Grieving the death of a companion animal can be just as traumatic, if not more so, than grieving the death of a family member or friend. There are immediate steps to take once your pet dies and crucial self-care practices that can help you manage your grief.

Grieving is a highly individualistic, highly personalized experience that is impacted by social groups and culture. You might experience the sadness of losing your pet in a very different way than even a close relative who lives in the same home.

The seven steps listed below might offer some healing during a very trying and emotionally stressful time. Our sorrow manifests the love we have for our pets, the agony of their passing, and the process of restructuring our lives to accommodate their absence. 

The following list is not in any specific order of significance, and everyone must process grief within their own timelines.

Set aside some time to grieve and express your feelings in your way.

Our lives these days are extremely busy, with 20 items on the “to-do” list and only five things that can be completed in a day. People are moving very swiftly, and there is a nonstop distraction. Grieving people may become frustrated that life hasn’t slowed down because of the unpleasant emotions they are going through on the inside. You require time to process your feelings fully and grieve.

In the beginning and at regular intervals throughout your grieving process, give yourself permission to feel, experience, and let out the feelings you are feeling. If you don’t, you can end up stifling your emotions, which may lead to worse pain in the days to come. 

Think about the relationship you have had with your special pet.

Active reflection can be challenging even without prior experience of the agony of loss. Spend some time writing, telling stories, or engaging in whatever comforting form of expression as you reflect. You can begin a memory journey and consider the life you shared. It can be tempting to want to quickly write down the pain of bereavement, especially at first. 

However, focus on the pleasant memories that were shared when you allow yourself to reflect intentionally in this manner. This enables your body to feel different and aids in the transition from pain to appreciation for the time you spent together over time. Be careful not to misuse this technique to avoid feeling pain; both are essential for the grieving process.

Make sure you keep taking care of your essential needs. 

The total loss of appetite is one of the most common problems during the acute stage, also known as the immediate stage of sorrow. Because our minds may be processing the experience rapidly when we sleep, it is also frequently interrupted. 

This is also influenced by guilt. As much as you can, try to keep eating. Additionally, make an effort to load up on healthy foods. Grieving requires a lot of effort and can be physically draining. Fill up on nutrients to aid with bodily function. Try to keep a regular sleep schedule, go to bed regularly, and pay attention to your preferred relaxing technique while doing so.

Choose a calming strategy, and use it often.

The fact that the outer world doesn’t slow down can be excruciatingly unpleasant and uncomfortable, as we’ve already mentioned. We rarely get days off from work to mourn the loss of our pets, and even then, our employers are only required by law to give us three days off for the deaths of members of our immediate human family.

We can minimize our fears that could rise during social obligations while we are still grieving by choosing a soothing activity like meditation, mindful breathing and eating, or letting go of our body tension.

Try your best to maintain routines with your living animals.

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Animals prefer structure and habits. Your living pets are mourning the passing and loss of your pet and their companion at the same time that you are. Grieving dogs may look for a missing pack member. Cats may withdraw or spend long periods alone, altering their behavior as they go through the same thing as you.

Horses may whiny and run along the fence line while waiting for their partner to call them back. Try to keep feeding and walking schedules to avoid interfering with either their process or your own. Even though the first few times can be uncomfortable, routines give us a feeling of structure and familiarity, and these acute triggers can lessen over time.

​Commemorate your pet’s memories and love.

One of the most critical steps in overcoming grief is to say “see you later” to the people we care about. Sometimes, we don’t get to say “goodbye” to our pets before they pass away. Some people may experience a hole in their hearts due to not receiving any closure during this process. A nice way to find closure after losing a cherished pet is to create a memorial in their honor.

Some people prefer to send a letter, others hold funerals and services, while still others make shadow boxes out of their dog or cat tags, collars, and paw prints. Some people decide to spend some time at a place that holds special meaning for them or a memory of their pet. 

At Rainbow Bridge Pet Memorials, our custom-engraved pet memorial stone is the perfect way to honor or remember a dog or cat. These natural stone slabs with an optional fully personalized inscription can be used as a gravestone, memorial marker, headstone, or cemetery monument and are made from the highest quality materials. Add your pet’s name to our memorial stone or engrave it with a photo. This is a great way to remember a beloved pet when they are no longer by your side.

There is no wrong way to remember the wonderful events and lives that were shared.

Don’t be afraid to seek help from sympathetic friends or family members.

Grief is a very unique emotion, but we grieve in groups. Even entire communities are capable of grieving in their own ways. Knowing when you require support while you go through your grief is critical. Such assistance could take the form of calling a sympathetic friend, taking your first stroll after the death of your pet or simply going out for coffee.

It might also take the form of requesting assistance from a helping professional to cope with the sorrow and anxiety caused by losing your pet. In addition, numerous online forums and social media communities provide a secure setting for grieving individuals to share their memories of their cherished pets and express their grief.

Create a lasting tribute for your pet by getting them a custom pet memorial stone from Rainbow Bridge Pet Memorial Stones. Visit our website to order your custom pet memorial stone today.