Is it time for a new pet?
Knowing when is the right time to get a new pet after suffering pet loss is challenging. We’ve got some do’s and don’ts to help families figure out when is the right time for them to bring a new pet into the home.
- Don’t think of it as replacing your pet. There is no replacement for a pet that has passed. Getting a new animal to love does not mean that they are replacing the one that passed - it simply means that you are choosing to have a new relationship with another pet.
- Don’t let anyone tell you when is or isn’t the right time. The decision to get another pet after pet loss is a personal one. What is right for one pet owner is not necessarily right for another. Some owners get a new pet immediately as this helps to heal the loss. Others need time to grieve and aren’t ready to bond emotionally with another animal. Do what is right for you and no one else.
- Don’t be hasty. The grief of losing a pet is much like that of losing a loved one. Our hearts can be hurting so badly that we immediately get another pet to help heal the hurt. This can have the opposite affect. Make sure when you commit to another pet that you are ready for that commitment. New pets are a lot of work and if your heart is not ready than a new pet can cause adverse emotional results.
- Do look for different qualities or personality traits in your new pet. Whether it’s a different breed, a different gender or a different color of the breed, choosing a pet that is not the same as your pet that has passed helps to make a new beginning with your pet.
- Do make it a family decision. This is important, especially for those families with children. Children and adults grieve differently for their pets and involving everyone in the decision helps to create an individual emotional bond with the new pet. This also helps to give children a sense of ‘control’ after loss.
- Don’t expect your new pet to ‘be’ or act like your pet that has passed. Like people, pets have their own personalities and quirks. For example, maybe your first pet was potty trained easily and was never a chewer. Don’t anticipate the same experience with a new pet. Keep an open mind as well as an open heart.
- Do keep in mind your surviving pets at home. Some pets do experience grief or mourn the loss of another. Introducing new pets to the home can take time for the surviving pet to become accustomed to another change. Be patient and understanding.
There is no right or wrong answer as to when is the right time to bring a new pet into the home. Whether it’s a year after the loss or a week after losing a pet, a new pet can revitalize a family that is grieving by giving them another pet love, cherish and build a new relationship with.