How to cope with the loss of a pet
27th November, 2019
Losing a pet can be a profoundly painful experience. Our dogs and cats aren’t just balls of fun: they’re loyal companions, much-loved family members and great sources of comfort in difficult times.
When a beloved pet passes, the sense of grief can be immense. This is why it’s so important to remember the countless precious memories shared between the two of you, full of affection and joy.
There are ways of coping with the pain, too; they won’t make it go away, but they will help.
Purely Pets understands how invaluable the experience of pet ownership can be. We’ll help you give all of your fur babies the best quality of life, providing specialist pet insurance you can count on.
We know how hard it is to lose a treasured pet. Sometimes a little guidance is needed, so take a look at our advice on coping below.
What techniques can I use to cope with my grief?
Everyone deals with loss differently, so be kind to yourself – there’s no rush. Let’s walk through some useful coping techniques:
Don’t apologise for how you feel
Sadly, some people may fail to understand your grief. You should never feel ashamed of your feelings; you’re bound to go through a range of emotions and states, such as sadness, loneliness, shock and anger.
If you want to cry, cry; if you want to laugh about happy times with your pooch or puss, laugh.
It’s no one’s place to criticise you or tell you to ‘hurry up’. Trying to push your pain down or ignore it won’t help you heal; talk to loved ones or write in a journal – see what feels right.
Remind yourself that grieving is a process
Pets play such meaningful roles in our lives; their passing can leave a huge void. Most of us plan our daily routines and activities around our furry pals, forming deep bonds with them.
You can’t place a time limit on grief. Some of us start to feel more like ourselves after a few weeks, while others take months or even years to get through the pain.
Be patient; your grieving process is yours and yours alone, so take as much time as you need to mourn your cherished pet.
Honour your pet’s memory
It can be very healing to celebrate precious moments spent with your pet. You may want to hold a little ceremony, during which everyone can share their favourite memories of your much-missed companion.
You could create a memorial as well – it’s a wonderful way to honour and remember your animal. Create a scrapbook recording special times together, or plant a flower or a tree.
Talk to other pet lovers
Try sharing your experience with those who have also lost pets; it can be therapeutic, helping you feel less alone – there are many online forums and support lines.
Friends may not understand your sadness, so talking to people who have been through the same loss may be a real source of comfort.
Take care of yourself
Try to maintain your usual habits and routine, especially if you own other furry creatures - pets mourn loss as well. They may pick up on your distress, becoming anxious, so aim to keep up regular mealtimes, playtimes and exercise, boosting both of your spirits.
If you can, follow a healthy diet, spend time with loved ones and get good-quality sleep - you’ll feel better and so will your pet.
Make sure all your furry pals are covered with multi pet insurance, keeping them safe and sound.
How do I help others cope with the loss of a pet?
While the techniques mentioned above may work well for some, you might need to tailor your approach when helping children or older loved ones through the loss of a pet.
Many children encounter loss for the first time when a pet passes away. They may feel scared, angry and grief-stricken, so guide them through this painful experience gently and patiently, letting them know the passing was not their responsibility.
If you’re able to, encourage your child to spend time with their pet, wishing them a loving farewell before the final moments come.
Give your child something to remember their friend by, be it a painted print of their doggy’s paw or a photo of their beloved kitty.
Let them attend the memorial and don’t conceal your own sadness. This lets your child know that it’s ok to grieve, encouraging them to express themselves, too.
Avoid introducing a new pet too soon – you want your child to understand that grieving is a natural process, not a problem that can be ‘solved’ by a new purchase.
The loss of a pet can have a devastating impact on senior owners. They may live alone, or lack the busy routine a day job brings, so the absence of their four-legged friend may be felt all the more.
Here are some ways to help:
Many of us view our pets as our best friends – life without them can feel desperately lonely. Make sure elderly loved ones are kept company as often as possible after losing a pet, arranging enjoyable activities or just popping in for a cup of tea.
Get up and about together
Exercise helps strengthen the immune system and boosts energy levels, releasing feel-good chemicals. Suggest the two of you play light sports together, such as golf or tennis, or encourage your loved one to join a class where they may meet new friends.
Find other sources of meaning and happiness
Recommend local volunteering opportunities, or ask about their favourite hobbies. When they’re ready, it might be time to consider getting another pet.
Protecting your pets
Owning a pet is one of the most rewarding opportunities that life has to offer. Our pups and kittens shower us with unconditional love, teaching us valuable lessons about compassion, care, kindness and patience.
In return, we can offer them safe, happy homes, affection, fun and responsible guardianship. You want the best for your loveable creatures, so it’s essential to safeguard their long-term health with reliable insurance cover.
Purely Pets offers straightforward pet insurance, protecting all of your furry friends under one trusted insurer, tailored to your needs and budget.
Don’t put it off – get a quote today.
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