July 6, 2022

Helping your child grieve the loss of a pet

Many kids grow up with pets and see them as a member of the family. When a beloved pet dies, it can be difficult to cope with the loss. Pets bring so much joy into our lives, and their loss can leave us feeling devastated. This is especially true for children who have likely never experienced the death of a friend or family member. 

They might not understand what death is and might need help expressing their feelings. Here are some ways you can help your child cope with the loss of a pet:

Breaking the news

If you have to tell your kids that their pet has died, it’s important to do so in a way that is respectful and sensitive to their feelings. Try to have the conversation in a place where they feel safe and comfortable, and where they won’t be easily distracted.


If you’ve decided to euthanize your pet, you should try to have a conversation with your kids ahead of time. This way, they can start to process their feelings and ask any questions they might have. It’s also important to be honest with them and explain that:

  • It’s not their fault
  • They will die peacefully and won’t experience any pain
  • It’s a way to help take away their pain

Try to avoid the phrase “It went to sleep” or “was put to sleep” as this can be taken literally by children. This can cause them to have scary thoughts about falling asleep or experiencing anesthesia. 


If your pet died due to a sudden accident, it’s important to stay calm and explain to them what has happened. They will likely have questions so answer them as honestly as possible.

Helping them cope

It’s okay to feel sad and upset about your pet’s death. It’s also okay to cry in front of your child. Let them see that it’s okay to express their sadness. Help them understand that it’s normal to feel all kinds of different emotions after a pet dies. You can encourage them to express their feelings in whatever way feels comfortable for them, whether that’s through art, writing, talking, or spending time with friends and family.

If you’re not sure how to best support your child during this time, consider talking to a grief counselor or therapist who can help.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *