The Stages of Pet Grief: How to Move through Them

Even worse, we seldom discuss pet loss. The majority of individuals will give you the side-eye if you’re still mourning over your pet years later. Can’t you just buy another dog and go on?

However, like human loss, grieving in pet loss happens in several stages. Here are the stages:

  • Shock

This first stage is unavoidable; and will occur when you and your family are grieving the loss of a cherished pet. Be compassionate to yourself during this time as you allow the shock to settle in, just like you would after any other loss in your life. Understand that it may take a few days or weeks to realize what happened before another stronger feeling begins to take control.

  • Anger

During this stage, the sense of loss settles in, and you can’t believe what has happened to you. You may be furious at the unfairness of it all, or you may be upset with how it transpired. You may become angry with yourself for probably not taking better care of Snowball or for not taking her to the vet sooner.

It is natural to be angry, but be cautious about unleashing that anger; remember that, while your feelings are reasonable, they are not anchored in truth. Don’t unnecessarily harm someone or yourself.

  • Denial

Denial can take the form of thinking you’re completely fine or even placing a Band-Aid on your wound with a new pet. It’s common to move on and consider getting a new pet after a loss, especially if you love animals. However, be aware that a new pet will not fill the void in your heart.

Wait until you feel it’s right before obtaining another pet, so that everyone may feel that the lost pet has been honored.

  • Guilt

Anger at oneself for a pet’s death may appear and feel like guilt, but guilt is a different stage, maybe because it is so easy to dwell in. Your thoughts may be filled with remorse and “what ifs” as you lie awake at night, wondering what you might have done differently to affect the outcome of this tragedy.

The most powerful cure to guilt is the most obvious: do not blame yourself. Discuss some of your darkest regrets and secret thoughts with someone you trust to gain a balanced view. 

  • Depression

This may be the most difficult stage of all since it might feel as if you’ll never get out of the hole you’ve been in for the previous few months. This painful period is ideal for fully opening up and processing your pet’s loss.

Many of us shut down emotionally after the death of a loved one, yet genuine healing comes from facing the sorrow head-on. You must be willing to go to that point of intense vulnerability since that’s where you can most clearly feel the presence of your loving animal pals. 

  • Resolution

Here’s the good news: when you acknowledge your loss and allow yourself to truly feel your emotions, you will reach the conclusion of your grief journey. No longer mourning does not imply that you no longer love your pet; it just means that you permitted yourself to heal and grow, demonstrating that something wonderful may come from loss. 

Should you have recently lost a loved pet, Gentle Pet Crossing is ready to assist you in making arrangements for your deceased loved one to receive their last respects or pre-plan to help them crossove. We will also assist you in effectively navigating the grieving process. Please call us immediately if you require assistance!