10 tips on how to cope with pet bereavement
Anyone that owns a pet will understand how much of a huge part of your everyday life they become. From the moment your pet comes home, they become the heart of family life, often by your side through the ups and the downs. And of course, it’s fair to say, that experiencing this level of unconditional love means that your pets will be hugely missed when they pass away.
Many pet owners describe the pain and heartbreak of losing a pet as being the same as losing a loved one. But there are many coping mechanisms and tips that you can use to help you cope with pet bereavement.
Take time to grieve
First and foremost, you should always give yourself enough time to grieve and accept that it will take as long as it takes for you to heal. You can’t put a time frame on the bereavement process and it’s important that you move forward at your own pace, without feeling pressure from anyone else.
Telling the children
This is probably one of the toughest parts of losing a pet, but it’s important that you are always open and honest with your children about the death of a pet. Of course, you should break the news in a way that you think they will cope best with. Ultimately, it’s important that your children understand that your pet will not be coming back so that they can start to grieve too.
Don’t ignore your sadness
Our pets are a huge part of our lives for such a long time so it’s only natural you feel sad. It’s important that you don’t just ignore your sadness or feel like you always need to put on a brave face for the sake of others. Express your feelings and don’t bottle them up.
Staying with your pet during their final moments
Many pet owners find it incredibly comforting to stay with their pets during their final moments. This way, you will know that your pet’s life ended in familiar surroundings with the people they loved. Knowing that they were there to comfort their pet until the end can also help pet owners to come to terms with the death.
Arranging your pet’s burial can be incredibly tough. However, this process allows you to remember your pet in your own way. Whether you make your own arrangements for a home burial or contact a pet crematorium, you can take time out to remember all the special times you had with your pet.
Dealing with pain
You will inevitably feel an indescribable sense of pain when you lose a pet. You need to remember that there is no shame in reaching out if you need help dealing with this pain. So don’t be afraid to let family and friends know how you are feeling – and remember you’re not alone.
Pet bereavement counselling
There are also professional pet bereavement counselling services that you can call upon to help you to cope with the grieving process, come to terms with the death of your pet, and manage your emotions.
A professional pet councillor will talk you through the stages of grief and help you manage the many emotions that come hand in hand with bereavement, including denial, anger, depression, and guilt. This vital emotional support and practical information can really help you deal with the loss of a pet.
If you have other pets in your household, you need to remember that they’ll be grieving too. After all, the vast majority of animals form strong attachments to each other so they will be feeling the death of your pet just as much as you. With this in mind, make sure you
give them extra attention and love whilst they adjust to the changes too.
When should you get a new pet?
Many people rush into getting a new pet following the death of their pet. However, you should only be thinking about getting a new animal when you feel absolutely ready and you should never feel pressure from others.
Ask for help
Finally, if you feel like you’re struggling, make sure you ask for help. Don’t bottle up your emotions or try to move forward too quickly as this could actually end up setting you back.
Alternatively, if you know a loved one who is struggling and you're interested in training to become a counsellor to help those dealing with grief and other mental health issues, then see our counselling courses or request a prospectus today.