Coping with the death of a pet

Updated - October 18, 2016 12:39 pm IST

Published - October 29, 2014 07:08 pm IST



The last few weeks have been really difficult for me as I have been hearing the news of so many pets passing away due to various reasons. For anyone whose pet has been a vital part of their life, dealing with their loss can be extremely traumatic. Have you lost a pet recently or do you know someone who has? Here are a few tips to slowly recover from the painful loss and move on.

It is normal to experience intense grief by the loss of your pet. Given the strong emotional bonds that we experience with our pets, it is only natural to feel devastated. Every one of us grieves in different ways. Although it happens slowly, most of us go through the stages of denial, anger, guilt, sadness and eventually acceptance. Whether the pet passed away unexpectedly or had to be put down after a long illness, the loss is still irreplaceable. So take your time, unlock your feelings and let it all out.

Reach out to friends, family, colleagues and veterinary professionals to talk about your loss. Conducting rituals may help you accept the situation openly. Lay your pet to rest in your backyard, carve a tombstone and write a eulogy, you can also choose to rest him in a pet cemetery or conduct a memorial service for your pet. If there are children in your family, explain it to them patiently and encourage them to participate in the farewell ceremony. They can sketch a picture of your pet, write a letter, plant a tree at the burial site or throw in the pet’s favourite toy while laying him to rest.

If you have other pets in the house, do continue to shower the same amount of attention on them. All pets notice even the slightest of changes in a household. The absence of their furry companion and your sudden withdrawal from social life will have a great impact on your other pets. Keep them and yourself occupied by providing them physical exercise and mental stimulation. Please take time and bring the household back to normalcy even before you think of bringing home a new pet. Children and other pets may act hostile to the new member and unnecessary comparisons may also arise which is not fair to the newcomer.

Our relationship with our pets is of unconditional love and acceptance. People may never understand how we feel but our pets do. So, do not feel guilty - be grateful for the wonderful time you shared with your pet. Grieve all you can but remind yourself constantly that our pets always want us to live in the moment and be happy.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.