5 Ways to Cope With Losing a Pet

Pet ownership is one of the most rewarding experiences in life; but this joy comes with hardship as well. When a pet passes it can take a huge toll on the owner, so it’s good to prepare yourself for the inevitable sad times. Nothing can make the loss hurt less, but there are ways you can cope and come out the other end with fond more memories than heartbreak.

Here are 5 ways to prepare yourself for the loss of a pet.

1. Engage Your Pet as Much as Possible

When a pet is new, many people have a tendency to never leave them alone. As times passes, they become a part of every-day life. It’s important to interact with your pets every day. Not only will this bring you closer together but keeping your pet happy will help keep t hem healthy and living as long as possible; and when your pet is about to pass, they will find even more comfort in your presence.

2. Learn to Pre-Grieve

This works particularly well with smaller pets as their life spans are shorter than larger animals. With my rats, I decided to grieve for their loss while they are still around. I know that I’ll be sad every time I lose a rat and with 12 rats I have a lot of grieving to do. By working to accept that my rats won’t be around forever I don’t have such a strong reaction when they pass. I have found this strategy helpful when my rats become sick because I can keep a level head and care for them in the best way
possible. Knowing that you have given an animal a good life and have done everything you can for them is the best way to cope with their passing.
3. Make Arrangements Early

When it’s time to put a pet to sleep it’s emotional. The best way to avoid any unnecessary grief is to make the arrangements, and pay, before you take your pet in for the procedure. This tip is something that most animal lovers will know to do in advance, but it never hurts to have a reminder. There is nothing worse than losing a best friend; having to pay money immediately afterwards can be heart wrenching. Animals will often hide their ailments so it’s important to be aware of their health issues. I had a rat that passed while I was at work and I had to take her out of the cage and take care of her remains. This was one of the hardest things for me to do and it made me realize the importance of preparing for deaths before they happen.

4. Give Yourself Time

Many people will go out and get a new pet soon after losing one to try to fill the empty space their pet left behind. This can be bad for the new pet as well as the owner. Grieving a pet is similar to grieving a beloved relative. Giving yourself time to grieve and reminisce about your pet will help you love a new pet even more when you do decide to adopt one. Pets are unique and each one will have traits you love as well as things that may bother you. By getting a new pet right away you end up putting certain expectations onto your new animal because you may be comparing them to the pet that you lost. While this won’t happen all the time, it can be beneficial to take time off of responsibility and make sure you’re ready to take on a new pet.

5. Make a Pet Scrapbook

We never want to forget what our pets look like; and we want to be able to show our pets to other pet lovers. The best way to keep these memories is in a scrapbook. Not only will the physical pictures be a nice reminder of the pets you’ve loved, but putting in the effort to create that reminder will help with the grieving process. Animal ownership is the very definition of a labor of love. If you can extend that love past your animals life, then

you’ll never truly be without them.

The loss of a pet is the most heartbreaking part of pet ownership; but it doesn’t always have to be impossible to cope with. Make sure to love your pets unconditionally and keep them in your memory so they will always have a place in your life and in your heart.

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