Ways of supporting your child when you lose a pet

  • Make sure that the child doesn’t hear about the pet’s death from someone else
  • Always be honest about death. Don’t pretend the pet has gone missing if it has died
  • It is a good idea to encourage the child to express their emotions. If they are old enough, ask them to draw a picture or write a story about their pet.
  • Sometimes children don’t express their feelings because they don’t know how to. Don’t underestimate the feelings that they might be experiencing.
  • Never minimize a child’s grief. Try to understand the impact the loss of the pet has on the child
  • Use language that the child will understand. Use everyday words such as “dead” or “died” rather than phrases such as “gone to heaven” or “put to sleep” which might cause confusion or anxiety for younger children
  • If asked, discuss how the animal died – obviously leaving out any distressing details
  • If your child is very upset, discretely tell their teacher
  • Let your child know your own feelings of sadness and loss

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