How to Deal With The Loss of a Pet

The death or loss of a pet can be a traumatic experience and result in grief and bereavement. Taking time to recover from a pet’s death is very important for your well-being.

It is important to recognize the depth of feelings of the loss. Your pet may have been with you through the ups and downs in life and may have even helped you cope with other losses. Give yourself the necessary time and space to grieve. Individual, group, and family psychotherapy may be helpful to process the loss and make meaning of the pet in your life.

Keep focused on your daily and weekly schedules of personal and professional responsibilities, and make sure to incorporate pleasant activities for yourself into your days.

Identify triggers for your grieving and identify ways you can cope. Triggers can include the pet food aisle in the grocery store or driving by a special place you shared with your pet.

Try to find ways to meaningfully grieve. This can include creating a memory book, journaling, building a memorial, or donating money or time to a pet welfare cause.

Explore self-help groups at a local animal shelter or ASPCA. Almost all schools of veterinary medicine have telephone support hotlines. There are also a number of online community forums that allow people to receive support while they grieve and process their loss.