Dealing With The Loss Of A Pet

Oct. 26, 2023: Dealing With The Loss Of A Pet

By Katie Simpson

Grief is a profoundly personal experience. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, even if it feels like you may be doing everything wrong. 

1. It's okay to cry.

Research shows that this unique phenomena may help us relieve stress and emotional pain. Scientists call keeping emotions bottled up 'repressive coping', which is actually harmful to our health. According to Harvard Health, repressive coping may be linked to "a less resilient immune system, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension". Crying, however, may increase our connections with our friends and family. 

2. Don't focus on the end.

It may be easy to slip into replaying your beloved pet's final moments over and over, especially if their loss was unexpected or traumatic. Try to separate yourself from that moment and instead focus on all the good moments you shared with your pet. Think about the life you shared with them. 

3. Don't try to do it all alone.

Support from friends and family can help. Talk to your loved ones about how you're feeling and reach out to professional grieving services for support, like The pet Compassion Careline or Laps of Love. You may find that talking about your grief can be soothing.

4. Memorialize your pet.

Just as we do with other humans, having a memorial for your pet can be cathartic. Rituals of memorial are performed all over the world, and with a little research you may find one that can provide some relief to you and your family. You could plant a tree or flower in your pet's honor, create a memory box for your pet, write a poem or short story, share photos on social media, wear memorial jewelry with your pet's ashes, or commission artwork of your pet. 

5. Practice self care.

Your pet's pain has ceased, but you're still hurting. It's important to give yourself grace and allow your feelings to flow. Take a soothing bath or a day off work. Take things slow, get takeout for dinner, and enjoy time with your family. Stress from losing a pet can leave you feeling fatigued and tense, so be sure to get plenty of sleep and allow yourself a break.