Understanding and dealing with pet Grief
There comes a time in every owner’s life where a hard decision will need to be made. Pets, unfortunately, aren’t built to last as long as us and, towards the end of their lives, they’ll depend on us to make that hard choice. However, if you have another pet how are they going to react? Will they miss their bigger, perhaps older sibling?
Pets, as we’re sure you’re aware, can become very attached to one another and having a pet survive the loss of their best friend (when you’re not there) can be difficult for them to do. As a pet parent, it’s important to understand and know the signs of grief in pets, understand where it comes from and understand that these losses take time to heal. As such, there are signs to look for:
- Withdrawal from people and other pets
- A lack of appetite
- Lethargic behaviour and sleeping more than usual
- Unusually aggressive or destructive behaviours
- Inappropriate urinating within the home
- Calling out or vocalizing in an unusual way for the pet who has passed
- Searching the home and other places frequented by the other pet
- Becoming very clingy and following you around
For any pet parent who has a pet dealing with the loss of a friend, it is vital that they are given time to process the ordeal. It is completely normal and healthy for them to express grief in a variety of ways and it is up to you, as a pet parent, to know your pet, reassure them and comfort them. Helping your pet to properly grieve is, unfortunately, a necessary evil.
Euthanising a pet is hard. It takes courage but also a lot of love for your pet, to be able to put them before yourself and your other pets and how much you want them to still be a part of their lives. However, a symbolic gesture such as burial or cremation can help all involved put a full-stop under this period of grief and give closure to the whole affair. This symbolic gesture can be anything that you want it to be; perhaps you’d like them to be cremated and for their ashes to be scattered, or maybe for them to be buried with their favourite toy. The time you and your pets have spent together will always stay with you.
Getting through the loss of a pet is a herculean task, but friends and family are always there for us; as crutches to help us walk, as casts to help us heal. If you’re going through the loss of a beloved pet, it’s vital that you speak to your friends and family – having a favourite Aunt, Uncle or Cousin on standby can make the world of difference on lonely nights and an even bigger difference to your grieving pet. Afterall, in times of hardship, company is a good thing to be in.
If you require any advice on the services we offer or how to deal with grief and loss for all ages, click here.