How To Help Your Kid Grieve A Lost Pet

Pet ownerships is a great source of joy, but if your animal goes missing or passes away, it can also be a source of intense grief and loss. Kids in particular can struggle to process the loss of their beloved cat, dog or other animal, so they may need your guidance and support when it comes to dealing with this. With some careful modelling and advice, you can help you child to grieve their pet in a healthy way, without it impacting their life too intensely.

Don’t Suppress Grief

If your family pet has died, the likelihood is that everyone is feeling this loss. Make sure you don’t try to downplay or hide your grief from your kid—expressing it will help your kid to understand that feeling this sadness is natural and normal, and that there is no issue with them expressing it. Some children will try and hold feelings inside, for fear of further upsetting or distressing their parents, but you want your child to feel comfortable expressing their sadness and loss for their pet.

Find Ways To Remember Your Pet

Whether you choose to watch videos of your animal, look through photos, or create a collage of some of the happy times you spent together as a family, your child will appreciate having regular opportunities to speak about their pet. Some children fear that when an animal dies, it will be forgotten about by the family—you need to show that this isn’t the case, and that even though your pet may no longer be around, it’s still OK to talk about them and remember.

Keep An Open Mind About Getting A New Animal

Some children will try to lessen their grief for their pet by immediately asking for another one. While it is a good idea to leave a little bit of time between the passing of a pet and getting a new one, it’s a good idea not to shut down this conversation with your child (unless getting another animal is not an option for your family right now). Your child isn’t showing that they don’t care about the previous animal in asking for a new one, this is one of the ways they will process their grief, so show that you are open to listening and discussing this with them.