How To Cope When A Pet Dies
Updated August 28, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Ann-Marie Duncan
The loss of a pet is something that can have a profound impact on you. You spend a lot of time caring for your pet, and you develop a strong bond with your beloved pet over time. For some people, pets are like members of the family, and they can feel like they’re irreplaceable. You love your pet very much, and it’s normal to feel deeply saddened when your pet passes away. Pet loss is something that can make you feel depressed, even if you know how to cope with things effectively. If you have recently lost a pet, then you might need some advice for getting through this trying time. Read on to learn more about how you can cope with the loss of a pet.
Allow Yourself To Grieve
One mistake that some people make when dealing with the loss of a pet is that they fail to let themselves grieve. Some people feel silly when they get so depressed over pet loss. You shouldn’t feel like you’re wrong in any way for grieving a pet who has died. Pet loss is significant, and pets can mean just as much to many people as human companions. Coping with pet loss will take time, and you’re going to need to deal with your emotions before you can really start moving on. You have to grieve for your pet so that you can heal, and there is nothing wrong with taking some time to be emotional.
If you need to cry about losing your pet, then you should take the time to cry. There is nothing wrong with crying about something that makes you sad, and it’s actually healthy to do so. It’s only worrying if you can’t seem to get over how emotional you’re feeling. It might take you a few weeks to process things and get your feelings off. Many people feel sad about pet loss for weeks, and some even wind up becoming depressed. If you can grieve healthily, then you should be able to move on overtime and get back to feeling like your normal self.
Try To Explain Things To Your Kids
Trying to explain things to your kids will be one of the toughest parts of pet loss. Losing a beloved pet is hard enough without having kids in the picture. Kids aren’t always going to be able to understand pet loss, and it’s up to you to explain it to them in a way that will make sense for them. Some parents will choose to try to use this as a teaching moment with regard to death. Others will try to protect their kids from the harshness of this situation. Try to do what you think is best for your family and be there for your kids when they’re feeling sad about losing a beloved pet.
Remember The Good Times
Remembering the good times is going to help you to feel better about things once you’re starting to move on. You likely made many memories with your beloved pet over the years. Pet loss can’t take those precious memories from you, and you’ll always be able to think back on the experiences that you had with your pet. If you had a special bond with your pet, then that pet is going to stay in your heart forever. There will come a time when you’ll be able to look back on those times and smile. It might be hard for you to do this at first when the pet loss is still fresh, but it can become a source of strength and comfort later on.
Hold A Service For Your Pet
Holding a service for your beloved pet is a great idea as well. It is becoming more common for people to hold services for their pets now than it used to be. Pets are like members of your family, and it makes sense to do what you can to honor them. You might want to invite a few close friends and family members to awake for your pet. They can share stories about the pet, and everyone can grieve the loss while at this service. It’s a fitting way to honor your beloved pet that made such a difference in your life.
Spend Time Doing Things That You Love
Getting over the death of a pet is going to be hard, but you have to try to stay positive so that you can move forward in life. One of the most practical ways to do this is to try to spend more time doing things that you love to do. This shouldn’t be seen as a replacement option for dealing with your grief, though. If you have yet to process your emotions, then you shouldn’t try to push them aside since that is not emotionally healthy for you. If you’re starting to get to a better place after the loss of a pet, then you can try to spend some time doing fun things again.
For instance, you could start to put more time into certain hobbies that bring you joy. Some people like to focus on exercise and physical fitness so that they can feel better overall. Others might want to enjoy other fun hobbies such as playing sports, playing games, arts & crafts, or any other hobbies that might make a positive impact. Basically, you can use hobbies to keep yourself from sitting around feeling down about the loss of a pet. This won’t make pet loss less emotional for you in the beginning, but it can help you to return to normalcy once you’ve processed your emotions.
Consider Adopting A New Pet
Nothing will replace the bond that you shared with your beloved pet. Your friendship with your pet that just passed away is something that you should always cherish, and that will not change no matter what. It could be a good idea to consider adopting a new pet when a pet dies, though. Many people find that being able to love and care for a new pet helps them to move on after the loss of a pet. When a pet dies, it’s tough because part of your daily routine changes, and there is now a void there where your pet used to be. A new pet will give you something positive to focus on, but you don’t have to view it as a replacement for your beloved pet that passed away.
Pet loss will be easier to cope with if you’re able to take steps to move on. Moving on might be easier for some people when they go ahead and adopt a new pet. There are millions of pets out there that need good homes, and you could love one of them if you’re willing to give it a shot. Of course, this is only going to be a recommended idea if you’re already coping with pet loss, okay. If you’re not in a good place mentally after the death of a pet, then you might want to hold off on this. For some people, waiting a while after the death of a pet will be necessary because they will need more time to grieve.
Reach Out For Help When You’re Experiencing Depression
Some people are going to have problems with depression when a pet dies. Pet loss might be so tough for you to cope with that you will feel depressed. This is actually normal, but it can be a bad thing if the depression is worse than usual and doesn’t seem to be letting up after several months have passed. If you feel like you’re still depressed over losing your beloved pet, then it might be time to reach out for professional help. Thankfully, many things can be done to treat depression.
The first thing that you should do is talk to your doctor about what you’re experiencing. Your doctor will be able to go through the process of diagnosing you with a depression disorder if you have one. Determining what is wrong will help you to move forward, and your doctor can figure out what needs to be done. Some people who are struggling with depression after the loss of a pet might need to take antidepressant medications to get things back to normal. It’s also possible that your doctor might suggest therapy as a way of dealing with pet loss.
Using Therapy To Cope With Pet Loss
Therapy can be a very effective method of helping people to cope with pet loss. In fact, it can even be helpful if you feel like you’re going through the grieving process normally. Therapy isn’t just for people who are struggling with deep depression. It can also be useful for anyone who needs help processing emotions. If you’d like to talk to someone that you can trust, then spending time speaking with a therapist will be emotionally beneficial. They can talk to you about pet loss, and you can come to terms with everything much easier. This won’t make the pain of losing your beloved pet disappear entirely, but you’ll be able to get through this situation with support.
Some people turn to online therapy as the most convenient way of getting help. Online therapy, like BetterHelp, is very much like traditional in-person therapy, but you’re able to enjoy sessions without having to leave your house. Both types of therapy are great options when you’re dealing with the loss of a pet, and you should consider which of them you’d like to pursue. No matter what, you’re going to be able to cope with pet loss easier when you have the help of a compassionate professional. Remember that help is always available.