How To Deal With The Death Of A Pet

How To Deal With The Death Of A Pet

Last October, our family dog passed away. Losing a pet is always hard, particularly when you've grown up with that animal (I was 7 when we got Tara and almost 20 when she died). It was incredibly upsetting and every pet owner will understand how tough it can be. Since it's been about 6 months now, today I thought I'd write a little post about 'pet grief' and how to deal with it.


It's a cliche, but it really is ok to cry. Don't let anyone (especially those who don't own pets themselves!) tell you that you shouldn't feel the way you do. Animals become a big part of the family and so it's completely understandable that losing them is difficult to come to terms with. I cried a lot within the first week - it's perfectly natural and the first step towards moving on. When you're used to having a pet around, the house can feel terribly quiet without them. It's a heartbreaking time so do not feel silly or guilty for grieving. 

Accept it was time

Now here I'm only talking about if you've lost your pet to old age or ill health, since I have no experience with accidental death or missing animals. It's important to realise that as much as we want them to, animals just don't live as long as people. The last thing you want is your pet to be in pain. My dog went downhill very fast so it was hard to recognise that actaully she was very poorly, but looking back you want to remember them as their normal, happy, playful selves, not ill or in pain.

Clear away reminders

You may not feel up to doing this right away, but I'd recommend clearing away bowls, leads, beds, toys and anything else that will be a constant reminder of your pet for a while. It will be more painful to leave them lying around as you try to get over it. In time you could bring a toy out as a reminder, but to begin with I think 'out of sight, out of mind' works best.

Move on

Ok. Ok. There's no nice way of writing this. And I know people will have apposing views on this one, but welcoming a new pet into the family can be a great way to bring some new happiness. Now I'm not in any way suggesting that this will replace the pet you've lost, or even that you should do this right away, but eventually you will be ready. Before we got Tara, we waited years before we got a new dog after losing the previous one, whereas this time we welcomed a new puppy after 4 months. I still miss Tara a lot, but every pet owner knows that different animals have completely different personalities so it doesn't feel as though we replaced her at all. I love both dogs and they are both completely different.

Ultimately, my advice would be just to accept your feelings. Losing a pet is hard, no matter what anybody says. The time it takes for you to feel ok again will vary from person to person and that's completely normal. Just remember the great times you had with your dog, cat, or whatever animal it might be and in time it will get much easier.


1 comment

  1. My cat who is 18 years old is going to be put down soon and I'm mentally trying to prepare for the day but we all agreed she is getting very ill each day so it's time as I wouldn't want to find her and to think she passed away in pain :( it's going to be hard as its like apart of my childhood is dying

    Leanne |