Psychological Effects of Losing a Pet
September 21, 2020 by Lost Found Rewards in Blog

Psychological Effects of Losing a Pet

What Losing a Pet Can Do to Your Mental Health

Losing a pet is usually a devastating and deeply painful experience. It is not recognized in society how traumatic it is to lose a pet and how much it can impact physical and emotional health. The period of grief from losing a pet can be from one month to a year, and some people even take longer than that.

Even if the grief of losing a pet might be intense and sometimes lengthy than if an important person passes, the process of mourning is not the same. For instance, not everyone asks for time off if their beloved pet dies because people might think it is exaggerated or overly sentimental and weak.

The truth is, losing a pet can be very distressing and devastating that some people are traumatized by it. If you have a pet who is very dear to you, here are the psychological effects of losing a pet.


You Feel Guilty

If you are going to decide to have your pet euthanized, you might feel guilty afterwards. You spared them from more pain and suffering, but there is still guilt that comes with the decision you made to end their life. You can be stuck wondering if there is something you could have done differently to prevent their health condition or improve their life. Remember to always seek a veterinarian’s opinion on the matter.



When you are hurt by the loss of your pet, you will normally respond by looking for the person or object that causes the hurt. Pain is often perceived as something that is externally inflicted instead of something that naturally occurs.

Focusing your anger on something to target your blame distracts you. People can only focus strongly on a single emotion at one time. Therefore, if you focus your energy on anger, you will barely feel the pain. You may find it satisfying to tell off the person you are blaming. However, acknowledging your pain is an important part of grieving.


It Can Disrupt Routines

When you lose a pet, it can disrupt your routine. Cats, dogs, and other pets give companionship, reduce your depression, loneliness, and ease anxiety. These pets provide you with emotional well-being and give your life meaning. That is why, aside from being emotionally hurt, you can feel aimless in the following days and weeks after losing your pet.



When you say that you will terribly miss your pet, you are not giving your sadness justice. Your heart will feel a physical pressure on it, and accepting the fact that you will never see them again is difficult. Every toy, feather, or stray in the house will make you remember them. Your friends and family might also ask about your pet and remind you of the sadness when you tell them that your pet has died. If you choose to have your pet cremated, receiving the ashes can also give you sadness.



Similar to anger, denial is another way of diverting your mind from the pain you feel. Denial is not as much of a distraction, but it is a way of ignoring reality, hoping that if you do not think of the pain, it will disappear. Unfortunately, it hardly works and most likely pain waits until you allow your defence mechanism to slip, and then it comes out when you can already cope with it.

Those who lose pets usually practice a similar kind of denial like when their pet is terminally ill, they will say their pet is fine when someone asks them about their pet. This is a way for the pet owner to avoid the mental anguish that comes with the anguish that there is no way of escaping death.



This is like quicksand, and this reaction is natural because of the nature of the loss you experienced. However, if you feel that depression is taking too much hold of you and it disrupts your everyday life, you must make an effort to get out of it. Accomplishing this alone is not easy, and if you can ask help from your friend or relative, do so. You must do this before it turns into a trap. Even if not everyone understands what is causing your grief, inform them that you still need their help and support.



You can feel relieved that your pet does not feel pain anymore. If your pet’s health was declining and it needed extra care, you might have been relieved that you do not have to deal with the financial burdens and responsibilities anymore.

Psychological Effects of Losing a Pet



Pets bring so much laughter, smiles, joy, snuggles, and they are a great source of comfort when times are rough. When you analyze the loss you feel, you will most likely feel a lot of gratitude for the times you spent with your pet.

You can move on with the support of loved ones around you who understand the importance of your pet to you and how much they were a part of your life. Keep in mind that it is normal to have the feelings you are going through, and you should not see it as being weak or exaggerated. If you have a lost and found pet, you can contact Lost Found Rewards.