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Practical Advice That'll Help in Dealing With the Loss of a Pet

Ashwini Kulkarni Sule Apr 17, 2019
This title could well have been 'dealing with the loss of a family member', since grieving a pet loss is no less than mourning the death of a family member. It's a feeling of utmost despair combined with guilt and disbelief. However, one needs to get over it and move on, because life does not pause for anybody.
One morning you wake up, only to realize that you would no longer be woken up by your golden retriever's 'good-morning lick.' The feeling that there won't be any more jogs down the park with him or that he won't be there to greet you when you return from work, takes some time to sink in.
The loss of a pet creates a void in your life, akin to the loss of a family member. When a relative dies, you have other people to console you and share your grief.
Unfortunately, pet loss is something not many people will be able to relate to, leaving you to mourn the loss of your beloved pet alone.

How to Deal With Pet Loss?

Pet loss is not something that you will be able to deal with by reading books, surfing the Internet, or going for counseling. No one can give you a plain advice that will instantly help you in coping with your loss. It is a healing process, which stretches over time; sometimes months, sometimes years.
Only your own will power to overcome the grief and start on with a new life can help you out. No matter if your pet died of euthanasia, a chronic illness, or a tragic accident, the sorrow remains the same. However, losing a healthy pet in an unfortunate accident is definitely the worst, as the blow strikes you without giving you time to prepare for it.

Don't Blame Yourself

The immediate feeling after a pet loss is that of denial. You simply refuse to believe that your pet has left you forever.
In your despair, you try to convince yourself of its presence and desperately try to lead a normal life. Finally, when the feeling sinks in, you are overwhelmed with a feeling of guilt. The guilt of not being helpful for your pet in his final days.
However, you must tell yourself that you did everything in your limits to prevent your pet from leaving you forever. As a pet owner, you tried your best to give your pet a peaceful farewell, so there is no need to feel guilty and blame yourself.

Talk to Your Children

Pet loss can come as a huge blow for your child, since children are more attached to the pets. Always explain to your children the significance of death in our life and that demise of a pet is nobody's fault.
Don't think that your children are too young to understand that your pet has 'died', and never tell them that your pet has left your house. It may make them think that they did something, which forced him to leave. Hence, explain them in milder terms, why and how your pet left you.
Although, it is true that children are more affected by the death of a pet, it is also true that they will soon find something that will engage them and help them overcome the loss of a pet.


Your family members are the ones who will be grieving your pet's death as much as you do. Hence, talk to each other how you feel about it. Everyone must be having fond memories of your pet. Reviving them together will help you feel a bit better.
Do not expect your friends or colleagues to understand your loss, because most human beings have different parameters for human and animal deaths. However, you can talk to a compassionate person who can relate to your loss and not make you feel stupid.

Should I Get a New Pet?

Most people immediately go for pet adoption, thinking that the new pet will replace the previous one and help them cope with their loss. However, buying a new pet before healing completely can make the matter worse for you.
You will be tempted to compare it with your departed pet, without realizing that the new pet has its own identity and unique personality.
Many people also buy the pet that resembles the previous one and call it by the same name. This will make the comparison even more inevitable and hamper your bond with the new pet forever. Buy a pet only when you think you are ready to accept it as a new individual and prepared to love it as much as you did the previous one.
This is definitely one of the most traumatic experiences of our life. We consider our pet an extension of our own personality.
Sometimes we see our child in them, sometimes they are naughty siblings for us, and sometimes they reflect our parents with their unconditional love and care. Their sudden departure from our life is difficult to cope with and creates a void that is impossible to fill in.
However, one must understand that since we humans outlive them, we have to witness their demise at some point of time in our lives. All we can do is love them and offer them the best we can, in order to repay―to some extent―the unconditional love they shower upon us.