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How To Deal With Depression After Losing A Pet

Talking To Children About The Death Of A Pet

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Moses believes it is often an appropriateand even positiveexperience for children to be present when a pet is euthanized. If you are honest and straightforward, they handle it pretty wellif they are at an age to understand why it is happening and wont worry that it might happen to a person, she says.

Pich agrees that it is important to be as honest as possible with children. Do not use the term put to sleep with children under 8, as they may associate this with their bedtime and not want to go to sleep, she advises. If kids are old enough to have a bond with the pet, they are old enough to hear about the loss, she says.

Whether the pet was euthanized or died naturally, Pich advises parents to avoid telling children the pet ran away or went to a farm to spare their feelings. These white lies may cause children to spend years looking for their pet rather than being allowed to grieve the loss, she says. Also, it can be good for children to see their parents grieve so they learn that being sad over a loss and expressing those feelings is normal, she adds.

How Is A Pet Put To Sleep

The most common method of putting a pet to sleep is through an overdose of an anesthetic agent. This drug is injected into the vein of an animal and the pet falls out of consciousness, is unable to feel anything, and its heart, lungs, and brain stop functioning. Usually pets are also sedated prior to this injection to relax them and help them hold still. Sedation may be administered in the muscle or the vein. Owners are often given the option to be with their pet during this procedure but they do not have to be. Other than the poke of the needle, this procedure is considered painless.

Sometimes a pet is already under anesthesia and the option to put a pet to sleep arises due to complications or untreatable conditions. The same type of injection is delivered in a pet that is already anesthetized so that the pet feels nothing.

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Coping With The Loss Of Your Pet

The death of a pet is very upsetting. Take time to talk things over with supportive friends and family members. Your emotions are not your enemy. Try not to feel ashamed or embarrassed of them. Tears are part of the healing process for a lot of people, although its perfectly normal to express your emotions in other ways too.

Its important to remember that grief can fade with time and there are techniques which can help you come to terms with your loss. Everyone deals will grief differently and there is no right or wrong way. Gradually, it will get easier, even if it seems like youre taking a long time to come to terms with the passing of your pet.

What Are The Stages Of Grief After Losing A Pet

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Losing a pet is a challenging and overwhelming time. Many of us are surprised by the sheer weight of our emotional experiences after our beloved pet passes on. The stages of grief after losing a pet look different for each of us, but we can help each other along our healing journeys all the same.

If you have ever cared for a pet, you know how incredibly deep the relationship between pet and pet parent can grow. It seems that from the moment these adorable animal companions come into our hearts, they become a part of our families.

In fact, it can be hard to remember a time before we had our faithful four-footed companions to care for, share our lives with, and love. Whether you are a dog person, cat person, or had the worlds most incredible rabbit, the simple truth is that our pets mean the world to us.

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Finally Adopt A Pet In Need

Your pet was one of a kind and can never be replaced. However, just because the loss of your pet was painful, doesnt mean should never adopt another pet again.

In fact, after speaking with many people who have lost a pet, they commented that one of the best ways to help move on was to honor the lost pets memory by adopting a new pet in need.

The truth is, there are millions of homeless cats and dogs that will be put down this year simply because they cant find a home.

When the healing is done, adopting another from a homeless shelter may be a winning situation for all.

Surround Yourself With Supportive Friends/family

A second tip to help combat your depression is surrounding yourself with positive minded empathetic and compassionate family and friends. Surrounding yourself with people who can listen and empathise with you is important. You need to feel like you have a safe space to vent, to cry or even yell without judgement. Some of the best support I received came from close friends and family members that actually met or heard me talk about my pet and/or own a pet themselves. They have a personal connection to you and through your stories they recognise the love shared between you and your pet.

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How To Grieve A Pet

As with grieving a loved one, dealing with the loss of a pet takes time. Heres what to keep in mind:

Realize your grief is valid

Dr. Sullivan says being an emotional wreck after a pet dies is completely OK.There have been times when patients have been in my office absolutely more devastated by the loss of their pet, or by having to make the decision to euthanize a pet, than about anything Ive ever seen them upset about, she notes.

This extreme reaction to loss goes back to the idea that pets are part of our family. They may be the most important thing to a person, honestly, says Dr. Sullivan. We have to have to normalize that this grief is real.

Recognize that grief looks different for everyone

Experts often explain grief using the Kübler-Ross model, which outlines five different phases you go through: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

Still, your journey through these phases can be different, even from one day to the next. Theres no consistent way that you approach grief, denial, anger, bargaining, or any of those phases, Dr. Sullivan explains. Each person moves through these stages at their own unique time and in their own unique way, and they can go back and forth. Its not a linear phase.

Whats important is that we recognize that people are experiencing these feelings, and we support them and guide them in each of these different domains of emotion, she adds.

Create physical memorials

Join a support group

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Resources:

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Allow Yourself To Grieve

Grief is tough to handle. It may seem like the best way to cope is to try and resist it, ignore it, or allow yourself to just shut-down completely. However, repressing and ignoring the event will lead to even more painful feelings in the future.

Its best to allow yourself to go through the five stages of grief which are denial, anger, depression, bargaining, and acceptance. Despite what other people may tell you, feeling shocked and sad is perfectly acceptable and normal feelings after the loss of a beloved pet.

Stages Of Grief After Losing A Pet Explained

If the loss is recent, you may be experiencing feelings and emotions that are foreign to you – things you’ve never felt before. Consider the several stages of grief that you may or may not be currently experiencing.

These six stages: shock, anger, denial, guilt, depression, and resolution dont always manifest in every situation. The way we grieve is different for everyone, and these stages don’t necessarily happen in any particular order.

One thing you may consider is allowing the natural grieving process to take place in any order that it may come. When you suppress your feelings and emotions, any unresolved grief may reappear weeks, months, or even years later. If youre curious to know more or seeking more guidance on your grief, weve detailed some of the stages and subsequent feelings that may happen.

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Give Them Calming Relief

Morgan recommends trying essential oils and flower essences that are formulated for pets to help calm them so they can cope with loss. Natures Miracle Just For Cats Calming Spray uses herbal, flower and plant seed extracts plus essential oils to help soothe cat depression. NaturVet Quiet Moments Calming Aid Dog Soft Chews and Vets Best Comfort Calm Soft Chews have chamomile and L-tryptophan, ingredients that Thomas says can help ease anxiety. You might also find dog depression relief with the comforting design of a ThunderShirt, which can provide calming comfort in many situations.

Getting Another Dog Or Cat After Pet Loss

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There are many wonderful reasons to once again , but the decision of when to do so is a very personal one. It may be tempting to rush out and fill the void left by your pets death by immediately getting another pet. In most cases, its best to mourn the old pet first, and wait until youre emotionally ready to open your heart and your home to a new animal. You may want to start by volunteering at a shelter or rescue group. Spending time caring for pets in need is not only great for the animals, but can help you decide if youre ready to own a new pet.

Some retired seniors living alone may find it hardest to adjust to life without a pet. If taking care of an animal provided you with a sense of purpose and self-worth as well as companionship, you may want to consider getting another pet at an earlier stage. Of course, seniors also need to consider their own health and life expectancy when deciding on a new pet. Again, volunteering to help pets in need can be a good way to decide if youre ready to become a pet owner again.

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How To Help Your Surviving Pet Heal After They Lose Their Buddy

Posted June 24, 2014

Toby, my Border Collie/Weimeraner/Jindo/Other Various Breeds mix, died on Thursday. He was almost 14. He had a good long life, and it was his time to go. Lucy, 11 years old, is now The Dog of the House. Lucy knew Toby since she was 6 months old. She was a rescue, as was Toby. It seemed like Lucy equated living the “good life” with Toby. Before Toby, she was living on the streets. After she met Toby, she was fed and walked every day. She followed him around like a shadow. She modeled her behavior from him. So when Toby died, I naturally was concerned about Lucy.

Here are some tips that are helping us with her reaction to Toby’s death:

1. Ignore unwanted behavior and reinforce positive behavior.

Yesterday Lucy stood at the door and cried a little. It broke my heart, but I didn’t say anything to her or approach her. If you comfort a dog when they are having unwanted behaviors, you may be reinforcing that behavior. If I continually comforted her when she cried at the door, it may have continued or even increased. Instead, I comfort her at other times, like when she is quiet and lying on her bed.

2. Keep your routine as similar as possible.

I still give Lucy the same treats every morning, and she wants to still walk the same route as we did when Toby was alive. We also keep the same time schedule – up at 7, food at 7:30. She likes routine, and it is important that I keep her schedule the same as when Toby was alive. It is enough change as it is!

Finding Ways To Cope With Pet Loss

Talking to others who understand the loss and are supportive and patient can help, says Pich. Journaling, yoga, meditation, art projects, or travel may also be beneficial. The most important thing is to be patient with themselves and to make choices that are kind to themselves, she advises.

Sometimes the loss of a pet can result in complicated grief, or intense and lingering feelings of sadness that interfere with daily life. This type of grief can manifest after the deaths of loved ones occur in close succession, when a new loss reminds a person of an older one, or when caregiver demands complicate the death, she says.

Pet loss support groups, where people talk with others who understand their pain, can help normalize the grief process, Pich says. Individual or family counseling also may be needed. Pet grief support hotlines can connect callers with a compassionate listener. Dont be afraid to ask for help, she stresses.

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The Importance Of The Pet

Pets play a major role in our lives. âYou might not realize it, but pets bring numerous health benefits to their owners. These benefits include:

Lowering stress levels. A pet provides companionship and helps you to reduce stress levels by keeping you engaged in caring.

Fighting off depression. Pets help ease depression and long-term mental health issues by bringing a sense of purpose and meaning to our lives.

Dealing with social isolation and loneliness. When you have a pet, itâs normal to develop a routine around them. This routine provides you with emotional and social support, especially on days when you feel alone and isolated.

Giving you a sense of ownership. Pets have a way of making you feel needed and that you matter because they require you to be there and take care of them.

Increasing your level of physical activity. Exercise is a critical part of your mental health. The more you walk your pet or play with them, the more it improves your physical wellbeing.

Acceptance Of The Loss Of Your Cat

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It may take some time, but acceptance is a must for anyone who has lost a loved one. If your cat has died, you will inevitably need to adjust to life without them. How you do this may vary from someone else but you must find a way to accept it. You will always miss your cat, but once you accept that they are gone it will slowly get easier to continue on with your life without your cat.

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Dog In Mourning: Helping Our Pets Cope With Loss

A heart-tugging image of a brown Labrador retriever named Hawkeye lying beside the American flag-draped casket of his human companion, Navy SEAL Jon Tumilson, went viral on the internet within hours. Pet lovers were moved by the symbol of loyalty shown by the dog who would not leave his best friends side. For many Americans, the image also served as a reminder of the lives that were lost on 9/11 and of those who are still serving in Afghanistan. For others, the depiction of a seemingly depressed and heart-broken dog represented the possibility that theres more to our pets psychology than has ever been identified.

If dogs are capable of grieving, then how can we, as pet lovers, help them deal with their pain? How can we heal them after the loss a loved one?

Signs your dog is mourningJust like with humans, no two dogs are alike and neither are their responses to death and loss. Some may show signs of physical sadness, while others may display symptoms of negative behavior, and some may not show any sign of emotional suffering at all.

A dog that experiences any kind of major change, such as the introduction of a new child or a move of residence, can show signs of depression, says Dr. Christopher Pachel, a Board Certified Veterinary Behaviorist. When an extremely, socially bonded dog loses a member of the family, whether its another dog in the household or a human companion, the physical signs of depression can show up at greater heights and lengths.

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