Loss of a pet can help children understand that death is part of life

Planning a fitting memorial or ceremony with your children can turn something sad into a more positive experience

The death of a pet can be used in a positive way which will help young children understand the issues around death and involve them in suitable memorials.

Pet funerals can help children come to terms with the loss of a loved family pet and by following a few simple steps you can help turn a sorrowful event into a positive reference point for your youngsters.

Be honest with children and don’t avoid using words such as 'dead' or 'dying'. It is confusing for children to be told a pet has been 'put to sleep' without an explanation, as they then may believe the pet will wake up.

Don’t be afraid to express your own feelings of loss with your children as it shows that it is natural to show emotions. And it will encourage them to grieve over the death and then move on more fully.

Planning a pet funeral service or ceremony with your children can turn something sad into a more positive experience.

Encourage them to write a poem or a piece of prose describing their feelings towards the dead pet, draw pictures and choose a memorial.

Digital memories

The family can come together in creating the memorial which marks the death of the pet. This can be anything from a simple wooden cross to mark the grave to a montage of digital photographs on a computer.

You can also encourage young children to create a digital scrapbook of the pet’s life.

There are a number of excellent books available which can help younger children cope with the death of a family pet such as; Goodbye Mog, by Judith Kerr; Lovely Old Roly, by Michael Rosen; and Up in Heaven, by Emma Chichester Clark.

Animal welfare charity Blue Cross gives excellent advice on pet and equine bereavement.


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