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How To Overcome Pet Loss Anxiety

The death of a pet is as similar to the death of a close friend, relative or family member, may cause you anxiety. Most pet owners live with their animals as they do with their family members. Their pets have a favorite place on the table, couches, and even beds. So when they lose them because of an accident, terminal illness, or any other cause, they may become very depressed.

A study by PudMed central indicates that about 30% of bereaved pet owners suffer from severe grief when they lose their pets in North America. In Japan, however, 56.1% of bereaved owners experienced symptoms related to those who could suffer when they lost a spouse. Because the death of a pet is bound to happen, you may have to suffer grief for the loss. This article gives you ways to overcome the anxiety you may face after losing your pet.

1. Express Your Grief

In a very busy world, you may feel angry that life isn’t slowing down to allow you to fully express your emotions. It’s vital to prioritize your time to grieve your pet. Don’t also be afraid to allow yourself to grieve before your friends or relatives. Sometimes Its fine to cry, be angry, or even laugh when you think about the good memories you had with your pet.

It’s not easy to accept the reality of your pet’s loss. It may take weeks, months, or years. Therefore, setting aside time and releasing your emotions at regular intervals may help to ease the pain. However, trying to suppress or pretending that your grief doesn’t exist may only make the pain worse.

Part of your healing process will also depend on whether or not you forgive yourself. If you were unavailable for your pet or blaming yourself for its death, it’s time to forgive yourself. Accept that you couldn’t be around it all the time, and even if you were, it was still bound to die.

2. Reach Out To Others

How To Overcome Pet Loss Anxiety

Connecting with family members, friends, relatives, or other people who’ve lost pets can quickly help you get over anxiety. Although grieving may be an individualistic experience, when done communally, it can be therapeutic. It’s vital to seek support from those who understand you. You could go for a walk, have a coffee or talk over the phone with a family member or friend.

Apart from that, you may seek a doctor or therapist’s professional services to help you through your pain and loss. Social media platforms and websites that offer support for those who’ve lost their pets are also areas you can look up to share the memories of your pet and express your pain. So, don’t fear reaching out to others.

3. If You Have Other Pets, Maintain Their Routine

How To Overcome Pet Loss Anxiety

Pets also grieve when they lose their companion. Dogs may walk around the house trying to find their pack member; horses may run along the fence line as they whine trying to get a call from their mate, and cats may want to spend time alone. Apart from that, your animals may become sluggish, lose interest in daily activities, and experience a decreased appetite.

Pet life is important, and you should help them to survive and cope with the loss of their companion. Maintain the feeding schedules, walking routine, and playtimes to help boost its mood. Although doing this in a normal way in the first few days after the loss may be difficult, with time, those routine practices will enable them to gain familiarity and subsequently reduce anxiety triggers. This will also help you to forget about the pain as you focus on the remaining companions.

4. Memorialize Your Pet

Though some people consider it weird to hold a funeral service for a pet, honoring its memory could help you and your family overcome anxiety. Memorializing your pet could be a good way of getting that closure.

You can do this by; holding a funeral service, creating a shadow box with your pet’s tag on it, writing a letter, or spending some time thinking about your pet’s favorite memories. You can find several ways to memorialize the exciting experiences you had with your pet. Thinking about those memories can help you eventually overcome your anxiety.

If you have children, include them, at their free will, in the memorial. Let them say a few words about it. That way, you’ll also help them to overcome their grief.

5. Find A New Meaning in Life

When your pet dies, you may question the purpose of having an animal in your life. That may be due to the devotion you had in caring for your pet. To avoid yourself from overthinking about your pet, which may increase your anxiety, do something else. Explore your hobby, volunteer to assist homeless shelters, take a class, or go out with friends. Filling your life with a new purpose may give it meaning as you plan to get another pet.

The Bottom Line

The death of your loved pet can trigger anxiety. With anxiety, you may not be able to perform your regular duties as expected. It’s, therefore, essential to know how to overcome the anxiety that comes with pet loss. That way, you’ll be able to focus and move on with life as normal.

References

1. American Veterinary Medical Association – Coping with the loss of a pet
2. Healthline – How to Cope with the Loss of a Beloved Pet
3. The Humane Society – Coping with the death of your pet

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