The relationships we build with our pets are some of the deepest connections we have in our lives. That’s why the loss of a pet is never easy and can leave us wondering how we can move on. It’s important to acknowledge the grief and sadness you feel. This is a normal reaction to a great loss. The most important thing is that you give yourself and your beloved pet’s family time to grieve for your pet. If you’re looking for tips on how to deal with the loss of a pet, here are our top 10 tips.
1. Take your time.
Grief is a process that takes time to work through. It will be different for everyone and there is no right or wrong way to grieve. As much as you may want to move on as quickly as possible, be patient with yourself and others as you go through different feelings and stages of grief. You may have ups and downs, but always remember everyone has their own journey in grieving the loss of a pet. Take your time as you move through your own journey.
2. Give yourself permission to feel.
Give yourself permission to feel sad, depressed, angry or whatever emotions you are feeling. Talk about it! Don’t bottle up your feelings, as this can lead to more intense emotions later on. The more support you give yourself and allow yourself to accept from others, the easier it will be to get through this difficult time. But don’t force it.
Do not force yourself to handle the loss of a pet in a certain way. When you are ready, you will be able to deal with the loss of your pet in your own way. Express your feelings through writing or drawing, but don’t force yourself to do so if it’s not something that gives you peace.
4. Care for your other pets.
If you have other pets, take the time to talk with them about their friend who has died. They need this chance to understand and mourn the loss of their friend too. Spend time with them and give them extra love and attention to help make up for the loss of their friend. Give them time to adjust to life without their friend too, so they don’t feel neglected or ignored now that their friend is gone.
5. Talk to your friends and family.
Talk about your pet with friends and family members when you feel like it’s appropriate for you. Just let them know how much your pet meant to you and how much you miss them when you feel ready to do so.
If you have children at home, allow some private time alone with friends or family members who are supportive of their grief process. When you think your child is ready, take the time to speak with them about the loss of your pet. They are likely managing all sorts of different emotions though grieving and they may need your help even if they haven’t asked for it. Empathize with how they are feeling and let them know that it is okay to feel sad after the loss of their pet.
6. Say goodbye.
If possible, hold a small memorial service for your pet so you can say good-bye to them. This can be a very healing process for you and your family. It could help you gain closure after the loss of a pet and an opportunity to talk about what your pet meant to you. You can share stories of your pet, comfort family that also cared about your pet, and take time to acknowledge how loved your pet was by the people in their life.
If you want to bury your pet but are unsure how to do so, check our article on how to bury a pet for guidance and things to consider when burying a pet.
7. Keep their memory alive.
Collect any pictures you have of your pet and put them in one place. Look at them often to help keep your pet’s memory alive and remember the happy times you spent together. Reminding yourself about the memories of your pet can help with coping with difficult feelings of loss.
8. It’s okay to move on too.
It’s okay if you cry when you think about your pet who has died or when someone mentions something that reminds you of your pet who has died, but it is important not to let yourself get “stuck” in grief and sadness forever. Remember that it is okay to move on with your life too, even though it may not seem possible right now.
9. Talk to a professional.
If you find yourself having very sad thoughts about your pet who has died, you may want to talk with a professional counselor or grief specialist to help you work through your feelings. There’s no shame in asking for help working through the complicated feelings associated with grief and loss. Asking for help is a sign of strength and not weakness.
10. Consider sharing your pet’s legacy.
Although your pet has crossed over, their work on earth is far from done.
The Pet Memorial was created to honor pets who have died and to give pet guardians a way to channel their love into a beautiful mission to help needy animals all over the planet. The Pet Memorial is instead an experience that is accessible to everyone. It allows us to come together to honor the ones we have lost while at the same time providing food, shelter, protection-from-cruelty and rescue to thousands of animals who need us now.
We invite you to add your pet to The Pet Memorial now and perhaps consider making a memorial donation to help other animals who really need food and care.