Dying dogLosing a pet may have the same impact as losing a loved one. For some people, it may even hurt more because their pet is their companion–someone who’s been with them for years even when others weren’t. The unconditional love given by pets is one thing owners will miss, and the empty house is an ongoing pain point.

As a veterinarian, you can help your clients deal with pet loss through the following:

Send Sympathy Cards

It may not seem like much, but sympathy cards still do their purpose: to let people know that they are not alone in their suffering. You remember their pet with them, and as the pet owner and the veterinarian, you have shared some moments together. As you fill out the veterinary sympathy cards, choose a good memory you’ve had with the pet to remember them by.

Inform Them of Pet Bereavement Services

There are groups people can join to help bear the loss of a loved one. Now, there are also group counseling sessions for those who have lost a pet and find it hard to deal with it on their own. It wouldn’t hurt you to help your clients deal with the loss while also meeting new people who understand what they are going through.

Suggest a Way to Move Forward

It may not seem like the best idea after a recent pet loss, but for some, getting a new pet is recommended. This is especially true if they’ve lost their only companion at home. If you don’t think they’re ready to move on from the loss, suggest getting a low-maintenance pet. For instance, you can suggest that they get a goldfish; this way, they get back into the swing of caring for someone, but they wouldn’t have to disrespect the memories of their beloved canine.

The grief that comes with pet loss has no expiration date. A pet owner can grieve as long as they need to, but you can help them slowly ease out of it.