How to Grieve the Loss of Your Pet

faimly with dog

How lucky we are to have known someone so hard to say goodbye to.

Saying goodbye to a pet is never easy, even when it’s the right time. Longing to see, cuddle, and talk to your furry pal again is a natural part of the grieving process. It’s important to allow yourself time to mourn. There’s no shame in feeling sad over losing an animal. After all, your pet was there for you every day, unconditionally.

Everyone copes with loss differently. Many pet parents find it’s helpful to talk with others in a pet loss support group. If you feel up to it, reach out to a group. You can find in-person ones as well as online pet loss support groups. We also have a few recommendations for books and resources that may help you heal. 

Online Pet Loss Support Group

Hospice of the Valley hosts virtual groups for pet loss. They have drop-in meetings the first Saturday of each month from 9 to 11 a.m. Please call 602-636-5390 for more information.

Online Pet Grief Forums & Chats

Rainbow Bridge Grief Support Center offers a pet loss forum and a chat room to talk with other pet parents who are grieving.

Grief Healing Loss of a Pet Forum provides a safe place to share feelings and memories with fellow pet parents.

Pet Loss Support Hotlines

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine: Volunteer veterinary students with grief training answer the phone from 12 to 3 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Call 607-218-7457.

Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine: The hotline is staffed from 6 to 9 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Monday through Thursday. But you can leave a voicemail 24 hours a day and they’ll return your call. Reach them at 508-839-7966.

Books about Pet Loss

General Pet Loss Information

International Cemetery, Cremation & Funeral Association has pet loss resources that provide information on how to prepare for your pet’s passing, your options for final arrangements, and helping children deal with their grief.

Daily Paws is a pet publication that has numerous pet loss and dealing with grief articles, like “13 Things to Do When Your Dog Dies to Help You Through the Transition.”

The Humane Society of the United States offers tips for “Coping With the Death of Your Pet,” including how to help your other pets through the transition and when to get another pet.

The American Veterinary Medical Association’s “Coping With the Loss of a Pet” has tips for processing through your grief.