Losing A Pet: Stages Of Grief

Losing a pet is difficult and devastating. It feels like losing a family or close friend. However, it’s rare for pet owners experiencing loss to talk about it with friends and family. That’s because not everyone can understand. Some people will judge and tell grieving pet owners to move on because pets are just animals. 

For pet owners who are grieving, this is more heartbreaking and hard to hear. Just know that you’re not alone. And it takes time to deal with the loss and heal your broken heart. Here’s everything you know about the stages of a lost pet and everything about grieving.

The Stages Of Grieving The Loss Of A Pet

Pets are always excited to see you. Once the door opens, they’ll welcome you home and greet you with love. They’re very loyal and affectionate. That’s why, it’s very easy to get attached, fall in love, form a bond, and treat them as family members. That’s why it’s devastating to lose them.

However, people who don’t have any pets or experience the loss of a beloved pet won’t understand the pain and the feeling. Some people commission a custom pet portrait and hang it on their walls to remember their pets. Don’t let them dictate what to feel, how to move on, and how long it should take. Remember, there’s no definite way and timeless for grieving. Every person’s grieving is different. 

That being said, here are the stages of loss and how to support yourself in each stage.


When you first hear the news of your pet passing, the first thing you feel is shock. The news will be unexpected, especially if the cause of death is an accident or sudden.

During this stage, it’s best to be kind to yourself. Give yourself time to absorb the news. Let it sink in. It might take days or weeks to get over the shock and comprehend what’s happening. Some family members might avoid talking about it because of shock. Give each other some time and don’t force each other. Remember, respect each other’s grieving process. Some people will need more time to get over the shock.


Denial is when you tell yourself, everything is okay or will be fine. Some people even get a new pet to cover up the pain of losing a beloved pet. This will not fix and fill the emptiness you’re feeling. Getting a new pet as soon as you lose one is just a band-aid solution. 

All pet owners know that no other animal or new pet will be able to fill the void a dead pet left behind. 


As you get over the shock and comprehend what happened to your pet, you might feel angry and think it’s unfair that this happened to you and your family. Like becoming angry with the car driver who hit your dog or the disease which cut the life of your cat short.  Pet owners can also focus their anger on other people who were supposed to look after their dogs and cats. Some pet owners can also feel angry with themselves, for not being there to protect their pets.

It’s understandable to feel pain and anger.  But you must be careful when venting your anger. This can lead to a quarrel and hurt other people. 


After the anger, the bargaining will start to kick in. Bargaining sometimes includes a sense of guilt about the things the pet owner wasn’t able to do with or for their pet, like being there in their last moments or being able to do anything for them. 

Due to their confusion, pain, and heartbreak, pet owners will start bargaining and wishing. For example, “I’d do anything for one more belly rub”, “if only I can see him smile again”, “I’d I have one more day, I’ll let you lick my face this time”, etc. 

As the pet owner accepts they can’t see their pets again, they will come to accept the reality of their pet’s death.


This is the most difficult and painful stage of grieving. It’s best to open up and talk about the loss of your pet. Don’t bottle everything up. If you can’t talk to your family and friends about what you’re feeling, you can reach out to fellow pet owners or seek professional help. 

Many people tend to shut down and be closed off when grieving. Some will feel like they’re alone. Know that you’re not alone and there are people who are willing to listen and help you out.


Acceptance doesn’t mean you’re forgetting all memories and time you spent with your beloved pet. This means accepting all the memories you’ve made together, facing their death, and living with it. Forgive yourself. Embrace the changes. Your routine might be going back to normal at this stage. 

Everyone Grieves Differently

Grief has no definite timeline. Each person has their own grieving process. Some people process grief quicker than others. It’s best to be respectful when someone you know is grieving the loss of a pet. You can also give a custom pet portrait from Memorialize Art with their favorite photo of their deceased pet to them to show your support. You might be able to do or give much, but your love and support will mean the world to them.