Pet bereavement advice: preparing to say goodbye and grieving for our beloved ones
Sadly, our pets have much shorter lives than us and taking responsibility for a pain-free, peaceful death is a decision that many eventually have to face. During even the most challenging times, our vets can help you with any questions and concerns that you may have.
This article was written by a FirstVet vet
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Conditions such as illnesses, injuries, and old age can deeply affect the quality of life of our beloved ones. Starting to think about when to let them go is, in certain circumstances, the kindest act we can do for a much-loved pet. This requires time and often detailed discussions with your family, friends and your vet. Acceptance of our pet’s condition is of vital importance.
Grieving a pet can be similar to mourning the loss of a family member. Some owners experience feelings of deep loneliness and isolation. Please don't worry or feel ashamed, these emotions are perfectly normal. Many feelings can be overwhelming; despair, loneliness, guilt and self-doubt are a real testimony of our strong and special friendship and bond with our pets.
Sometimes simple gestures can help you if you find that your grief is severely impacting your daily life. Practicing self care, changing your daily routine, sharing your feelings with friends and family, accepting offers of help and volunteering to help pets in need when you feel ready to do so may be some of the important things to remember. Rituals, such as a simple funeral, can help to accept the loss of a pet and give virtual but important space to those feelings. It may be hard, but planning ways to say goodbye can be helpful, especially for children at all ages.
There is nothing wrong in sharing these feelings with someone able to listen with compassion and without judgement and often people around us do not quite understand what grieving for a pet can bring.
Our vets at FirstVet dedicate their time and experience to help you. We are here to listen; don’t keep your grief to yourself. You are very welcome to contact us only once, or multiple times, if you wish. We encourage you to speak openly with our vets. As with all veterinary professionals, our service is strictly confidential.
Read more: When it's time to say goodbye to your pet
Do you have questions or concerns?
Book a video appointment to have a chat with one of our vets.
Dr. Massimo Orioles DMV, CertAVP, CertAqV, MRCVS
Pet bereavement advisor