Is It Normal To Feel Like This After A Pet Dies


The loss of a pet can be one of the most challenging times in our lives, and it is quite normal to feel massive emotional stress during this difficult time. 

In many homes, our pets are another member of the family. Remember that people within your family will react differently to your pet’s death, depending on many factors, such as how close they were or how they naturally cope with grief.

There are many stages of grief; denial, anger, bargaining (what ifs), depression and acceptance. Adults and children will pass through these stages in varying timescales, or may skip stages altogether. Knowing the stages can help to understand the way you are feeling and therefore help you manage your feelings. Sometimes those who have never had a pet struggle to understand how you feel but this shouldn’t get in the way of your grieving. It is important to reach out to family and friends, but sometimes they aren’t able to provide the type of support needed so you may want to look at other options available such as a pet support group, your vet or even a therapist.

A lot of people often rely on their pet as a way to escape stress or feelings of emotional trouble in other parts of their lives, so when their pet passes, it can leave a huge gap in their lives. Our pets have such a special place in our lives, so losing them naturally evokes deep-felt emotions, stress and a huge sense of loss. Caring for a pet usually also becomes a part of your daily routine, so you may not feel complete once that routine is disrupted. A pet’s love is unconditional, and they rely upon us entirely, so once that connection is lost, it can be very painful and stressful. It can often feel the same as the loss of a close friend or relative.

With any grieving, it is essential to practice self-care and continue to go about your daily activities, helping to promote and maintain good mental health and your physical wellbeing. Make sure you get lots of rest and eat well. Try to keep busy so you can take your mind off the grief and stay away from negative thoughts. You could consider taking some time off from work but only if you feel you need time away from people and that this will help with your grief; often keeping busy and continuing with your daily activities such as work and school help to maintain a sense of being and avoid feeling lost. Not everyone understands what it feels like to lose a pet, so make sure you surround yourself with supportive people; stay away from anyone negative or not understanding of the situation.


Grief factsheets

If you’re in need of some extra support in the days and weeks following your pet’s passing, take a look at these handy guides written by leading figure in grief and empathy education and author of "When Pets Die: It's Alright To Grieve,"  Doris Zagdanski. 


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