Grieving Coping Loss Of Pet

Grieving and Coping Through the Loss of Your Pet

Medical Contributor:

Veterinary Emergency Group

Jun 19, 2024

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The greeting at the door, the jaunty little waddle around the house, and snuggles when you need them most…when your pet passes away, there’s a huge void to fill. In this blog, we’ll explore a topic no pet owner wants to think about, but is so important: how to cope after the loss of a pet.

As one would imagine, our emergency veterinary staff at VEG aka Veterinary Emergency Group, takes losses very seriously. We pride ourselves on being highly trained and ready 24 hours a day to help people and their pets when they need it most. And if a patient’s quality of life cannot be maintained or the pet is beyond expert medical intervention, we have to have a hard conversation with our customer. Sometimes the most meaningful help we can do is in the form of ensuring a compassionate and calm passing for the pet.

A pet’s passing may be expected, from a long-term illness for example, or it may be unexpected. No matter how you lose a pet, the emotional turmoil understandably follows.


Every pet parent’s grief process is unique; a pet owner might lean on their family, friends, or others who can lend emotional support after the loss of their pet, while someone else may simply want to be alone in their thoughts. There is no right or wrong way to grieve your pet.

No doubt, grieving comes with all the feels and it is a process. Grief may show up with deep emotions, for example:

  • Anger, frustration
  • Anxiety, fear, loss of focus
  • Changes in appetite, digestive issues
  • Crying, depression, sadness
  • Fatigue, exhaustion
  • Feeling lost or isolated
  • Headaches, aches and pains
  • Loss of sleep


Some people feel guilty after the death of a pet. This is a common emotion that needs to be recognized while working on healing. Survivor’s guilt is complex, but try to engage with your thoughts, rather than suppress your feelings. A common thought may be: What could I have done differently to save my pet? Here’s the thing, as humans, we make life decisions all the time. But, rarely do we make decisions around death and dying. It’s in the aftermath that we start to think about the “what ifs.”

If your pet died with little to no warning, you might question all the things that led up to the passing. It’s normal to wonder if there’s some way you could have influenced your pet’s outcome. Keep in mind that all may have been the same regardless of your actions, and no matter how many scenarios you toss around, the answer is something that takes time to accept: it was your pet’s time.

When euthanasia is the humane option, the decision is ultimately made by you, the pet owner, which carries a heavy emotional load. As difficult as it is, understand that euthanasia was likely the most compassionate thing you could have done for your pet. Don’t worry if this isn’t your first thought; it takes a while to get to that headspace.


No shame in this game, when you cannot move forward and find it difficult to even think about enjoying life again, there are support systems available to you!

  • Pet grief counselors – You’re in pain, you’re feeling sorrow, and there are skilled counselors to help you through this. They cannot bring your loved one back, but they can help you deal with the reality that all living things must pass, and help you look toward the future with hope.
  • 24-hour pet grief hotlines – Thoughts of sorrow can keep us up at night. That’s why there are hotlines open day and night to help manage grief. This may be an easier option for you than a scheduled appointment.
  • Support groups for pet loss – Gathering with other pet owners who are going through the same hardship may bring solace. Sharing stories about your pets can lead to a collective healing. Crying and even finding time to smile as you relay memories about your pet, and listen to others do the same, is all part of a healthy grieving.


Though VEG ERs have an open-concept design, each of our veterinary hospitals have dedicated quiet rooms when the time comes for euthanasia. We’ve found that most clients in our vet clinic stay with their pet throughout their passing and are allowed as much time as they need with their beloved pet afterwards.

Our compassionate vet staff can assist owners on aftercare for their deceased pet. VEG partners with Gateway Services, who offer private and communal cremation services.

We hope this helps pet owners who are grieving or preparing for the inevitable. Remember to give yourself grace. Go through your emotions unashamed. Celebrate your pet’s memory. Seek help if you need.