Coping with the Loss of a Pet

For many people, losing a cat or dog is like losing a member of the family. The pet that you’ve loved, cared for and worried about is suddenly gone. It’s not atypical for people to experience grief and a profound sense of loss when a dog or cat dies. Because it’s not something that most like to think about, many people don’t understand the options that they have when their pet crosses the rainbow bridge.

Coping with the Loss of a Pet

Your Pet Crosses the Rainbow Bridge

  • Pet Cemetery
    Many communities have pet cemeteries where animals can be buried and visited. Costs vary among region and depend on the size of your cat or dog. Cemeteries for pets can bring a sense of comfort to owners. Knowing that you can visit your pet’s grave site can help to ease your grief after you’ve experienced a pet loss.
  • Cremation
    Veterinarians typically offer two types of cremation: common and private. With common cremation, your pet is cremated along with the remains of other pets that have recently passed away. Should you choose private cremation, your pet will be cremated by itself, and you will receive your pet’s ashes. There are a variety of beautiful pet urns that can contain your pet’s ashes safely and securely. Cremation can be covered by some carriers.
  • Home Burial
    Thousands of pet owners across the country choose to bury their pets on their own property. Before you choose this option, be sure that the practice is not illegal where you live. Many cities outlaw or restrict the burying of animals in the yard. Those who live outside of the city limits aren’t as restricted. If you decide to bury your pet at home, planting a tree or flowering shrub at the site can be cathartic for the family.
  • Grief Counseling
    People often go through stages of grief after the loss of a pet. If you find that your grief lingers or that you slip into a depression, grief counseling may be in order. You should never be embarrassed about seeking help; grief after the loss of a pet is a very real and painful thing. If you have children, pay attention to how they react to the loss of their beloved cat or dog. You may need to seek counseling for your little ones in order to give them the tools they need to handle their grief.

The loss of a pet can be traumatic to the entire family. What you do with your pet’s remains is a personal choice and one that should be made with a great deal of thought. For some people, having ashes on the mantle is comforting. For others, having an animal buried is more calming. No matter what you decide to do, know that there is counseling available to help you get past your loss.

Now you understand the options that you have when your pet crosses the rainbow bridge, it is also good to know that it is possible to open a pet trust in case something happens to you. A pet trust can provide for your pet immediately and can apply if the pet owner dies, becomes ill or incapacitated. By creating a trust for your pet, you set money aside to be used for his care, like veterinary bills, grooming and food.

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