Dealing with a pet’s death

Pet Memorial Stones

Photo Credit: Flickr/Chris Emmert

Grieving the loss of a pet can be profoundly painful. Sometimes we try to minimize the grief because of social attitudes that perceive the loss of a pet as not as important as that of a human. But a bond with an animal bond can be a strong one; most probably because of the unconditional love our pets give to us.

Pets are often euthanized at the end of their lives, which can add feelings of guilt to the grief.  Knowing that you are the one deciding when your pet’s life will end, sometimes based on finances or an inability to continue dealing with a certain illness at home, can complicate your grief.

Both Dr. Bruce and CriticalCareVet, veterinarians on JustAnswer, offer that euthanasia is actually a gift we give to our pets, and we can be sure that giving them an end to their suffering comes from a place of love.

If you’re having a difficult time, it’s important to get support. Grief is grief, whether over the loss of an animal or a human, so just as you would when grieving over a human loss, it’s important to reach out and get help. There are several resources online to help you find support in your area or online. A few of these are:


Rituals are an important part of the process as well, especially for children, who need adult guidance in understanding the end of life. You can choose to have your pet cremated or have him or her buried at home or a cemetery. Either way, having a small ritual can help you say goodbye.

When the time comes, and if it’s right for you, a new pet can distract you from your sadness and lessen the grief. A new pet never replaces the old one, but can help you recover from the loss, and remember the love.


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