Pet Loss – Mourning the Loss of Your Beloved Pet

pet loss rainbow“His ears were often the first thing to catch my tears.” Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Poet

Losing a loved one will most certainly bring about the darkest days of your life. Pet loss is no exception. It is just as painful and, as with any other experience with death, there are stages of grief that you must allow yourself to go through. Today we explain the stages of grief and offer up some gentle suggestions on how you can navigate your way through the grieving process.

5 stages of pet loss:

The first stage of the pet loss grieving process is DENIAL. In this stage, you will be in a state of complete shock. You will be overwhelmed and mostly likely, numb. These feelings are coping mechanisms to help you survive those first days and weeks after loss. You will be taking things hour by hour, day by day at this point – often wondering how you will go on. As the reality of your loss sets in, you will slowly gain acceptance, the shock wears off and you truly begin to feel the impact of your loss. Your feelings of grief are raw and excruciating. The moment of acceptance is pivotal as this is when healing actually begins.

The second stage of the grieving process is ANGER. Anger is necessary. You must not fight it. As you work through your anger and let it out, it will slowly dissipate. Your anger has no bounds and you will lash out at everyone and everything. You will feel anger towards your deceased pet, your family, you r friends and complete strangers. Your anger is an expression of your love although it may not seem as such. It is the first of many feelings along the way. Your anger will make you feel strong and it is a much needed phase. You will question God and his role in the loss of your beloved pet. Your anger will connect you to those who see you with the clarity and understanding that you are need of support during this difficult time. pet loss

The third stage of the grieving process is BARGAINING. You will find yourself looking back and reliving the days, weeks, and months before the loss of your furry best friend. You will question your decisions and will frequently wonder about the “what-ifs” and “only-ifs”. You are trying to find your way out of your pain so you will try to strike deals, “I will do (fill in the blank) if only I can have my furry pal back.” You will think this and often. Even though you know it is not possible, you hope and pray that by some miracle you will wake up to wet kisses upon your nose once again. pet loss.

The fourth stage of the grieving process is DEPRESSION. You are jolted into reality and come to understand that there is NO going back. You will be empty and broken often wondering if you should even go on or what the purpose of moving on is. You will withdraw from your loved ones, possibly existing at the lowest level possible. You feel there is no way out and that you will be lost forever. This is a natural and necessary state of mind. Pet loss. 

The fifth stage of the grieving process is ACCEPTANCE. This is the stage where you truly accept that you will never cradle your fur baby in your arms again and you will never be greeted with his happy barks and kisses when you arrive home from work. This stage is not about saying to the world “I’m ok with this loss”. You are merely accepting that there is a new normal in which you must learn to navigate. Slowly but surely and sometimes without even realizing it, you adjust to life as you now know it. You will find yourself filling your time with new friends and interests.

Keep in mind that your navigation through these stages of grief is purely unique to your situation. You may bounce from one stage to another and then back again. It is suggested that you will never get over your loss rather you will learn to live with it. The grief process never really ends and as life goes on you will feel slivers of the feelings associated with each stage. Your time in each stage may lost longer depending on the support you receive from friends and family. Not everyone will understand and validate your loss. That is alright. Keep yourself around people that validate you and give credence to your pain. Join support groups either online or in person. Seek therapy or counseling.

Grieve as you see fit and don’t look to others to understand your path. Read books about pet loss to gain a deeper understanding of your pain. Memorialize your pet in any way you see fit. You will feel hurt and defensive when someone tells you to move on or get over it. Only you understand the impact of your loss and it is nearly impossible to make others understand. It is a rare blessing to be loved unconditionally by a pet. Be kind to yourself in the process.





  1. Great advice!

  2. Daily Dog Walkers & Pet Sitters says

    Thank you Julie. It is always difficult when dealing with the loss of a pet.

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