Our pets are often seen as part of the family, and saying goodbye to them can be an extremely tough and emotional time. Please rest assured that there's pet bereavement support out there to help, from knowing the right time to grieving after the death of your pet.
Saying goodbye to a much-loved pet
When is the right time?
This can be the hardest decision you ever have to make as a pet owner. When making the decision, remember to think about what's best for your pet, however tough that may be.
No case is the same, so talking to your vet will help. As they're less emotionally involved, it can be easier for them to think about what's best for your pet, and they'll help talk you through the options available. Ask them as many questions as you like - there are no stupid questions - they're there to offer guidance.
Don't forget to call on your family and friends for emotional support, too.
Preparing for the loss of a pet
Sadly, we often feel as though we have little control over our pet's fate during this time, which you may find difficult.
Try to focus on the parts you can control. For example, you can ask your vet to come to your home, so that your pet may be more comfortable.
You can also think about where your pet's resting place will be, and if they'll be buried or cremated after they've passed on.
Grieving for a pet
Grieving a pet can be similar to mourning the loss of a family member. Some owners experience feelings of deep loneliness and isolation. Please don't worry or feel ashamed - these emotions are perfectly normal.
Some people around you may not understand the intense feelings of sadness you can feel after losing a pet, but please remember there are people out there who do understand.
Support networks available
Talk to friends and family to share cherished memories you have with your pet. The Blue Cross offers a pet bereavement service, providing free, confidential support to anyone affected by losing a pet.
Cats Protection has a confidential phone line called Paws to Listen, a service for any cat owner suffering grief or bereavement for a beloved pet.
For equine support, The British Horse Society's 'Friends at the End' is designed to make sure that no horse owner faces losing their companion alone.
For more online support, the World Horse Welfare shares good advice on saying goodbye, too.
RSPCA Pet Insurance
Our Pet Insurance comes with the benefit of 'farewell cover'.