No parent wants to deal with death in any form – especially when it comes to the loss of a family pet.
But their passing is inevitable and the better prepared you are for it, the easier it will be to navigate you and your family through it.
It will never be completely easy and grief-free, but there are ways you can prepare and copy with a pet loss in your family:
1. Acknowledge The Grief
Grief doesn’t simply happen after a loss occurs – even knowing that your pet is going to die will bring on these feelings.
Showing how you feel, and talking about your emotions, will help your children process their own grief.
2. Make Your Pet Comfortable
If you’ve made the decision not to pay for expensive treatments (which is completely understandable), there are affordable ways you can make your pet’s final days peaceful and comfortable.
Feed them their favorite foods, give them a cushy place to sleep and let them relax as much as they need.
To help manage their pain, you can even give them CBD oils which can help alleviate pain and inflammation, especially if they have cancer.
3. Spend Time With Your Pet
When your pet is coming to the end of their life, this is the time to focus on spending quality time with them.
Go out of your way to give your pet extra snuggles and attention – maybe even bend the rules about pets on the bed or couch.
Not only will it make your family feel better in the end, but that love and support will not go unnoticed by your pet.
4. Talk to a Vet
Even if there is nothing a vet can do to prevent the death of your pet, speaking to one can help you and your family navigate the days to come.
Some vets specialize in palliative care and can even offer options such as having your pet euthanized at home.
One of the biggest guilts experienced by pet owners is feeling as if they didn’t do enough. Speak to a vet to explore all of your options when it comes to your ailing pet.
5. Be Honest With Your Kids
You should never lie to your children and tell them that their beloved pet ran away.
It’s better to help them through the finality of death than to have them wonder – for the rest of their lives – where their pet ended up.
Breaking the news will be hard so expect some big emotions. Give your children the space to feel what they need to feel.
6. Create a Memory
Creating something memorable can help you and your family deal with the grief and sadness of losing a pet.
Consider casting your pet’s paw print in plaster while they are still alive or creating a photo album of your favorite pictures.
What happens to your pet after their death is also part of creating a lasting memory. You may choose to have them cremated or buried in a special location.
7. Give It Time
Pets hold a special spot in our lives and leave a gaping void when they leave.
It will take time for you, your family and other pets in the home to adjust to their death. There will be tears and, for many children, some anger as well.
Don’t put a timeline on the grieving process – allow everyone to feel what they need to feel in their own time.
8. Don’t Rush to Replace Your Pet
You may be tempted to rush out and fill that gaping void, but don’t run out just yet to get a new pet.
Give yourself, and your family, the space to deal with your pet’s death first.
You want to make sure introducing a new pet into the home is the right choice – and you don’t want to make that choice out of sadness and grief.
Wait until everyone’s emotions have calmed then have a discussion with all family members about the possibility, or impossibility, of getting a new pet.
Losing a Pet Will Never Be Easy
It’s amazing how these furry creatures can become so ingrained in the lives and hearts of a family – so when it’s their time to move on, the aftermath can be devastating.
If you’re fortunate to have the time to prepare for an ailing pet’s death, the process isn’t necessarily easier but navigating the grief can be less confusing.
The two most important aspects of preparing for the loss of a pet is to make your pet comfortable and let the family feel what they need to feel.
And, in the end, you’ll always have a beautiful memory of your furry family member.