Tips for Grieving the Loss of a Pet

When a pet passes away, intense feelings of sadness and grief are natural to feel. Mourning the loss is important as part of the process of working through the change. The love, fun, and memories you have with your pet are special and you may go through feeling sadness, may lose your appetite, and may even feel guilty.

While sadness and pain are normal, if you find yourself unable to go about your daily routines after some time, or find yourself becoming depressed to a point where physically you are unable to eat, or other signs of depression, you may want to consult a therapist or attend a group grief therapy session at your local humane society.

While we all process and grieve differently when we lose a pet, there are few tips to help us through the transition:

1: Expect the first few day to be distressing as you try to go through your daily activities. Expect to feel like you’re in a fog and expect sadness. It will subside after a period of time which is different for all of us.

2: Expect that cleaning up and putting away old toys, the litter box, leashes, or other things that belong to your pet will bring about feelings of pain and sadness. It is important to allow sadness to be present as it helps with grieving.

3: Try to stay in contact with friends and family. If you want to talk about your pet, it’s ok. Your friends might want to change the subject to help you not dwell on the loss.

4: Seek out support groups where others are also going through the loss of their pets and can sympathize.

5: Have a memorial service for your pet and invite your friends and family.

6: Try to express your feelings through creative outlets such as writing, painting, or music.

7: You can create a scrapbook or online photo album of your pet to help remember and memorialize your pet.

While we never forget our pets and may never completely get over the loss of them, it is important to grieve, process, and move forward. You may even get another pet after enough time has passed and it feels right.

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One thought on “Tips for Grieving the Loss of a Pet

  1. Cremation is an option pet lovers might consider. Our beloved dog died six weeks ago at age 13 1/2. He’d made numerous road trips with us throughout The Lower 48. We had him cremated, with most of his ashes placed into a wooden urn. It is prominently displayed on our bookcase and brings a measure of comfort as we look at his etched photo, looking at us. We had a small amount of his ashes withheld from the urn and are taking those with us on this summer’s road trip, to spread to the winds that blow through some of his favorite places. It will be a very different (and very quiet!) road trip, but we recognize that the depth of the sadness and grief we were dealing with in those first days and weeks after his death were in direct proportion to the joy and love he brought to our lives.