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How to cope with the death of a pet

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Published 16/08/2021
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A lot of us have a deep connection with an animal companion. They aren’t “just a dog” or “just a cat” or whatever animal it may be, they are a valued member of the family. A pet can give us companionship, keep us active and bring wonderful memories to us. When that is taken away it’s normal to feel lost and overwhelmed by grief.

The loss of your beloved furry friend can trigger all sorts of emotions and whilst some people do not understand the depth of love you had for your pet it is important to not be ashamed and bottle up your emotions.

Everyone experiences grief differently and that grief can vary massively depending on the circumstances such as your age, personality, age of the pet, how they passed and of course how close you were to your pet.

Grieving process of losing a pet

As mentioned, grieving can vary massively, some people's grief comes in stages (denial, anger, depression, bargaining and acceptance) – this does not have to be in order either. Others might experience grief in waves of highs and lows. Having low moments for long periods is likely to happen at first and over time get shorter and less frequent. However, even after a long time has passed a sight, sound, smell or special date can trigger emotions of grief again.

Ways to cope with the loss of a pet

Don’t let anyone tell you how to feel – Some people don’t understand the connection you have to your pet and they might not have a pet themselves or experienced the loss of one. Some might say “get over it” or “it’s time to move one” but you don’t have to listen or force yourself to. It’s okay to experience your emotions and if you want to cry, then cry. All emotions are valid because it is your grief.

Talk to others – Talking to friends, family members, colleagues who have had pets and know what you’re going through will help. They can sympathise with your emotions and can relate to how you’re feeling. There are also pet loss support groups online if sometimes the people around you haven’t experienced or aren’t as sympathetic when it comes to losing a pet.

Funeral – It might seem silly to some but it can help you accept that your pet has passed. An animal is just as important as a human so if you want to have a funeral then have one! It doesn’t have to be something grand.

Creating a legacy – You could have pictures of them around your home, create a scrapbook, plant a tree or have ornaments that remind you of them.

Take care of yourself – It’s sometimes overwhelming to look after yourself when you’re feeling down but it will make you feel so much better in the long run. Make sure you surround yourself with people you care about, eat well, try to get enough sleep and exercise regularly. These will all boost your endorphins and help make you feel better.
Getting another pet after the loss
It might be tempting to rush and get a new pet to try to fill the void after your pet has died, however, this is not a healthy way to cope and it is best to make sure you are fully ready to have a new pet as it is a big commitment. If you have a family then make sure that all other family members are ready too.

We hope this blog has helped in some way. Please take a look at our other blogs on
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