Death is a difficult concept to comprehend if you haven't been exposed to it before, especially for a young child whose pet has brought so much joy and companionship. Understanding that our little furry friends aren’t with us forever is a hard life lesson.
It's always best to wait until you can talk one-on-one with your children in quiet surroundings. If the loss of your pet is sudden, it's best to explain it calmly and compassionately. Be brief and allow your child to ask questions. Always be honest but at the same time careful with your words and draw on your own understanding of death.
Allowing your child to be involved in saying goodbye to their special friend is a good way to help them cope with their loss. Sweet Goodbye offers the whole family a simple, yet dignified and respectful way to say farewell to your cherished pets at the end of their life. Should your children need additional support, we suggest contacting one of the Pet Loss Support Groups.
Note: Also see Tip #8. "What should I tell my children?" from 10 Tips for Coping with the Loss of a Pet.