According to the CVMA, children may need extra care after the death of a pet as they make their way through the grieving process. Families also should pay attention to reactions of other animals in the household. Pets form very close attachments with each other and will grieve by showing signs of restlessness, anxiety and depression.
Veterinarians offer these tips on how to help children, surviving animals and pet owners work through their loss:
-- Give the child permission to go through the stages of grief
-- Tell their teacher about the pet's death
-- Encourage the child to talk freely about the pet
-- Give the child hugs and reassurance
-- Discuss death, dying and grief honestly
-- Include the child in everything going on
-- Explain the permanency of death
-- Keep surviving pets' routines as normal as possible
-- Try not to unintentionally reinforce behavioral changes
-- If the pet's appetite is picky, don't keep changing its food, which
will make it more finicky
-- Don't overcompensate for the loss with extra attention to the surviving
pet, which could lead to separation anxiety
-- Don't rush out and get a new pet to help with the grieving process --
wait until the pet and the family is ready
-- Give yourself permission to grieve
-- Memorialize your pet
-- Surround yourself with people who understand your loss
-- Accept feelings that come with grief
-- Indulge yourself in small pleasures.
-- Don't be afraid to get help
-- Call your veterinarian for advice
Despite the universality of death, there is no right or wrong way to recover from a pet dying. By relying on family, friends and your veterinarian, the grieving process can unfold in a manner that works best for you.
The California Veterinary Medical As
|SOURCE California Veterinary Medical Association|
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