How to tell your child that your pet has died


If the death was tragic and unexpected, your child may have many questions.

Mexico City.- The duel for a beloved pet can be difficult for children, even more than the death of a distant relative, that's why it's important to accompany them and be there for them while they overcome their pain. These tips can help you get ahead together.

Be honest, even if you don't want to see him suffer, it is better to explain what happened clearly and not to lie or disguise the truth so as not to see him cry, sooner or later he will find out and he could get mad at you or hurt the trust he has. If it is a small child, do not use phrases such as "went to sleep" or "went to heaven", it could take it literally, confuse or have night fears.

If it is an old or sick pet, prepare it in advance so you can say goodbye. A study published by Environmental Education Research found that, like adults, children better process the death of a pet when they have time to prepare. Explain that the veterinarian did everything possible to cure your pet or that because of his age, it is better to help him die without pain and in peace, and if you feel he has enough maturity and wants it, allow him to be present when injected.

If the death was tragic and unexpected, it is possible that your child has many questions and the grief is more intense, he could feel frustrated, angry or guilty if he did not fulfill all the duties to take care of his pet. Talk about his feelings if he wants to do it, let him see that you are also sad and tell him about pets you had when you were a child and how it was for you to lose them. Answer your questions clearly, the way he asks you his doubts will give you the guideline to know how much information to give him, according to his age.

It is also useful to make a farewell project, such as a collage of photos, plant a tree in his honor, make a letter or meet to discuss what your pet meant for each one and remember their best pranks or moments. Make it clear to your child that pain will pass with time, but that good memories will stay with him.

When you feel the time is right, think about taking home a new pet, not to replace the pet that died, but as A new friend with whom to share love and adventures.

The loss of a pet involves many psychological issues that we must face at some time in life. When a pet dies at home, it is usually the first contact children have with death, with the process of life.

Facing the death of a pet means accepting the situation from us, in the same way that we must take a grieving process, however, what happens when the pet that has died belongs to our children?

One of the worst mistakes we can make as parents is to try to avoid the situation, or replace the dead pet with a similar one to prevent children from noticing.

It is best to face it, but how to do it? Today we want to dedicate the post to explain or give you some tips on how to tell our son that his pet has died.

How to tell your child that his pet has died?

One of the most difficult things for a father is to have to tell his son that his pet has died.
However, there are ways to be honest and help you go through the duel, here we tell you how:

1. Communication: It is important to always tell the truth. If our pet, for example, went through an illness or surgery, it is important to tell the child what has happened, it is not correct to lie to him, it is ideal to mention that as a result of his illness or by age, the pet has died.

2. Answers: it is important at the time of tell our son that his pet has died, offer all our support, in this way the child will be eager to ask questions, among which always stands out what death is and if the pet will return.

For this we must be very sincere and explain in a correct and clear way all your questions.

3. Weather: It is important to give the child time to get used to the absence of the pet. It is advised in these cases not to immediately replace the pet that has died, with another. It is necessary for the child to face reality and loss, he will eventually be ready for a new pet.

4. Support for: tell our son that his pet has diedIt can be very painful, we may notice in it sadness and decay behaviors, which are perfectly normal.

However, we must be careful not to develop depression due to this event. Let us remind you that the pain you suffer from the death of the animal is completely normal and that it will diminish over time.

5. The circle of life: A good way to make our son accept it is to explain the cycle of life. To be able to resort to nature or family photos, where we show our evolution. So you can realize that death is the final process and that we must accept it as something natural.

When it's time and let's see that our son has been grieving, we can then take him to buy or adopt a new pet, only when recovered and ready.

How to tell your child that your pet has died is advice for General Issues, and talk about General Issues.

We must be clear and sincere

The hardest moment, no doubt, is to tell the child that his dog, his rabbit or his turtle will not return. Although the truth is sad, we must tell it clearly, so as not to confuse you. Children assume these experiences better when they are given sincere explanations, adapted to their level of understanding, and allowed to express their pain.

Given this fact, the child may show sadness, anger, denial, guilt or fear.. You may even be jealous of other children who still have their animals. You can also express your pain through alterations in sleep or appetite, clinging excessively to the most loved people, wetting the bed, having nightmares and becoming very disobedient. They are manifestations that the little one will overcome based on time, patience and affection.

Some parents tell their children "white lies" and tell them that their deceased pet "is sleeping." Despite their good intention, this is counterproductive, since going to sleep can become something threatening to cause fear. On the other hand, an attitude of waiting or evading the truth, Telling them, for example, that your puppy has gone on a trip or is in an animal hospital, it will only increase the pain.

Children between three and five years see death as something temporary and potentially reversible. That is why it should be explained that when a living being dies, it stops moving, does not hear or see and does not wake up again. Trying to protect them with inaccurate explanations can create anxiety and mistrust..

Children often ask questions about the death of their little animal: why he has died, if he is going to return one day, where he has gone. You have to answer each and every one of your questions, although we find it painful, and show the little ones that we share their feeling of grief.

How to prepare a child for the death of his pet?

When your dog or cat dies, it usually involves a hard grieving process and in this it is possible to experience emotions of deep sadness and pain. To do this, and if possible, it is best to prepare for that moment. If your pet is going through a terminal illness and shows signs that it can leave you in a short time, it is your responsibility prepare the little ones from the house for the death of your pet.

Like adults, children can fit the news of death if they wait for it and are prepared. To do this, we can follow these steps:

  • Tell him about your pet's health status: what may seem obvious to your eyes, it is possible that your child does not quite understand. To do this, you can tell him very tactfully that your pet is sick and may not have much time to live.
  • Talk about death naturally: the cycle of life is a natural phenomenon, it can be sad and it is certainly a hard blow, but to face the loss it is best to talk calmly about what can happen.
  • Enjoy your last days: Instead of spending the final moments with sorrow and pain, you can try to enjoy his company by giving him much affection and affection.

To prepare a child for the death of your dog, cat or other pet it is important to know if it is going to die or not, for this, we recommend you read this article: 5 symptoms that a dog is going to die. In case your pet is a cat, we offer the following: 5 symptoms that a cat is going to die.

However, if you suspect that your pet is seriously ill, it is essential go to a veterinarian to examine you and offer all possible solutions.

Be honest and sincere

First of all, be honest with your children and don't take them away from reality under the pretext of saving them suffering. Although it is difficult and painful to talk about the loss of the pet, it is better to do it as soon as possible. Explain with a simple and true language that your pet has died and that he will never return: “he was very old and his body was already very tired. He was very sick and the medicines have not been able to cure him, now that he is dead he no longer has pain. ”

For children under 3 years, death is like a long dream from which at some point he wakes up. Therefore, it will be necessary to be patient because you will have to explain several times what happened and what death means. It is very important for your children to understand that your pet He is gone forever and will never return to play with them. Otherwise, they can stay “waiting” to wake up or “return” from a long trip and with it they will suffer more.

I recommend avoiding phrases of the type:

  • He has fallen asleep forever (because you could induce them to refuse to sleep at night for fear of not waking up)
  • He has left on a trip (later you may fear going on a trip)
  • It is far, far away ... in another wonderful place (because they will remain waiting for his return).

Answer all questions

Before your simple and honest explanations, questions will arise that I encourage you to answer without disguising the truth. If you don't have all the answers, nothing happens, you simply tell them that You do not know them.

There are questions that can show you their fears, so it is important to take them seriously and try to answer them honestly to help them calm their fears and accept the loss. Children's fears can be:

  • Was it my fault death? No sweetie. His time came, he was very old and tired ...
  • Who am I going to play with now? With your dog it can no longer be. But you are not alone and you can play with your brothers, with me, with your grandfather, etc.
  • Can I die too? Yes, we will all die when our time comes.

Adults usually express our pain with sadness and dejection. Children, on the other hand, express their suffering for the loss with mood swings, less interest in homework or school routines, changes with appetite, more restless sleep.

Share your feelings

It is not bad for children to see your pain and sadness. Do not be distressed because they see you sad or crying, on the contrary, this will make them feel more accompanied and realize that their feelings are also shared by you.

If they see that you try to hide and hide your feelings, they will soon learn not to express them and they will feel alone with his pain. Allow your children to cry as much as they need, just like you, too.

If you do a ritual of burial It is good that your children participate, because taking part in these acts helps them to understand what death is and to begin their own grieving process.

Do we have another dog?

It is not advisable to replace the dead animal right away: the child must be sad for a few days, it is normal for him to miss his dog, his cat. and that he grieves to think that he will not enjoy his company again. You need some time to "work out" the loss. If during this process you feel understood, accompanied, protected and supported, will find a way to deal with your pain healthy and positive and accept the farewell.

In any case, keep in mind that he will say when he feels like starting to create another relationship of lasting and unconditional love with a new pet.

How to tell a child about the death of a pet?

Although many parents prefer hide the truth and even invent an elaborate fable to explain to their children that they will not see their pet anymore, it is important to know that this it is not the way to explain the death of an animal To a child. Here are the most effective tips from the theories of psychology:

1. Sincerity above all

It is very important not to tell lies of the style "has escaped away"or"other people have adopted it"to prevent the child from becoming sad or experiencing a grieving process.

Despite being very painful, death is a real phenomenon, which occurs in our present and which our children will have to face sooner or later. If we want to know how to explain the death of your pet to a child, it is essential find an intimate place, the right time and Speak to him from sincerity. In addition, being honest, we give the child the opportunity to go through their own phase of acceptance and farewell of your pet

2. Express your feelings

The boy or girl may not express their feelings correctly because don't know how to deal with the loss. If you are unable to see how you feel, you can deduce that being sad is bad or that it is not the way to live a loss.

Crying, feeling grief and pain is not something intrinsically negative, it is a way of expressing ourselves when something bad happens to us. Also, at tell how you feel, the little one will feel understood and will strengthen ties with you.

5. Do not compensate with another pet

Many parents also choose to adopt a puppy, cat or any other animal to supplant the loss caused by the death of their pet. This option is not only ineffective but also involves treating animals as mere objectsinterchangeable. If your pet has died, it is important go through the grieving process relevant, notify the child of the death of your dog or cat and adopt again when the time is right for it.

Child psychology: the grieving process when a pet dies

It is possible that this news is the child's first contact with the concept of death and all that entails. The child grieving process is experienced in a different way than the same process in adults. Dr. Abigail Marks, a psychologist specializing in child grief, tells us that a child's pain is more oscillating: The sadness can last a while, he cries a few minutes, he returns to play and he can start crying the next minute.

A study conducted by Joshua Russell in 2016 found that children describe the loss of their pet as one of themost painful moments What do you remember However, that same study revealed that children are able to rationalize the death of their animal companion in an effective way and through emotional intelligence.

With this information, it is easier to understand children's grief. While it is true that you should stay close to the child and show him that you will always be there when he asks for help, as a parent or guardian, it is important that you give him the space that the child needs to express yourself until some time passes. If you see that the symptoms of sadness last longer than previously thought, it is possible that the child is going through a pathological duel. In this case, psychological therapy can be an effective solution.

What to do when our pet dies?

The loss of a beloved animal is a blow to the whole family. It is very likely that it has been part of very beautiful and emotional memories and moments, thus becoming a member of your family nucleus.

Your responsibility as an adult in this case will be to communicate to the child the death of your pet, show him the naturalness of this moment and the fact that it is not bad to feel sadness and pain temporarily to overcome a phase. Despite being painful, it is important stand together and accept the loss of your pet in the best possible way. If the child sees that, as a reference person, you accept the loss and move on, it is very likely that he will live it in a similar way. In addition, this experience will serve as a tool for overcoming future losses or similar experiences.

In short, the loss of an animal is a hard and very sad moment. However, if you learn to explain to a child the death of his dog, cat or other animal, you will not only be giving him a vital learning very important if not that, in turn, you will be learning to be a little stronger and to accept such experiences.

On the other hand, it is important to call the record in which the animal is registered to report the event. For more information, see the article "What should I do if my dog ​​dies" if your faithful companion is a can.

If you want to read more articles similar to How to explain to a child the death of his pet?, we recommend that you enter our Curiosities section of the animal world.