When Is The Right Time To Get Another Pet


Although it may seem tempting to get another pet immediately after the death of a loyal companion, there are many things to consider before taking the plunge.

If you're not sure whether you're ready to welcome another family member, then keep reading to discover how to know when the time is right. You'll also learn how to make the right decision for your next pet to make sure they get the best possible life, and don't live in the shadow of their predecessor.

Even if you're not ready to get another pet, there are many ways you can still spend time with your favourite animal friends. In fact, volunteering with pets can be a great way of healing without the commitment of getting another pet straight away. Scroll down to see a list of places to volunteer with animals in New South Wales.

Things to consider before getting another pet

There is no rush to welcome another furry friend into the home. It is important to take the time to grieve the loss of your dog or cat. Even small pets such as rabbits, rodents, reptiles and birds can leave a hole in your life. Here are some things to consider before getting another pet.

Think about other people in the household

Everybody grieves at a different pace. Communicate openly with your partner and other family members, ask them how they feel about getting another pet and what they want from their next companion. Don’t try to surprise your family with a new pet – it’s important that everybody plays a role in the decision when the time comes.

Don’t forget the children

The devastation of losing a pet may distract you from the smaller members of the family. Children process the feelings of loss and grief in a very different way to adults – this may be their first experience of death.

Give your child a chance to understand what has happened, as getting another pet too soon might inhibit their ability to bond with a new companion. For more information on telling a child about the death of a pet, check out our full guide.

Consider your responsibilities

Although your previous pet may have fitted seamlessly into your life and routine, it’s important to take a step back and think about how a new pet will work in your family. This is particularly important if you are planning to get a puppy or kitten, or even rescue an animal with certain needs.

Are you able to give a new pet the time and love they deserve? Think carefully before getting your next furry friend.

Choosing Your Next Pet

If you and your family have decided it’s time to get another pet, it’s important to choose carefully. Don’t try to replace your loved one, instead think of this as starting anew and give another animal the chance of a happy and fulfilled life.

Get a different sex/breed

To avoid the risk of feeling like you are replacing a lost pet, try to get a different sex or even breed. Visit the local animal shelters and ask to walk the dogs or play with the cats. You never know which animal you will bond with. By choosing a different sex or breed of cat or dog, you’ll be able to start afresh with your new fur baby while retaining respect and memory for your lost loved one.

Consider getting another pet before your senior pet dies

Although not for everyone, it may be a good idea to get another pet before your senior or sick pet dies. This can be beneficial for a number of reasons. First of all, the introduction of a young dog or cat may revitalise your older companion. A new walking or playing pal can do wonders for a pet in their final months and weeks.

Human family members may also benefit from the introduction of another pet before an elderly or sick pet passes away. You will be able to adapt your routine to the new animal while enjoying the winter of your pet’s life with their new friend.

Consider adoption

For your next pet, you may want to consider adoption. The act of visiting an animal shelter and choosing your next cat or dog can be very healing in itself. You will be given the chance to offer a beautiful animal a chance to live their best life with your family. Take a look at our list of animal shelters and welfare centres in New South Wale below.

Change up your routine

It can be easy to fall back into old routines with a new pet. However, getting a new companion is a great opportunity to refresh your routine. Avoid painful memories but finding new walks for you and your dog. If you can’t source any new walking routes, why not change direction on your usual hike? This will give the walk a different feel and help you create new memories with your canine friend.

Replace the toys and bedding

Animals have a very powerful sense of smell. They will notice if bedding or bowls have belonged to another cat or dog in the past, they may even reject these items in their new territory. This is particularly important if your previous pet died of an illness as the bacteria may still be present in textiles.

Stay safe and buy your new pet bedding, bowls and toys of their own. This will help them get used to their new home and make it their own.

If you’re not ready for another pet

It’s perfectly fine to take time when getting another pet. You may feel the need to take weeks or even months to process the loss before welcoming a new companion into your family home. During this time, you may miss the comfort and companionship an animal brings, here are some ideas to satisfy those feelings without rushing to get another pet:

Hang out with friends with pets

Although it may seem painful at first, don’t avoid other pets altogether. Spending an afternoon playing with a friend’s new kitten or embarking on a weekend hike with a relative’s pooch can be a very healing experience. You’ll get to know another animal’s unique personality and get the joy pets bring into your life, without the commitment.

Volunteer at a local animal shelter

Why not give your spare time to an animal shelter in your area? Even if you don’t have time to dedicate each week, many shelters offer doggy walking or cat playtime for enrichment. You may even meet your next companion in the process!

Animal shelters in New South Wales:

    • Animal Welfare League NSW 
      For the last 60 years, The Animal Welfare League has been caring for surrendered, neglected and abandoned animals in New South Wales. The registered charity accepts volunteers in a number of capacities, including animal attendants, admin assistants and event ambassadors. You can also get involved in foster care for animals in need of experience in the home.

    • Sydney Dogs and Cats Home 
      Sydney's only charity pound and community facility, Sydney Cats and Dogs Shelter helps over 3,000 animals every year. Get involved in volunteering, fundraising or even foster care with this amazing organisation.

    • Monika’s Rescues 
      Located in Ingleside, Monika's Rescues is an incredible cause working to combat abuse and neglect suffered by dogs every year. Members of the public are encouraged to visit Tuesday-Sunday between 11am-2pm to help volunteers walk the dogs in the local area. You'll be asked to pay a small fee to register as a dog walker, and you can return time and time again to stretch your legs and cuddle your favourites pooches.

Be sure to check with Monika's Rescues ahead of time for any changes to the usual dog walking schedule.


Visit a Cat Café

If an animal shelter isn’t your cup of tea, why not visit a cat café? Originating in Japan, the cat cafes have popped up all over Sydney and the wider New South Wales area. You can pet kitties and enjoy a coffee and cake, what’s not to like?

Cat Café in New South Wales


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. 


Contact Us

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