Your pet is like a member of your family. They’re by your side through thick and thin, bringing you comfort and amusement. Losing your four-legged friend can be extremely difficult for the whole family, kids and adults alike. According to Harvard, research even suggests that a pet’s death can have harmful repercussions for a child’s mental health. Understanding how to properly mourn your pet will allow you to grieve in a healthy way and move on. This guide provides some pointers to help you get started.

Pay a fitting tribute to your pet with their end-of-life service

You want to commemorate the life your four-legged friend lived in a meaningful way. Holding a burial or cremation service is a great way to start. A service provider like Two Hearts Pet Loss Center can also help by providing resources to guide you through the grief process. Through this supportive online space, you can also share a memorial of your pet. Paying tribute to what made your animal pal unique can be a cathartic experience, and you can keep your memorial tribute for years to come.

Create keepsakes to help keep your pet’s memory alive

A written tribute to your pet is just one of the many types of keepsakes you might create to commemorate their passing. Another option is to create a custom pet portrait. If you have an old photo of your animal that you love, consider having it professionally enlarged and framed. You could also carry a reminder of them with you wherever you go by keeping their old ID tag on your keychain. Another option is to have their paw professionally cast in a piece of plaster. Some pet cremation studios will do this for you.

Cleanse your home to create a healthy space for grieving

When you’ve been grieving, your home is full of negative energy. It’s important to cleanse your space of these vibes so you can move forward. Start by giving your home a deep clean. Clear out clutter, rearrange your closets, and try implementing feng shui principles. You can also set aside a corner of your home for meditation, yoga, or a similarly relaxing activity that soothes your body and mind. Make the space as serene as possible by decorating it with plants, scented candles, and fluffy blankets and pillows.

Give yourself and your family time to talk

Mourning requires talking. Consistent communication will help you work through the various stages of grief, from anger to denial and, finally, acceptance. Invite your family and friends to share memories of your pet. When it comes to kids, make it clear that they can safely communicate their feelings to you. Make sure to discuss your pet’s death with children in age-appropriate terms that they can understand. That’s said, it’s best to be direct and honest with little ones about the animal’s death. Don’t give them false hope.

Know when to reach out for support

Going through the death of a pet isn’t easy. Remember that you aren’t alone. Many other people have experienced your pain and can empathize with you. Sometimes, it’s helpful to turn to these external pillars of support for help. The Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine has a dedicated pet loss support hotline that you can call. There are also many resources that can help, like the Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement, as well as online chat rooms like the chat.

Losing a pet is never easy. However, taking steps to cope with the loss in a healthy way is essential to your and your family’s well-being. Trust the tips above to help.

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