Coping with Pet Loss

The death of a pet is always very upsetting and an event many of us have experienced. Unfortunately pets do not live as long as humans and although we are aware of this fact, saying goodbye to a pet can be one of the hardest situations to deal with. People cope with the stages of mourning differently and you can never predict how difficult it will be. Although they may come in a slightly different order you can expect to feel the following emotional stages:

Shock – This is the initial stage of bereavement, the reaction of shock is very common when you first hear that a well loved companion has passed away.

Anger – After the initial shock you can start to feel angry at yourself, feeling that maybe you didn’t do enough or did something wrong which will also bring with it feelings of guilt. It’s helpful to seek advice from your vet at this stage, he can address your concerns and help you to understand that although it’s natural to feel guilty, your pets death will mean they are no longer suffering or in pain.

Depression – This is very common and the longest part of grieving. The first concerns are for the practical implication relating to the loss of your companion, you may also worry you neglected other commitments whilst caring for your pet. Some will also feel a sense of isolation and feel unable to express their feelings. Overall depression brings with it a sense of confusion and a lack of concentration for normal daily tasks. Your appetite may also change and you may experience insomnia (inability to sleep).

No one can predict how long any of the above stages will last, however, you will come to a point of acceptance where you feel you can talk more openly about your loss. You will begin to see you are now viewing the situation more objectively and that open communication is very beneficial in is relieving the feeling of sadness and depression. However, if after some time you feel you are not coping with your loss it is advisable to speak to your doctor who may recommend counselling which can be very beneficial in helping you to express you emotions and accept your loss.