When a Pet Dies

The death of a pet is often young children’s first experience with death and can have a lasting impact on them. How you guide your child’s adjustment to the loss can teach him the way to face future losses of loved ones.

First, if your pet is a beloved member of your family, don’t minimize the importance of the event. Real sadness and mourning are perfectly appropriate, and permitting those feelings will help everyone adjust.

Your child is not yet old enough to understand that death is permanent. Expect questions or statements that seem to indicate your child believes the pet will return sometime or is living somewhere else. Be honest and gentle in your explanations that the pet has died.

Disclaimer: This page is not intended to provide medical advice about your child. Always seek the advice of a physician, qualified healthcare provider or child-development specialist with any questions you have about your child's health, medical condition or development. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you read here.

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