I often receive calls from distressed people because their pet has died. Losing a pet can be as traumatizing as losing a child and it is very hard to let go. Other people have difficult choices they need to make. They feel fearful or guilty about what they know they need to do, for their pet, because they love their pet.

Remember that animals live in the physical and spirit realms simultaneously so crossing over holds little fear for them. It is your pain when they cross that causes them trauma. This empathy for others is why so many cats and dogs leave their family or pack to die alone. In their eyes, they are still here with you, so your suffering makes no sense to them. Animals have no fear. They would rather starve themselves than live in pain. We have the hang ups with death, not our pets.

When a pet dies, they will stay with you in spirit assuming they were connected to you. It does not matter if you move, your pet follows you. It is very common for a dead pet to continue living with the ones they love, in the family home, after they have passed. They still sleep on your bed and sit in the sun by the windows. Their commitment to you does not end with death. Their routine may not even change much!

If your pet is sick and in a lot of pain and your vet feels the best thing to do is let your loved one go, let them go. If you really love your pet they will feel it and they will be okay. To torture yourself wondering if they hate you for setting them free is only going to cause them, and you, distress.

Tara’s little soulmate passed away in 2016 after 13 years of Joy.

If you are faced with the most difficult task of putting down your pet consider these suggestions:

Sit someplace quiet with your pet and tell them how much you love them and appreciate all they have brought into your life. Explain that you want them to be free from pain and that it is okay to let the body go. You will still love them, if they wait for you, you will be with them again.

If the situation allows, tell them that it is okay for them to go and see if they pass away on their own in the coming week or two. Often, after you give them permission, pets die on their own. They don’t want to disappoint us by leaving.

Remember that these words are for you, if you are truly connected, your friend knows what is in your heart and that you only want what is best for them.

If you can keep the physical body close that’s fine but it doesn’t really matter. If you can wait 3 full days before cremating a body, that is best. When my dog passed we left his crate set up for a week or two just in case he needed time adjusting. I know that may sound silly but it was important for us to reaffirm to him that he was still a part of the family. We still talk to Sachi when we catch a glimpse out of the corner of our eye or feel the covers move a bit. We do not dwell on him all the time, as healing for us is very important.

You do not need to feel guilty for doing what is best for a pet, you do not need to worry that if you move they will be lost. It really is okay. Your challenge will be to open up to love again. Your pet will be drawn to your energy wherever you are, geography is only a physical reality.

I hope this helps some of you as I have had so many clients lately truly devastated by the loss of a pet.


  1. We recently went through having to put down our dog. Your information is very helpful with helping us cope with the loss. We were fortunate to have a vet that specialized in pet palliative care and medically assisted dying which made it much easier to heal.

  2. I am so sorry for your loss. I hope in time you will get another pet, they make such a difference in our lives.

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