How to deal with the loss of a pet
Whether your pet has passed away after being unwell or injured or you’ve had to make the difficult decision to humanely put them to sleep, the loss of your animal companion can be devastating.
Here we go more into depth about pet loss and offer suggestions for coping during this difficult time.
It’s OK to grieve
We share an intense bond with our pets, as they provide unconditional love and companionship. Pets make us laugh, help us to relax, and enhance our health by encouraging exercise, social interactions and daily routines. They may contribute to a sense of purpose in our lives, and are considered by many of us to be family members.
It stands to reason then that when our pets die, many of us feel overwhelmed by intense grief and feelings of loss, just as we would for the passing of another family member or close friend. It’s not uncommon for pet owners to also be wracked with feelings of guilt, particularly if they had to make the call to humanely euthanise their pet.
Whilst we all experience grief differently, it’s important to allow yourself to feel and process the various emotions associated with the loss of your pet, and know that it’s OK to not be OK for a while. It may help to:
Talk to close friends or family who understand how hard losing a pet can be
Keep a journal of your feelings
Take some time off work
As well as taking care of yourself mentally, it’s also important to care for yourself physically, even in the simplest ways. In the early periods of grief, even if you’re feeling quite overwhelmed or lost, try to take the time to:
Eat regular meals
Spend some time relaxing outdoors
Do some exercise, even if it’s just walking around your neighbourhood
Spend some time on your hobbies
Consider the practice of mindfulness, e.g. through the Headspace app
Memorialising your pet
Many owners find it therapeutic to honour the memory of their pet in some special way. Depending on your preferences, you could consider:
Compiling a photo album (printed or digital) of your favourite photos of your pet
Writing down some memories of your pet’s happiest moments
Sharing stories about your pet with other family or friends
If you had your pet privately cremated; keeping their ashes in a special urn or scattering their ashes in a meaningful place
Planting a beautiful tree in your pet’s memory
Commissioning a memorial stone, personalised jewellery, artwork or tattoo to remind you of your pet
Reach out for help if you need
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by grief or feelings of depression after the loss of your pet, please know that you’re not alone, and there is additional help at hand.
For recommendations on available pet loss grief counselling services, please reach out to our empathetic team on (07) 5593 8395 or via email at email@example.com.
Additionally, if you’re really struggling, it may be worth booking an appointment with your GP to discuss more general mental health assistance. You can also check out online mental health support services at the Queensland Mental Health Commission website.
Everyone experiences grief differently, and it’s OK to need extra help for a while.
Lastly, if you have another pet who appears to be grieving the deceased pet (which may be shown through changes in behaviour, eating or sleeping patterns), it’s recommended to consult our knowledgeable vets. Sometimes, our pets may need a little extra help through this difficult time too.
Please contact the Reedy Creek Vet on (07) 5593 8395 if you need further assistance or advice regarding pet loss or euthanasia.