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Dealing with the loss of a pet can be a confusing and difficult time, especially for children.

Death and dying are two of life’s hardest facts to explain to kids, and often the passing of a pet will be their first encounter in dealing with death. How a child responds will depend on the age of the child, their developmental stage, and the strength of the bond with the pet.

When discussing the loss of a beloved pet with a child, it is important to be mindful of the language being used. The way in which the situation is handled will have a far-reaching impact on how the child will understand this immutable fact of life.

The use of expressions such as, “he/she has been adopted by another family,” “he/she has gone to live on a farm,” or “he/she is sleeping” will only cause further confusion for the child, and leave them with unresolved feelings of grief.

By truthfully and honestly explaining the actuality of the event, the child will be able to move through the grieving process while understanding that death is very much a part of life. While seeing a child saddened by the loss of a pet can be very difficult, it is important to allow enough time for the child to grieve this loss. Discuss the issue as a family, and allow children to openly ask questions. This is a good first step to allowing them the opportunity to grieve in their own way.

Children deal with grief differently than adults, and their reactions can be much more varied and curious. Through guidance and support, a child will learn to understand and mourn their loss, and look for ways to remember and memorialize their beloved pet.

Paws To Remember | 304-31334 Peardonville Rd. Abbotsford, BC V2T 6K8 | Tel: (604)-850-6738 | Email: info@paws2remember.ca