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How Long Does It Take to Grieve a Pet?

When you’ve lost a pet, you may feel as though you’ll be miserable forever. The days start running into each and it doesn’t seem to feel as though you’re feeling better at all. People say that time heals all wounds, but how much time does it really take?

The Answer to the Question: How Long Does It Take to Grieve a Pet?

Research reports it can take six to nine months for the overwhelming sadness or anger to subside. It can take over a year for some people to feel the end of the mourning phase.

While a year seems to be about average for how long it takes to grieve a pet, some studies find that many people can take two or three years to recover.

Many factors affect how long it takes to grieve a pet. Some of the reasons people take longer are:

  • The pet signified a relationship that was lost long ago
  • There have been more than one death in the last year
  • The griever does not have enough support to overcome the pain

What You Can Do with This Information

This information may make you feel better. If it’s only been a couple of months, you may feel as though you’re “normal.” The flipside is that you may feel dread because research suggests it may take you longer – much longer.

Do not put much energy into the research. Grieving is an individualized experience. You feel better next month, and that would be okay. You don’t know how long it’s going to take you, all you can do is care for yourself as you are healing.

If you’re reading this and thinking: It’s been four years and I’m still not over the loss of my pet, it’s okay. There’s a reason you are unable to move past the death, and discovering what that is can help you greatly. Many people seek professional help when they have a hard time dealing with the loss of their pet. It doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with them mentally – it just means they are stuck in the processing phase a little longer because their mind needs to figure something out.

How to Help Yourself through This Difficult Time

Talk about it. Since you may have some time before you start feeling like yourself again, it’s a good idea to do some things to help you. Consider talking to friends and family members about how you’re feeling. It can be hard, but venting your feelings can feel good.

Write about it. You can keep a journal or write online. When you write about losing your pet, your mind is able to make connections that it otherwise wouldn’t be able to make. If the connections do not help, the venting that comes out of writing can help you feel less overwhelmed.

Cry. Some people do not let themselves cry because they are afraid of the emotions that come with it. The good thing is that afterwards, you will feel better, and that’s because you were able to let them out. Give it a try. You may find that a good cry can help you get through the day.

Again, if you feel as though you cannot deal with the loss of your pet, do not hesitate to contact a professional. Your pet would want you to do that.

Image courtesy of Maria Stella