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Home > General > Are There Pet Loss Support Groups? How To Find One

Are There Pet Loss Support Groups? How To Find One

grieving dog owner holding pet collar

Pets are a part of the family—they’re an important part of our everyday lives, and we form a very close bond with them over the years they are with us. Because of this deep connection, losing a pet is a very challenging time. It can be made all the more challenging if you don’t have somebody to talk to about the loss. In some ways, losing a pet can be more difficult than losing a family member because a lot of pet owners feel like other people don’t understand the pain.

Fortunately, there are pet loss support groups, as well as other support options, available.


What Are Pet Loss Support Groups?

Pet loss support groups are groups that consist of people that have been through similar pet bereavement. They are structured groups and offer a safe place for pet owners to grieve their loss. They can be especially helpful for people that have nobody to turn to, or that are worried that others won’t understand the loss of a pet. While many support groups operate physically, some provide virtual services, especially since Covid forced a lot of groups to operate online via Zoom and similar services.

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Image By: Piqsels

How To Find a Support Group

Finding a support group can be tricky, especially if you live in more rural areas. Check at your local vet and pet stores, and contact other pet services. Generally, pet-related services will network with one another, and pet owners talk to service providers, too. If there is an active group in your area, chances are good that your vet or groomer will know about them. They may even be part of the group. Alternatively, try searching online. Use social media sites and pet forums.

If you can’t find a local support group that offers services in person, or you would rather not personally attend the group, there are virtual services. These work in a similar way to physical groups. A time is arranged and attendees log on to Zoom or video chat service and share their grief.

The 5 Tips to Help Cope with the Death of a Pet

Losing a pet is very challenging. But, usually, with time, the pain will lessen. Try the following tips to help cope with the loss.

1. It’s OK to Grieve

For pet owners that loved their pets and saw them as a member of the family, the grief is very real. You will likely go through the same grief process as if you lost any member of the family. Don’t feel guilty about grieving and remember that it is OK to be depressed about the situation. It can take time to heal.

2. Talking Does Help

Talking to others will help you process the loss, but you need to talk to people that understand the kind of loss you’re going through. Support groups can help, but you can also hold a memorial service, write a letter to your pet, or contact a grief counselor to help.

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Image By: Piqsels
sad dog ower looking at his pet photo
Image By: umaruchan4678, Shutterstock

3. Give Yourself Time

Grief is a process, and it takes time to come to terms with the loss. The first few days will be the hardest, but even after this time, the pain won’t suddenly dissipate. Unfortunately, you will be hit with reminders of your loss. Just remember that it is a process and the pain should diminish eventually, but allow yourself time to grieve.

4. Personal Care

When grieving, it can be very easy to forget self-care. It is not only important for your general health that you continue to eat, bathe, and exercise as you did before, but it helps to maintain a routine. And physical activity has been shown to help with depression.

5. Some People Won’t Understand

For pet owners, it is difficult to imagine a life without pets, but not everybody understands these emotions. Some people have never had a close affinity with an animal and they won’t understand your grief. While you don’t need to completely avoid these people, you should ensure that you aren’t completely surrounded by people that don’t get it. Speak to friends and family that have been through what you are experiencing. They will be sympathetic to your emotions and will understand how difficult you are finding things.

woman comforting her sad friend while sitting on the sofa at home
Image By: Josep Suria, Shutterstock



Pets are a big part of the family. They can pick us up when we’re down, provide love and support when we need it, and they can provide fun and entertainment. Losing a pet is very difficult for most people, but while the grieving process is difficult, it should get easier over time and there are steps you can take to help deal with the loss.

Pet loss support groups offer a safe and structured way to discuss the feelings of loss with other people that have experienced the same pain, and as well as local groups that meet in person, there are online and phone groups that you can use. Search social media, ask your local vet and pet service providers, and search for virtual groups to find one that benefits you.

Featured Image Credit: Liudmyla, Shutterstock

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