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Most pets are affectionate creatures. When you’re taking care of an animal, even the toughest of days won’t be able to get you down. They’ll just boost your spirits with their energy and playful mischief. There are many advantages from caring for animals.
We all know that caring for pets can be mentally advantageous on many levels. But what about when you’re caring for a fatally ill pet? How does that affect your mental health? Sometimes caring for an ill animal can be therapeutic in the sense that it gives you a purpose. But it also puts you at risk for mental health issues. Something you’ve loved for years is being taken away from you due to untimely illness and this can take a toll on your mental health, as well as open mental doors to depression, anxiety, OCD and PTSD (after death).
Here are few steps that you can use to prepare yourself for the death of your pet.
- Spend Time With Your Pet
Set aside a good amount of your time to spend with your pet. Take advantage of the remaining days and let your pet know how much they mean to you. Spending time with them is more a coping mechanism for you than for him.
- Make Arrangements
Making the appropriate arrangements beforehand saves you from having to make these hard decisions while grieving. Contact your vet for information on cremation, burial or veterinary disposal. Take your time and ask for help and support from your loved ones.
- Prepare Yourself Emotionally
To be honest, you’ll never be able to accept the death of a pet. But preparing yourself can help you in your grieving process. Understanding the stages of grief can be a step to recovery.
- If You Have Kids, Talk To Them
Your pet’s death will most definitely also have an impact on your children. So it’s important that you talk to them about death beforehand, to better prepare them emotionally. Gently explain to them that your pet is becoming ill or getting older. Be prepared to answer questions and give them as many details as you can, depending on their age and level of understanding. Make sure they know that after he passes, he won’t be able to feel pain, this could comfort them.
- Take Photos To Keep His Memory Alive
Days after his passing, you will be able to look at the pictures you took and know that it was his time and find comfort in the fact that his suffering has ceased.
- Seek Medical Help
Even after all the preparations and precautions, it is possible that you may spiral into a depression. It is a natural aspect of grief. Find ways to distract yourself and seek professional help when needed. A therapist can provide a safe space for you to properly process your grief. If you have a previous history of mental issues, it is important to stay in touch with your doctor to prevent your issues from resurfacing during this challenging time.