When a pet dies, we can experience a lot of confusion. The intensity of our emotional responses, the difficulty to find closure, and the challenges of moving on with life can all feel overwhelming.

We love our animal companions, and it can be difficult to predict how we’ll react following their passing. Trying to downplay or avoid our emotions can hide the true root of our emotions. The remarkable bond and companionship we share with our pets is part of the gift of life, and the grieving process is part of how we can honor that relationship.

No matter when they enter our lives, these incredible animals take up residence in our hearts. For many people, the death of a pet can feel like losing a relative. This can be a deeply complicated blend of emotions that can be hard to understand if you don’t have a pet of your own. 

Just because this heartbreaking aspect of loving a pet is inevitable doesn’t mean we can’t be prepared. Here is what to expect when your pet dies and some suggestions to help us equip ourselves when the time comes.

Why Should We Plan for Our Pet’s Passing?

While it may not be healthy to dwell on our pets’ eventual passing, preparing for this inevitable heartbreak can help us process our grief.

These faithful companions show us unconditional love and trust. As pet owners, we develop a link between ourselves and our pets that is truly unique. They are members of the family, and they provide comfort, acceptance, and love that means the world. This is why the loss of a pet can feel similar to the loss of a human family member.

As a caretaker for our pets, we create one of the purest bonds on Earth. Every day you come home from work to a furry friend who’s excited about your return is a special one.

As much as they depend on us for their food, water, and shelter, they first and foremost want to spend time being around us. We are their main source of security and safety, and that responsibility is an honor. That same responsibility is why we need to make plans for their passing to honor their impact and legacy. 

Understanding that our pets will one day pass on can help impart meaning to each moment we share and memory we create. Having this kind of knowledge will help us live in the moment with our pets and enjoy them for the loving family members that they are. 

What Is My Pet’s Lifespan?

The average lifespanlife span of most dogs is around 6 to 13 years, depending on the breed and that breed’s specific health issues. Knowing this life expectancy can help us make decisions regarding our pet’s health as they encounter the challenges of old age. 

Our pet’s health is largely our responsibility. We are their primary providers, so knowing about their specific species and breed can help us provide proper care. Knowing their life expectancy is a powerful tool to help you make decisions about their health as they age. 

The Emotional Toll

The emotional journey of grief is a heavy one. Not only that, but it’s one that takes up a lot of our time and energy. Grief is a normal, healthy, and necessary part of experiencing death and loss. This means one of the most incredible aspects of this process is simply submitting to it. 

Because the shock and sadness of losing a pet can be so painfully felt, it feels overwhelming to have to deal with grief. Even more so, it can be taxing to plan post-life services such as burial, cremation, and memorials. 

Many of us will be tempted to simply cope with our grief instead of moving through it. This can look like a lot of things. For instance, filling up your schedule with work and activities after the loss of a pet could be a coping mechanism to keep you from the emotional work of processing your grief. When our daily routines are upended following a lost pet, our newfound free time can lead to loneliness, sorrow, and even guilt. 

Being distracted or experiencing denial sometimes can be easier than being in pain during this difficult time, but grief is important to experience. 

Why Is Grief Important? 

When our pet dies, we may try to immediately adopt a new pet, pick up extra shifts at work, or take on more classes. It takes time to process grief, but it also takes courage.

If you don’t currently have the emotional or mental bandwidth to experience the fullest extent of your emotions, there are ways to continue moving forward until you have the opportunity to pause and process. However, it’s only once we take that time to grieve that we can truly move on.

Moving on doesn’t look like forgetting our remarkable pets and the love we shared. Instead, it provides the tools we need to celebrate their incredible lives and carry their memory with us forever. 

What’s unique about grief is that if we choose not to move through it initially, it can wait for us. In fact, some people don’t experience walking through the grief of certain heartbreaking events until years later. Whenever it’s your time, there are ways to help yourself heal.

How Can I Heal After Losing a Pet?

We don’t have to walk this path alone. Friends and family can step in and be there for us during this difficult process, and there is also professional help available. 

Grief counseling or a pet loss support group can be a wonderful tool to help you process the loss of a pet, and millions of people have benefited from it. Learning how to ask for help during this process is a very important part of making sure you don’t feel overwhelmed by the heaviness of grief. There are many resources available to help us mourn the loss of a beloved pet.

We can also find ways to honor the remarkable bond we shared with our pets. Creating a memorial — whether that’s through a scrapbook, writing poems or journal entries, an urn, or creating a piece of jewelry — helps provide an opportunity to celebrate the memory of our beloved pets throughout the grieving process and beyond. 

Hosting a memorial service or ceremony at a cemetery can also give our loved ones an opportunity to share their condolences or send sympathy cards. While bereavement may look difficult after the loss of a beloved pet, human relationships are still a powerful coping tool, especially in times of suffering.  

Creatively finding ways to keep their memory close can be a deeply healing tool following the loss of a dog, pet, or another pet death.

Memorial Diamonds

One of the most beautiful ways to commemorate the loss of a pet is to have carbon from their cremated remains turned into a memorial diamond. This intricate process involves purifying the carbonic elements of your pet’s cremated ashes and using this carbon to grow a real diamond

Diamonds are the most sought-after precious stone on the market, so it can be surprising to learn that genuine diamonds can be created in labs. The carbon extracted from your pet’s cremated ashes is blended with organic carbon and placed in a machine that can mimic the conditions in the Earth’s mantle where diamonds are naturally formed.

At this incredible depth, carbon atoms are exposed to extreme heat and pressure that can be simulated in a lab. Thanks to these conditions, the carbon atoms take on the specific characteristics of a diamond. Memorial diamonds are 100% real diamonds graded by IGI for value. 

When you grow your own memorial diamond, you also get to choose the cut, shape, setting, and even color this unique diamond will have to better honor your pet’s legacy. Because the carbon for these diamonds is extracted from cremated ashes, they are uniquely molecularly tied to the memory of your pet. This is a beautiful and eternal way to keep their memories close to your heart. 


Our furry companions provide unconditional love, attachment, and trust that cannot be replicated. While we may have many pets throughout our lives, each relationship is unique. It can be difficult to navigate the heartbreak following a beloved pet’s passing. Through the support of our communities and opportunities to honor their legacy, we can continue to celebrate their lives even after their death.


How Long Do Dogs Live - Dog Breeds and Life Expectancy | Pet MD

How Diamonds are Formed | Cape Town Diamond Museum 

It's Heavy. Bearing the Weight of Grief & Loss • Youth Dynamics | Youth Dynamics