Losing a pet can be a heartbreaking experience that causes much grief and emotional suffering. If you or a close family member have lost a pet you may find the information below helpful.


Every pet owner will be affected by the loss of their beloved pet and cope with grief differently. Pets play a significant part in the lives of their owners, sharing both in our joys and our sorrows. Pets can be an important source of great emotional support through both bad times and good. Any pet owner who has experienced a period of grief, hardship or despair will understand how comforting the emotional bond between owner and pet can be.

Therefore the loss of a loved pet can be quite evident on an owner, evoking the strongest of human emotions: grief. It is important to understand that feelings of grief, devastation and confusion are quite normal and acceptable following the loss of a pet. The individual’s ability to handle, understand and express their grief will determine whether they find themselves overwhelmed by their loss or whether they will find the ability to cope.

Depending on the individual, quite profound physical, emotional and mental stages can mark the grieving process following the loss of a pet. Grieving is not just a temporary state of mind and may take many months, years or even the rest of your life to work through.

Most of us need to move through the various stages of our grief, in whatever order they come, so that we can finally begin to build a new life.

The loss of a pet will often be a very sudden event while passing’s due to illness may be long and drawn out. The sudden loss of a loved pet will usually cause intense feelings of shock and often disbelief.

Shock is our natural mechanism for dealing with the many traumatic situations life will deliver. Although shock can often be a sickening and overwhelming sensation it is a state of mind that allows us to gather our resources to manage the stages of grief that will follow.

Following the initial shock of losing a much loved pet bereavement can take its toll on our bodies in many ways. This can show in body aches and pains, headaches, asthma, muscular pains or some other symptoms.

Often we can feel quite physically drained and depreciated in energy causing apathy and want for isolation. This should subside in due course with rest, however a visit to your doctor is recommended to ensure good health and recovery. Your doctor may also provide good advice on ways to improve recovery and coping with grief through diet and exercise.

Expressing your grief can release many of the stresses that cause physical symptoms and help us to grow as people.

Intense loneliness is a normal feeling following the loss of a pet and will often leave you feeling quite low, even with the comfort of others around you. It is important to understand this and to reach out and seek support and company from family and friends.

It can often be difficult to know what to do or how to find relief from intense feelings of separation and loneliness. You are very likely to feel low in spirit and feel the urge to separate yourself from others, remaining preoccupied with fond memories of your pet.

You should not be fearful of going “crazy” as a result of your grief; this is but a normal stage in the process and is best overcome by reaching out to others.

Crying is a very powerful form of emotional release and is something that you should not be afraid to do. Some people will prefer to cry in their own privacy where they cannot be seen by others while many will release their grief in the comfort of family and friends.

However you do it, crying is something that you should not be ashamed to do. It is very important to release your intense emotions through crying as bottling your emotions can make recovery from grief a very slow and much more difficult process.

Family members that have cared for their pet through a time of illness may feel relief and comfort that their pet is no longer suffering and in pain. We can accept that relief without feeling guilty and feel glad that the pet does not have to endure further pain and discomfort.

Guilt for the loss of a pet can be quite common: “He was fine yesterday”, “I should have been home”… These are the usual responses we have because losing a pet is not a situation that we have control over. Death very often cannot be prevented, therefore it is very important not to blame yourself if feelings of guilt do persist.

Talking and sharing personal memories and feelings about your pet can be very beneficial to recovery. Your pet’s life and death should not be something you must keep to yourself.

The pet funeral or pet cremation process at Pets R.I.P has been designed to say that special farewell and to keep the memories of your pet with you and other family members.

Sharing the enduring memories of your pet will help you begin to resume in normal activities and enjoy these guilt free.

The best way to support

  • The Legend of the Rainbow Bridge by William Britton
  • Saying Goodbye to Lulu by Corrine Demas
  • Dog Heaven by Cynthia Ryfant
  • Goodbye Mog by Judith Kerr

It is very important to check other pets that may have been affected because they have very sensitive feelings towards their mates and family.

  • They may not feel like eating
  • They may just sleep, showing no energy
  • Some pets keep searching for their missing mate
  • Waiting and looking for their friend to come home
  • Signs of confusion, anxiety and anger
  • Not leaving their mate’s bed
Your TLC will allow them to recover.

Children, particularly younger children, can often be left confused or scared when a beloved pet is suddenly gone. Talking with them and helping them understand can be very important. The following books have been written specifically to help and can be ordered online or from a bookstore.

  • The Legend of the Rainbow Bridge by William Britton
  • Saying Goodbye to Lulu by Corrine Demas
  • Dog Heaven by Cynthia Ryfant
  • Goodbye Mog by Judith Kerr

Our dedicated team of staff are available to assist families from all areas of South East Queensland 24 Hours a Day 7 Days a Week

1300 233 002 Emergency After Hours

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