7 Ways Of Coping With The Loss Of A Pet — Dad On The Edge

Acknowledge the reality

Coping with the loss of a pet can seem unreal when it first happens. It may take days, weeks, or months to feel normal again and be used to a life without your beloved pet by your side. Remember that it took time to develop a relationship with your pet, so it may take time to get over their loss as well.

Don’t let people tell you how to feel

When coping with the loss of a pet, do not let others dictate how you should be feeling or how long you should grieve. Don’t allow people to tell you to “get over it” or “move on.” That timing is for you to decide and no one else. Whatever emotions you are feeling, know that it is normal. You may be angry or sad, and you may want to cry.

Talk to others who have lost pets

Know that you are not the first person who has had to deal with coping with the loss of a pet. There is a multitude of other people who have gone through precisely what you’re going through. It can be other family members or friends, or online support groups but find someone supportive of your loss and talk to them. You may find that you both have a good cry together, but knowing they understand what you’re going through is vital for the healing process.

Remember the good memories you’ve had

No one can take away the memories you’ve had with your pet, so when coping with the loss of a pet, often think of the good times and positive memories. Looking back on pictures of your pet can be happy and sad at times, but let yourself feel the emotions you are having.

Maintain a routine for any other pets you have

If you have other pets, be aware that that may feel the loss as well, so try to keep their routine as normal as possible. Continue to feed them at the same time and take them out for walks. Show them the same affection you showed before the loss. Animals, especially dogs, are smarter than we think.

Take care of yourself

Coping with the loss of a pet can cause severe anxiety and depression, so make sure you take care of yourself as well. It’s easy to get caught up in worrying about how children will react, but you need to take time for yourself as well. Continue with your regular routines and make sure you are eating correctly and exercising. Spend time in person with friends who understand what you’re going through. Those friends may be able to share some advice on what helped them get through the same situation.

Seek professional help if you need it

If you’re beginning to find that your grief is constant and it’s interfering with your normal day to day life, then seek professional help. Be careful that coping with the loss of a pet doesn’t trigger depression.

Helping Children Cope With The Loss Of A Pet

For children, the loss of a pet may be their first experience with death, and the first chance you have to teach them about coping with death and grief. Many children, like adults, love their pets immensely and, in many situations, have had the pet their entire life. Parents may try to shield their child from the grief involved with losing their pet by not talking about it or not being honest with their child. In my opinion, this is the wrong approach.

Let them grieve

Allow your child to grieve openly and honestly and don’t push ideas into their heads on how or what they should feel. Be aware that what you feel compared to your child may be different. Give your children a bit of credit that they can show compassion for the loss of their pet.

Be reassuring

Coping with the loss of a pet can raise questions for your children as to death in general, mostly of other adults like their parents. Assure them that you most likely will not be dying soon and not to worry but listen to their thoughts and concerns.

Involve your children

Your children should be involved in putting together mementos of your pet, including choosing pictures and arranging any memorial services you might have. Sometimes a simple ceremony at home where each child can have time to talk about the pet will help them in the grieving process. A memorial service can help them openly express their feelings and emotions.

Don’t rush to replace

A common mistake parents make is to rush out and get a replacement pet before the child has had the chance to finish grieving their loss. The message you are sending when immediately replacing a pet is that the emotions and feelings your child has can be overcome by getting a new pet.

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