Two of the most emotionally charged experiences a pet owner can face are adopting a new pet and saying goodbye to a beloved companion. After the loss of a pet, it may feel as though you can’t open your heart to another.

In time, though, most owners choose to bring another deserving animal companion into their home. However, there are some initial challenges and things to consider before adopting a new pet.

The team at Union Lake Veterinary Hospital wants to help explore some of these important factors when it comes to grief, healing, and sharing your love with a new fur friend.

A Time for Grief

Although it can be tempting to want to fill the space your pet left immediately, taking some time to grieve and giving others in the family a chance to move through the process can be healthy for everyone. It’s devastating to lose a pet, and there can be a myriad of emotions involved, including guilt, anger, confusion, and sadness.

By taking some time, you allow for a more open and joyful home for a new pet. For pet families who have taken care of an ailing pet for many months, a break may be necessary and healthy.

Although getting another pet right away can be cathartic for some, understanding your own situation is important to making the right choice at the right time.

It Will Be Different

Another challenge related to adopting a new pet is the desire to recreate the same experience you had with your former pet. This can lead to frustration for both you and your new adoptee.

A new pet will bring his or her own unique gifts and challenges. Get to know a new pet and help him or her integrate into the family. Remember, each pet is an individual with a distinct personality, sure to warm your heart.

Healing Hearts: Adopting a New Pet

When you’re ready to bring another pet into your life, here are tips to make the transition easier:

  • You may wish to honor your former pet in some way. You could pay the fees of a shelter animal in your pet’s name, create a photo scrapbook or display, or add your pet’s name to our memorial wall.
  • Before adopting another pet, consider whether you’re ready for a significant time commitment, such as the case with a new puppy or kitten vs. an older pet.
  • If possible, try and purchase new items for your adopted fur friend to help celebrate your new addition and allow for a fresh start (toys, supplies, bedding, etc.).
  • Come up with new activities and favorite places with your pet. For example, how about trying a new walking route or perhaps a different area of the home for the dog bed or cat tree?

If you’re in doubt and would like guidance when making the decision to adopt after losing a pet, please know that our team is always here to support you.