How Long Does Grief Last After Losing a pet?

Courtesy of The Plaid Horse Magazine | Written by Dani Schneider | Originally Posted November 2020 | Posted 03.21.2021

Pet loss is probably one of the hardest things an owner has to go through. One day you are happily looking for an underground dog fence so that your animal companion doesn’t have to be restricted by walls or real fences, and the next day they are no longer with you, leaving behind the grieving owners. As hard as it is to process, death is part of a natural order of things. Everyone will experience death in their life, be it of a family member, friend, neighbor, or pet.

Once your pet is no longer with you, you might feel like your whole world is falling apart – especially if your beloved pet played a huge part in your life. One of the common questions people ask themselves in those times is, ‘How long till the pain goes away?’

Saying goodbye is never easy, but we want to help you with it at least a little bit. So, if you wish to find out more about how long does the grief last after losing a pet, and how to deal with the pain, all you have to do is keep reading.

How Long Does the Grief Last After the Passing of Your Pet?

The truth is that grief is a very individual matter – every person might go through it differently, which is why it’s impossible to say how long it takes to get over it. For some people, it only takes a few days, for some, it lasts for months, and for some, the grief accompanies them for as long as a few years after their pet’s passing.

There are a lot of factors that influence how we are responding to the loss and the level of grief we feel – those include our age, personality, the age of the pet that passed, and the circumstances in which they passed. The more important your pet to you, the more you will probably hurt after losing it.

With emotions all over the place, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and let the grief consume you. While it might take some time before the pain goes away, there are some healthy ways in which you can cope with it.

How Can You Cope with the Pain After Losing a Pet?

Being sad, shocked or lonely are natural responses when we experience death in our lives. Everyone is dealing with loss at a different pace and in a different manner, which is why you shouldn’t let anyone tell you how to feel. The same goes for you – don’t tell anyone how they should deal with their grief. It’s okay to cry, laugh, be angry – just don’t bottle up your emotions. It will do no good.

If you don’t want to go through this on your own, consider reaching out to people who have lost their pets as well. There are many pet loss support groups on the internet, as well as a pet loss hotline. Sometimes your friends and family might not be as affected by your pet’s death because they weren’t as close to it as you were. So if those around you don’t understand what you are going through, find someone you will. Talking about it with someone who has experienced the same thing might help you better understand how to deal with the loss of a pet.

Instead of focusing on the pain, try to focus on all the good memories you made with your pet – create a legacy. Some of the common things pet owners do after the passing of their animal companion are creating a scrapbook, preparing a memorial, or planting a tree in their memory. While it won’t bring them back, it’s good to have a place you can go to when you are missing them or something that helps you look back at all the good times you had with them.

If you feel like all of this is getting too much, and neither your loved ones nor people with the same experience are helping in making the pain go away, you should seriously consider getting professional help. Sometimes, the loss of a pet is having such a significant effect on a person that it leads them into depression.

The Bottom Line

Losing a pet, especially the one that was with you since the day you were born, is, without a doubt, a hard thing to get over. How long it will take is solely personal – there’s no right answer, as everyone goes through differently. The important thing is not to let the grief consume you, or hide your emotions – talk to someone, be it a family member or a stranger.

While in the beginning, it will be difficult, remember that every cloud has silver lighting. Consider taking another pet – they will help you get over your loss, and you will provide them with a loving home, where they can happily spend the rest of their lives and have a family. Think about it.

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