There are many concepts that children need to be taught as they grow older, everything from why it’s important to wash their hands, to why the sky is blue, and one of the most challenging concepts for a child is death and why pets or people die. We sincerely hope that you don’t need to explain death before your child may be ready, but as with many things in life, death is unpredictable.
If your family dog or cat has recently passed away, we are sorry for your loss. We know how hard it can be to lose someone who has been in your life for so long. We also understand the challenges that come with having to explain what happened to your pet to a young child. Along with our pet cremation services, Heavenly Paws Pet Aquamation is here to help with a variety of situations, including offering tips on how to talk to your child about the death of their beloved pet.
How to Explain Death to Children
Stick to the Truth
Were you ever told when you were young that your dog or cat went to a great big farm to spend time with other dogs or cats? Even though this is a nice image, it leaves a lot of questions and is far from the truth. Oftentimes the hardest part about this situation is actually telling them that their pet died and that they won’t be coming back. But it’s always the best strategy to stick to the truth.
Explain what happened to cause your pet to die and not come back. If they simply died of old age, explain that our bodies don’t last forever. It can also help to explain death by using an example of something similar. Talk about how flowers in the yard grow in the spring, and bloom, and then they die at the end of the season.
If possible, you can also talk to them about death before it happens. If your dog or cat has an illness or condition where you know they’ll need to be put down soon, you can talk to them about how the vet has done everything they could, that the pet isn’t going to get better, and that they will die peacefully, without any pain, and without being scared.
Avoid Certain Phrases
It’s natural for parents to want to ease the pain of losing a pet, but avoid telling children that the pet went to sleep and won’t wake up again, or that they went away. Telling your child that they went to sleep, or got put to sleep could cause your child to not want to go to sleep at night. They may also not want to leave the house since their pet went away and never came back.
Listen to Your Child’s Feelings
Your child will undoubtedly be confused and have questions, but it can be hard for children to express their feelings when the concept of death is so new to them. Try to answer any questions as simply and honestly as you can. And keep in mind that it’s OK if you don’t have an answer — the truth about death is that it is still somewhat a mystery.
Celebrate Your Pet’s Life
Just because the pet isn’t physically in your life anymore, doesn’t mean it should be forgotten. Give your child a chance to remember and celebrate the pet’s life. Look through pictures of the pet, talk about special memories, or plan on having a memorial item made with their paw print that can be displayed for your child to see.
Contact Heavenly Paws Pet Aquamation For Pet Cremation Services
Heavenly Paws offers a natural way to cremate your beloved pet that saves more of your pet’s ashes. An environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional flame-based cremation, we utilize an alkaline hydrolysis process that uses the natural salt found in the soil to cremate the pet’s body.
Losing a pet is hard no matter how it died — choose a method of pet cremation that is more natural, making it easier to explain to your child. Learn more about our pet aquamation services, and call Heavenly Paws today in Peachtree Corners.