home > Loss of a Pet > Loss of a Pet

Loss of a Pet

Posted: 6/28/2009 | Updated: 3/3/2011

Loss of a Pet

Losing a pet can be an extremely difficult time in one's life. Remember that it is okay to grieve their loss. Healing is a process that takes time and grieving is a part of that process. It is normal to feel guilt, denial, anger or depression throughout this process. Eventually acceptance will set in and you will begin to feel whole again this does not mean that you have to forget about all of the good times you two had together.

Many times the loss of a pet is greeted with much less support from others than the loss of a family member or close friend. Even though many of us consider our pets part of the family, others especially non-pet owners, can have trouble relating to our feelings during this difficult time. Surround yourself with loved ones who can help you deal with your feelings. Sometimes just talking about them will make you feel better. If you don't feel comfortable talking with someone close to you, there are Pet Counselors out there that specialize in Pet Loss.

Children in the Family

Explaining death to a child is not an easy thing to do. Younger children especially under the age of 7 do not have an understanding of permanent loss. At any age children are very sensitive and need to be talked to in a gentle, loving manner. They will likely have questions for you about their beloved pet. Where are they? When are they coming home? Why did they have to go? Your answers to these questions will depend on your particular situation, religious beliefs, etc. but be sure to answer their questions. You do not need to go into all of the details with them, just enough to answer their questions. Be sure to help them through their own grieving process.

Other Pets

Pets also have their own grieving process. They will definitely notice that their 'friend' is not around, especially if they have been together for a long time. Be sure to give them lots of love as they deal with this in their own way.

Getting Another Pet

It is generally best to take the time you need to grieve before introducing a new pet into the family. Children and other pets also need to be ready to accept the new member into the family, so make sure everyone is ready before bringing one home. Once you do finally decide the time is right be careful not to compare the new pet to the one you have lost. All pets are unique and have their own quirks and personalities. This one needs to fine a new place in your heart not replace the other one.

Tips on Coping

  1. Create a photo collage, video tribute or scrapbook of their photos. This is a great way to remember all those times you spent together and should help with the grieving process.
  2. Write in a journal or diary about your feelings. Sometimes just getting them out in writing will help you feel better.
  3. Write a story about your pet's life, even from their point of view, it will help you reflect on their life and remember all the fun times you shared.
  4. Write a letter to them explaining how much you miss them. It may sound corny but just getting it out can help bring closure.
  5. Make a donation to a local Rescue or Animal Shelter in their honor. It is a great way to help out other animals in need and honor their memory.
  6. Take your time. There is no magic amount of time that will make you feel better. Each person is different.

Article Comments

Pet cremation is a way for pet owners to keep their pet close to them knowing they are safe. This is a better way as well if you move a lot, don't have a secure place for burial or because of your job situation where you need go with the work. This gives peace of mind of knowing that your pet will always be with you.

Pet cremation can be away of helping with the pet loss by choosing a pet cremation urn that represents your pet, your love and their life as it was.

Every pet deserves the love and loyalty they gave you in life as well as after. Pet cremation can offer a pet that as well.

For the love of a pet.

by abbylane on 6/30/2009 at 8:14 AM

Pets do feel the loss the same as a person when one of their own passes on. The other pet may start behaving in different ways that are not normal for them. It is a way of expressing their loss such as - loss of appetite with eating less, loosing interest in things that they used to feel interest in; not taking an interest with you and the family or others, not sleeping in its normal place and being too quiet where it normally would not have.

These are all signs that your pet is silently grieving the loss of the other pet. The pet may not even be sure if the other pet has died and maybe hoping that the other pet will return.

You as a pet owner can only wait for time to heal for the grieving pet as well as yourself.
Pets like us feel the loss and some only takes a few weeks while others could take months to forget the loss of their friends. Sometimes giving the extra support, attention and care to that grieving pet will let them know you are their for them. You should spend more time with the grieving pet, engaging them in extra activities they normally live to do, invite other people over who have pets as well. This will help take their mind off the lost pet and give them company of another animal even if only for a short visit. If in time you as well as your grieving pet feel you are ready for another pet to keep you and your pet from getting lonely then by all means get another pet. Time will help heal and the memories of that lost pet will always be with.

by abbylane on 8/23/2009 at 8:41 PM

I cannot even think about losing my dog without it being very upsetting for me. My dog is a huge part of our family and everyone in our family would be devastated if we lost her. I know each time my sister lost a dog we all grieved and were very upset. Yes she has had all of her animals cremated and still has there remains. I know the hurt becomes tolerable but the the memories are for ever.

by emgerber on 2/16/2012 at 6:15 AM

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