What should a parent say to their child when the family pet passes away?
DR. TATE’S ANSWER
Thanks for your question!
For those who were fortunate enough to have a pet as a child that pet is often the first living thing, we learn to care for. Whether walking a dog, feeding a cat or cleaning a cage or aquarium. As a child, they learn that they are responsible for the well-being of their pet and that their pet depends on them. So when a beloved pet dies, a child’s grief might become more complicated as they bring the question to their own failure and guilt, i.e., was a fence left open, did they leave enough food?
So it’s important that a child understands that the death of a pet is not their fault. Accidents, illness and old age will happen no matter how well a pet was loved and cared for. One might use this as a reminder that love and kindness are the best we can do while our pets are in our care and to be happy your pet had your child’s love.