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Coping with the Grief of Pet Loss

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Pet owner

When you lose someone in death, be it a spouse, parent, child or friend, people allow you to grieve, cry, or experience some emotions. They also offer you sincere condolence.

However, it’s quite a different story when your pet is hit by a car or euthanized due to terminal illness. Unfortunately, some people don’t understand this grief, and as a result, they may demonstrate gross insensitivity through words such as “Why don’t you get another one?”

Because mourning the death of a pet is accompanied by potential loneliness, the article will review how you can handle the grief of losing a beloved pet.

Reasons Why the Death of a Pet Hurt so Much

It’s a Beloved Member of the Family: A pet is your animal companion, and so it’s not just a cat or dog as some people view it. It’s a member of your family that you love and brings fun, companionship and joy to your family’s lives.

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It Provides a Sense of Purpose or Meaning: A pet can keep you active or social. It can also help overcome some challenges or setbacks, so it’s normal to feel the loss and grief if it dies.

The Animal May Have been Playing a Significant Role in Your Life: A therapy animal, service animal or working dog will hurt more when they die because it’s not only a companion but a coworker, thus the loss of emotional support. It can also be harder if you lived alone with the pet or in situations where funding its expensive veterinary treatment was out of reach.

The Loss can Trigger Different Sorts of Difficult and Painful Emotions: Since the pain of a pet loss can be overwhelming, you might begin to feel ashamed and guilty about grieving the animal friend, which can trigger other illnesses or symptoms.

The level of grief of a pet loss depends on factors such as your personality, age, the circumstance of its death or its age. So expect to feel intense emotional pain if the pet was more significant to you.

Healthy Ways of Mourning Your Pet and Coping with the Pain

It Normal to Feel Shocked, Sad or Lonely When You Beloved Pet Dies

Your feelings are not somehow misplaced, and you are weak when your animal companion. So don’t feel ashamed of being seen sad or lonely after the death of your cat or dog.

Like Other Losses, the Grieving Process Should be Gradual

The grieving period shouldn’t be hurried or forced because there is no standard timetable for grieving. So one pet owner may begin to feel better after a week while another will take a couple of months or years. So be patient with yourself and allow the grieving process to proceed naturally.

Don’t Bottle Up Your Feelings

Suppressing your pain or grief in order to take a shorter period of mourning will take you longer to heal. So, feel free to express your sorrow by talking to another pet owner or write about your feelings.

Search for Others Who Have Lost Their Pets

The internet has a lot of pet loss support groups, pet loss hotlines or online message boards. This is important when there is no sympathetic friend or family member to share your feelings with. You will realize that a person who has experienced a similar loss may better understand you and is ready to console you.

Create a Legacy

You can prepare a memorial of your pet by planting a tree, compile a scrapbook or photo album. All these are geared towards celebrating the life of your animal companion, and this can help you eventually move on.

Don’t Tell Yourself or Allow Others to Tell You How to Feel

The loss of your pet is your own, and neither you nor someone else should tell you when it’s time to get over it or move on. Instead, you should experience the pain without judgement or embarrassment. So you can cry, get angry, laugh or show any other feeling freely until when you’re ready to let go.

Try to Maintain Routine Using Other Pets

The surviving pet will also be mourning the loss of its companion and may become distressed when you’re sorrowful. For that reason, try to maintain your daily routine, elevate your outlook and mood as much as you so that you can also benefit the surviving companion.

Take Care of Your Emotional and Physical Needs

Just like any other form of grieving, the death of your pet can quickly deplete your emotional and energy reserves. However, taking care of your emotional and physical needs can help you heal much faster. For instance, instead of isolating yourself, you can spend extended hours with your friends and family members because they care about you. More so, you can get plenty of sleep, eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly to boost your mood.

Seek Professional if Your Grief Persist

You should seek professional assistance when the grief interferes with your day to day functions. For example, pet grief may escalate to depression when it’s not correctly handled by a mental health professional.

What to Avoid When Others Don’t Appreciate Your Pet Loss

Some people might devalue your loss by saying, “it was just a pet”. This is because the only loss they know or understand is the death of a human, and they may think it’s inappropriate to mourn an animal or even hold a pet funeral.

Another reason is that they don’t appreciate an animal companion or because they don’t own one and see the love a pet can provide. This can be painful for you, a senior or a child. So then, the following are things you should do or not do when dealing with the loss of a pet in the family.

  • Don’t argue with those who think mourning a pet is inappropriate.
  • Seek help from other pet lovers or those who have lost their animal companion in the past.
  • Try as much as possible to resume your normal routine to avoid depressing others or a surviving pet.
  • Reassure your child that no one was responsible for its death and allow them to express their concerns and feelings.
  • Avoid replacing the lost pet immediately before the end of the grieving period. This is important for you and your children. They may feel that you’re disloyal, the same as those who don’t appreciate the loss.
  • Help the seniors who loved the pet to stay positive and connect with a neighbor or old friend. Otherwise, this can lead to depression, especially when some family members don’t understand this loss.

I'm a passionate and full-time blogger. I love writing about startups, how they can access key resources, avoid legal mistakes, respond to questions from angel investors as well as the reality check for startups. Continue reading my articles for more insight.

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