How To Tell a Child About Death Of a Pet


This is not easy and honestly, there is no really ‘the best way’ to tell a child their loving pet has died.

So, how to tell a child about death of a pet?

How To Tell a Child About Death Of a Pet

how to tell a child about death of a pet

It really depends on the circumstances and their age. I believe you should always tell your child the truth in a manner she or he can understand.

The first thing you should do is to sit them down in a neutral place. Don’t take them to their favorite place, the park they love or a restaurant. They may always associate the place with the news and it will be ruined for them. Use the words that are appropriate and tell them the truth about their pet. Sometimes parents, in their eternal quest to protect their children from emotional pain, say things that are completely out of place. Give your child the news in a way they can process and with the appropriate emotional context.

When I was a little child, my parents told me my cat ran away. I was still sad about losing my cat but didn’t really learn how to deal with mortality. I believe that is the wrong way to go. I don’t plan to tell my daughter that our cat ran away or was sent to a farm. I will tell her the truth. I will tell her we were all sad about our pet and that we would miss the cat a lot. It’s also important to explain that it was ok to be sad.

Afterwards, you can talk about your pet and how nice she or he was and how much you all missed her. That will teach your kid the process of grief and grieving and that loss is just the part of life we have to deal with.

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  • Reply Jenny @ Unremarkable Files September 22, 2016 at 5:51 am

    That is really the worst conversation to have. We had to do that when I found my daughter’s hamster dead in its cage a few years back. She came home from school happy and I had to tell her the worst news ever. Being a mom is hard. (And don’t even get me started on the part where YOU are in charge of disposing of the body!)

  • Reply Jen September 22, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    Our 16 year old dog dies this summer and it was the worst. Our kiddos were so upset, but with lots and lots of talking and sharing it helped us all to make it through that difficult time. Telling the truth is so very important and really does help with healing process.

  • Reply Shannon @ Of The Hearth September 23, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    I agree that it is so important that we tell them the truth. As hard as it is, we can use these times to help them learn how to express themselves and to help them understand that grief is normal and healthy.

  • Reply Tuned In Parents September 23, 2016 at 9:15 pm

    Have you seen the movie “The Book of Life”? Pretty good. Best part about it is that my daughter saw it before her fish died and before my grandfather passed. When we talk about death, we talk about it as a natural phase of life, albeit sad for those of us still living, and that’s okay. (Parenting is intense!)

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