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Death of a Pet

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When a pet dies

When a pet dies it is perfectly natural to feel upset and emotional. This animal has probably been part of your life for quite a few years and you have looked after it, fed it, loved it and above all enjoyed it's company. Give yourself time to get over the loss. Some people may feel better after a few weeks, but others find that remembering their pet's death still makes them upset even after several years.

  • Talk

    Talk about your animal's death, especially to friends and relatives who have had a similar experience. Some people also find it helpful to write their thoughts and feelings down in a diary or even a poem.

  • In memory

    Hold a special ceremony in remembrance of your pet - perhaps bury a memento or plant a tree or shrub in a favourite part of the garden. This can be a good way of showing your pet the respect it deserves and also provides a good opportunity to let out some emotions.

  • Not guilty

    Don't blame yourself for your pet's death. If you gave it care and attention during its life and took it to your veterinary surgeon when it was ill, you did all you could. Try not to blame other people either. Vets cannot always save an animal's life. If your pet died as a result of an accident, there was probably nothing you could have done to prevent this.

  • Letting go

    If your pet is very ill and unlikely to recover, your vet may suggest that it is put to sleep. This can be a very difficult decision to make, but it is one of the kindest things that an owner can do for a suffering animal. Don't be afraid to show how upset you are in front of the vet. A sympathetic vet will understand your feelings.

  • Missing them

    You won't be able to help thinking about how much you miss your pet. But remember the good times too. Think about your pet's funny habits and what you loved most about it. It's quite normal to feel angry when a pet dies or to feel that its death was unfair particularly if the animal had a serious disease or was involved in an accident. These emotions are part of the process of coming to terms with your loss.

  • Looking forward

    When to get a new companion animal is something that only you can decide. Listen to your own feelings. You may feel that no other pet can take your old pet's place. But if you feel that the time is right to get a new pet, that's fine too. Allow yourself plenty of time to make your decision.

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