Dealing With Pet Grief

It is always a sad day when you have to make the decision to euthanize (put to sleep) your furry friend. The relationship we have with our pets is unique. We get unconditional love and affection from our animals along with a variety of shenanigans. It is not an easy decision to make, and picking the optimal moment is hard, really hard. People who do not have pets often do not understand the extent of grief related to the passing of an animal.

Is Pet Grief a Real Thing?

Yes, pet grief is a very real thing. The loss of a pet can include feelings of emptiness and sadness – and perhaps guilt. The decision to euthanize a pet is often the most difficult choice pet parents will ever have to make, but it’s one made out of love and compassion. After all, your pet’s well-being is a top priority.

pets crossing the rainbow bridge

How to Handle Pet-Related Grief

  • Give yourself permission to grieve. The loss is real. Try not to worry about how others might perceive your grief.
  • Stick to a schedule. Maintain your typical routine. It is hard during this stressful time, but there is comfort in a routine.
  • Talk to supportive people. Talk about your feelings and regrets, but also about the good times too.
  • Engage in self-care. Do the things that you know make you feel good. Do extra things during this time. Self-care can mean exercise, eating healthy, talking to friends and family, or taking time for activities that bring joy or peace.
  • Create a memorial of your pet. Plant a tree or flowers or create a scrapbook or photo album. The possibilities are endless.

Remember to include all family members in the above activities. Children and teens may have a unique way to express their pet grief, different than adults. Give them space to grieve as well.

Learn more about the importance of pets and mental health.

This is Bogey our beloved cat who passed over the rainbow bridge last year. We had him for almost 15 years and felt the loss of his presence deeply.

pet grief is real

Pet grief is real. If you are struggling with pet grief, please reach out.

Listening. Guiding. Caring.