As pet sitters and dog walkers, we have lost many a pet under our care. We are left feeling heartbroken and out of sorts, just as much as the owners.
While pet loss isn’t something that anyone wants to think about, but if you have a sick or elderly pet it’s something you will need to consider. Here are 3 tips for dealing with pet loss:
- Prepare for their passing
Before their death, you should take time to consider what you would like to do with your pet’s remains. Options include cremation, home burial (subject to council regulations), or pet cemeteries.
If your sick pet will be euthanised, talk to your veterinarian about the process. Consider whether you want to be present and how to make the passing more comfortable for your pet. Take a moment to say goodbye before the time of euthanasia.
Continue to spend time with your pet before they pass away, take photos, do fun activities, and give them their favourite treats.
- Memories and keepsakes
After they’re gone, you will want to reminisce over fond memories of your pet. Keepsakes are a popular way to remember your pet. Options include decorative clay paw print impressions, hair locks of their fur, and framing photographs of your pet. Other options include custom soft toys modelled after your pet, or getting a tattoo of your pet (some places can even mix in some of your pet’s ashes into the tattoo ink).
Consider doing something in memory of your pet such as planting a tree, buying a piece of art work, or donating to a local animal shelter.
- Moving on
After your pet passes, allow yourself to cry and grieve. Reach out to friends and family members who also knew your pet. Maintain a social life and try to continue on with daily life.
During the grieving process, it helps to talk to someone who understands. This may be someone you know who has also lost a pet, or a professional. If you are struggling to cope with your pet’s death, speak to your veterinarian who will be able to recommend a pet grief councillor.
Spending time with other animals can help, but do not feel pressured to adopt a new pet straight away. When you are ready to develop a new relationship with a cat or dog, do not expect them to be an exact replacement of your old pet. Look forward to the future and you will be able to create great memories with your new pet.