Pets hold a special place in our hearts, becoming much more than just animals in our homes. They’re family. Losing them is tough, and it's okay to grieve. As we work through the sadness, we can remember the good times, and when we're ready, perhaps think about welcoming a new pet into our lives.

To assist in this journey, here are seven practical tips to help manage the pain of pet loss.

1. Acknowledge Your Grief

Losing a pet can evoke overwhelming emotions, including sadness, anger, guilt, or loneliness. It's important to grant yourself the permission to grieve, recognizing that there is no "correct" way to do so. Grief is a unique journey for everyone, often unfolding in stages or waves like denial, anger, and acceptance.

However, these stages may not follow a specific order or be experienced by everyone. Remember, there's no rush, and it's okay to feel the way you do. Embrace your emotions and exercise patience as you navigate this deeply personal process.

2. Allow Yourself to Mourn

Experiencing such a loss is never easy. No matter how difficult, facing your emotions is a crucial step towards healing. There might be days filled with tears or others where your mind drifts back to happier times. Sometimes, it's a lingering ache, a favorite toy catching your eye, or even a familiar noise that suddenly reminds you of them.

Everyone's journey through grief is unique, and there's no fixed blueprint to follow. Writing about your feelings or talking to someone you trust can be beneficial during these challenging times.

3. Seek Support

During the grieving process, it's important to lean on others. Talking to friends or family can offer emotional comfort and practical help, making you feel less isolated.

If you are struggling to cope with your grief, consider professional support. Therapists or grief counselors can guide you toward healthier ways to cope.

4. Celebrate the Memories

There are many ways to celebrate the memories you have of your pet. You could create a photo album, write a letter to your pet, or plant a tree in their honor.

You could also talk about your pet with friends or family, or simply spend time in places where you shared happy memories with them. Thinking about the good times you had with your pet can help you feel closer to them even after they are gone.

5. Address Feelings of Guilt

It's not uncommon for pet owners to grapple with guilt, especially when faced with tough decisions like pet euthanization. These choices, laden with emotional weight, can lead to second-guessing and self-doubt.

It's essential to remember and take solace in the fact that decisions were made with your pet's best interest at heart. You acted out of love and care, and it's okay to seek comfort in that understanding.

6. Consider the Feelings of Other Pets

The loss of a pet doesn't just affect humans; other pets in the household can feel the void too. They might display signs of grief, such as changes in appetite, lethargy, or altered behavior.

It's essential to recognize these signs and offer support. Keeping their routines can provide them with a sense of familiarity, and giving extra attention or care can help ease their transition during this challenging time.

7. Decide When (or If) to Get Another Pet

The decision to welcome another pet into your life after a loss is deeply personal. While a new pet can bring joy and companionship, it's vital to ensure you're emotionally ready. Rushing into adoption might not be fair to you or the new pet.

Take the time to assess your feelings and readiness, understanding that it's okay to wait until you truly feel prepared or even decide that the time isn't right.


Grief is deeply personal, with no set rules or timelines. Embrace your emotions and give yourself time to heal. Remember, you're not alone; many have faced the pain of losing a pet. Whether it's talking to loved ones, seeking professional guidance, or joining support groups, find what helps you cope.

Be patient with yourself. As you journey through this, you'll find ways to rediscover joy, even as you cherish the memories of your beloved pet.

If you ever need additional support or compassionate care for a pet in their end-of-life stage, consider exploring our in-home pet quality of life consultation, which is designed to provide comfort and assistance during these difficult times.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does pet grief last?

Pet grief varies for each individual, with no set timeline. It can range from weeks to months or even longer, depending on personal coping mechanisms and the bond with the pet.

How can children cope with losing a pet?

Children can cope with pet loss by talking about their feelings, remembering good times with the pet, and getting comfort from family. There are also animal companion loss books available for children that can help bring clarity and comfort after a pet's passing.  

Can pets sense their owner's grief?

Pets, especially dogs and cats, can often pick up on their owner's emotions, so they might sense when their owner is grieving by noticing changes in behavior, routine, or body language. In response, some pets may become more clingy and others more withdrawn.