Humans develop a lasting attachment with their pets, which breaks at the loss of the pet. Regardless of the manner of death, a pet owner may perceive the death as traumatic and experience distress or exhibit posttraumatic stress symptoms.
Symptoms of acute grief after the loss of a pet can last from one to two months, with symptoms of grief persisting up to a full year (on average).
The grief that comes with losing a beloved pet can be all-consuming. In fact, the pain can actually manifest with physical symptoms that mimic a heart attack.
Healing from a loss is possible, but it does take time and patience. Even if you're having a particularly hard time with it, resources like counseling and support groups can help you cope when you're going through the five stages of grief.
However, the loss of that companion can be devastating and traumatic. Humans develop a lasting attachment with their pets, which breaks at the loss of the pet. Regardless of the manner of death, a pet owner may perceive the death as traumatic and experience distress or exhibit posttraumatic stress symptoms.
Research suggests that when people are in anguish over the loss of a pet, disenfranchised grief makes it more difficult for them to find solace, post-traumatic growth, and healing. Disenfranchised grief seems to restrain emotional expression in a way that makes it harder to process.
Pet Loss and Mental Health
Some people experience mental symptoms of grief, which may include confusion, trouble focusing, constant dwelling on your pet, or thinking you see or hear your pet. Loss of an animal companion can also lead to anxiety and depression for some people.
People who are traumatized by the euthanasia of a pet sometimes fall into serious depression and even have suicidal thoughts. And this distress goes largely unacknowledged, so that people suffer without social support or professional help.
“One reason why losing a pet is such a deep loss is because animals' love is so unconditional and accepting,” she said. But it's also because so many aspects of people's lives are impacted. “Every single facet of life is part of the loss,” she explained.
The stages are: Shock and Denial; Pain and Guilt; Anger and Bargaining; Depression, Reflection, and Loneliness; Adjustment to Life; Your New Normal; Acceptance and Hope. These are the seven stages of grief that I use in my practice when helping people like you explore their grief and loss stages regarding pet loss.
The pets that we had to say goodbye to are alive in heaven right now in their spiritual bodies and we will see them again if we accept Jesus as our Savior. Your Pet Is Not Gone Forever.
Here are some examples of what not to say when a pet dies: "Don't cry." Crying is part of the grieving process for many people. "It's just a [dog/cat/etc.]." A comment like this that downplays the loss is mean and thoughtless. You don't know what the pet meant to that person.
And yet the death of a family pet can remind us of how vulnerable, precarious and precious life is. It's that process of acceptance and letting go that builds the resilience necessary to navigate an array of life's obstacles. We hone an ability to adapt to the evanescence of our lives with grace and hope.
In fact, sometimes that loss can feel as bad—or even worse—than the loss of a human friend or relative. That's not just anecdotal, either: Research has confirmed that for most people, the loss of a dog is comparable to the loss of a human loved one, in almost every way.
Guilt after euthanizing a pet can be traumatic for any pet owner. You may feel responsible even if there was nothing you could do to control the situation. This can keep you in a never ending cycle of guilt and grief.
A small 2019 study of 82 people found that the length of intense grief experienced by bereaved pet owners varies —with 25 % taking between 3 months to a year, 50% between one year and 19 months, and 25 % between two and six years. It's no wonder that pet loss therapy is an emerging field.
Research has confirmed that for most people, the loss of a dog is, in almost every way, comparable to the loss of a human loved one.
Seventy-five responders reported the loss of a pet and filled out a battery of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I've often written about PTSD; it's defined as the recurring memories and heightened state of arousal that lingers for more than a month after a traumatic event.
Your pet's body is usually picked up by the crematorium and brought to the facility in their own transport. Pick-up timing will vary, depending on the arrangement that your practice has with the crematorium. Don't be afraid to ask if you would like to know.
Sometimes a reincarnated pet will look remarkably like its previous self, and sometimes not. They will show some kind of evidence, however, that confirms that sense of "knowing." For instance, they'll settle in unusually fast, have similar habits or other behavioral clues.
While religious views around the world vary, Christianity has traditionally held that animals have no hope of an afterlife. But Pope John Paul II said in 1990 that animals do have souls and are “as near to God as men are”.