How Long Should I Wait to get a New Pet After a Loss?

We never really get over the loss of our best friends but there comes a time for some when we are ready to love again. Our pets are our companions, they hold a piece of our hearts in their paws. This is why the decision to get a new pet should come after you have properly grieved your pet who has passed and after assessing what you and your family are looking for in a pet at your current season of life.

There is no set period of  time when it is right to bring home a new pet. It will be a unique decision that each family makes. Some people wait for days to weeks, while others hold out for months to years. Some people may even decide they no longer wish to have a dog or a cat and are looking for a different kind of pet to fit their situation. While it is a very personal choice, these general guidelines can help anyone as they ponder the decision.

  • The first thing to consider is that the grieving process is a natural and normal part of life that is essential in order to move on after loss. Sadness and even anger are a natural response and even feelings of relief are appropriate when your pet has suffered a long term illness. It is important to allow time for the various stages and emotions of grief to take place and waiting until you feel a sense of peace before welcoming a new pet into the home. Otherwise, you may find yourself projecting negative emotions onto the new pet as well as having unrealistic expectations of them.


  • Take into account the other people in your household including spouses, children, roommates and so on. Consider where they are in the grieving process and ask for their input before making a decision. Since the new member of the family will have an impact upon all of them, be sure to discuss what kind of pet will suit you all best and where to get the new pet, etc.


  • Consider any other pets you have in the household as well before you add another pet to your home. Remember, dogs, cats, and other pets grieve too when they have lost their beloved family member. Your pet may feel sad and lonely,  have a loss of appetite and even fall ill. Keep a close eye on your pet’s progress and make sure that they are back to selves again before welcoming a new pet into your home.


  • Take a moment to look at what season of life you find yourself in or that you may be entering into soon. Are you planning any travel or time consuming activities to your schedule, such as going back to school or having a new baby? The addition of a new pet to your life will most likely require more time and energy from the family, especially if the pet needs potty training. Consider when you and your family will be able to devote the necessary time to raising a new pet and try to plan accordingly.


  • Depending on the type of pet you choose, there will be varying levels of involvement and responsibility. New puppies and kittens will need potty training and may not do well alone for long periods of time. Your pet will need time to adjust to your routines. Dogs will need regular walks outdoors. Depending on the breed of dog, some may need more exercise than you are used to, especially if your previous dog was a senior. You will enjoy your pet much more when it is able to receive the proper care that it needs.


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