College of Veterinary Medicine
Pet Memorial Program

Should I get another pet?

Should I Get Another Pet?The death of a pet can by a devastating loss, especially when euthanasia is involved. Some people feel they will never want another pet. A new pet may help others get over the loss more quickly. Just as grief is a personal experience, the decision of when, if ever, to bring a new pet into your home is also a personal one. If a family member is having difficulty accepting the pet’s death, bringing a new pet into the home before that individual has resolved his or her grief may be a diminishment of the relationship they shared. Family members should come to an agreement about the appropriate time to welcome a new pet into the family. Although the pet you lost can never be replaced, many people are eventually ready to have a new pet share their lives.

Being ready for a new pet varies with everyone, and only you can answer the question of when you should get a new pet. Here are some things to consider as you ponder this important decision. 

Have you and your family worked through your grief?
While of course you will continue to be sad about the loss of your beloved pet, are you ready to create a NEW relationship? For everyone this timeframe is different. Some are ready for a new pet within days to weeks, and for others it may take months or even years before they are ready to open their home again. Some feel they may never be ready for a new pet. 
For others a new pet helps them overcome their loss. And yet, some feel as if they are betraying their old pet by getting another pet. Still others come to resent the new pet because they are not like their old pet. 

This will be a NEW pet
Some people rush out to get a new pet because they dislike the void left by their deceased pet. This can result in shock when despite looking like or being the same bred the new pet is quite unique from the old one. It is also common for people to replace their beloved older dog with a new puppy or kitten, forgetting the work and energy it takes to acclimate a new baby into the family. 

When making this decision, we recommend that you ask yourself if you feel you are at a point in your grief that you can take on the responsibility and open your heart to a new pet. 

Although you can never replace the pet you lost you can get another one to share your life.  When you are ready to consider getting another pet, here are some topics you may wish to consider.