Let's Talk About...Losing a Pet

Having lost a beloved dog myself, I can say that the grief can be overwhelming.

Grief is a common and natural response —whether the loss was sudden or expected, through illness or an accident. Making the decision to put a pet to sleep can be heartbreaking and traumatic.

The grief pet owners can feel include both psychological and physical symptoms – for example, feelings of emptiness and sadness, loss of appetite, nightmares, depression.

You may note you start to avoid friends with pets or places you may associate with your pet. This is perfectly normal and can improve in time.

It is common to have burials, rituals, keeping belongings around – and a fear of removing belongings, keeping ashes in the home, photographs, and an outpouring of feelings on social media.

How to come out the other side of grief….

  • You have lost a pet – allow yourself to grieve. It is natural to grieve. Your pet was valued by you.
  • Guilt is common especially if you have had to put your pet to sleep due to their health or injury.
  • Talk to your support network or engage in some counselling – lean into the support you need to talk freely about your loss and sadness.
  • Look after yourself physically and emotionally.