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THE EXPERIENCE OF PET LOSS – Four Common Grief Reactions

Updated: Jan 30

5 OF 12




Back, neck, and muscle pain Weight loss Weakness or fatigue Stomach upset Diarrhea or constipation Emptiness/heaviness feelings Headaches Chills, sweating, or cold hands Chest pain or tightness Difficulty breathing Dry mouth Increased startle response Heart palpitations Change in sleep habits Change in appetite Feelings of exhaustion


Shock & numbness Sadness, sorrow, and despair Anger or irritability Resentment Guild or regret Anxiety Fear you are “going crazy” Helplessness Feeling overwhelmed Mood swings Heightened awareness Feeling your pet being present Loneliness Yearning or pining Apathy–not caring about anything Lack of pleasure in activities


Disbelief, feelings that it isn’t real Confusion and disorientation Memory/concentration problems Asking  ‘why?’ Unable to get your pet off of your mind Idealization of your pet Lowered self-esteem Revisioning the last day’s of your pet’s life Difficulty making decisions Dreams or nightmares about your pet Feeling of meaningless Depersonalization; sense of unreality Thinking you want to be with your pet Questioning spiritual or religious beliefs Thinking no one else understands Thinking other bad things will happen


Inability to sit still Change in level of activity Searching for your pet Sighing or crying Carrying objects linked to your pet Social withdrawal; wanting to be alone Avoiding reminders of your pet Change in sexual desire Feeling need to tell story over & over Clinging or difficulty with separation Wanting to save everything of pet’s Staying busy keeping mind off of loss Talking to your pet Expecting your pet to be there when you get home Leaving your pet’s belongings where they were Avoiding activities you used to do with your pet

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