The loss of a pet can be a very sad and heartbreaking time. There are many emotional and behavioral responses that can result from this loss, and these are all normal reactions. Some of these symptoms include:
- Obsessive thinking
- Loss of appetite
- Inability to sleep
- Inability to concentrate
- Isolating from others
One of the most common feelings that pet owners may experience after the loss of an animal is guilt. This may be made worse if the pet had to be euthanized, as this is an incredibly difficult decision to make. Questions about whether it was the right time, or if anything else could have been done are common. People often agonize over this decision. Please know that if you needed to make this decision, it was the right one. Your vet would have discussed this with you and considered all of the options – euthanasia if often the most humane and painless course of action for your pet.
Each person will grieve in his or her own way, as this is a very personal and individual process. While some people may seem to recover relatively quickly, others may continue to grieve for some time. It is important to understand that whatever feelings you are experiencing after the loss of a pet are normal. As time passes, you will begin to feel better. It is important to allow yourself the time to grieve and heal, as the relationship that you had with your pet was unique and personal. If your distress continues on long term or you are not coping well, you may want to consider seeking professional help.