Pet loss is an industry that deserves all deathcare workers’ attention.
Why? You might ask.
Not only is it an opportunity for creating another stream of revenue for your funeral business, but there’s more to the story.
It seems that the opportunities to support families through the grieving of their pets is a largely untapped form of service to step into.
Many pet owners report not having support around their pet loss (we’ll speak more on this below). So let’s step up as a profession and offer our families grief support in all forms of grief!
Without further adieu, here are 15 facts on the pet loss industry… may they inspire you in the way you continue to serve your families:
#1: First off, almost everyone has a pet… especially after COVID!
There are more than 455 million cats and dogs owned as pets worldwide (source).
#2: Pet cemeteries are already popular
Today, there are 400 pet cemeteries in the USA (source).
#3: With increased pet ownership, comes increased pet loss
#4: Pet loss is a largely untapped industry in the U.S.
In 2019, only around 15% of the funeral homes in America offer pet death care services (source).
#5: And the pet loss industry is still growing!
The U.S. pet industry continued its strong advance in 2021, surging 14% overall to $123 billion (source).
#6: Pet cremation seems to be more popular than burial
Survey respondents included 2043 dog and/or cat owners (41.4% male, 57.9% female) of which 68% had made cremation decisions and 32% had made burial decisions for at least one pet in the past (source).
#7: Most everyone would like help in their time of loss
Over 95% of these owners reported feeling that it is important to work with an after-death body care service (source).
#8: Relationships with local veterinarians are key for success in the pet loss industry
In terms of guidance, most owners indicated they rely on their veterinary team to help them with end-of-life decisions and orchestrating arrangements on their behalf with pet aftercare services/companies (source).
#9: Many people are not accustomed to relying on funeral workers to help them process their pet’s death
#10: Pet loss grief is just as harsh on the heart as human loss
Some studies have found that levels of grief following a pet’s loss were comparable to levels of grief following the loss of a human (source).
#11: Grief of a pet could last even longer than that of a human loss
Research shows the period of grief associated with the loss of a companion animal may be even longer than with a person (source).
#12: Experts believe that pet grief could persist for up to one year
Symptoms of acute grief after the loss of a pet can last from one to two months, with symptoms of grief persisting up to a full year (on average) (source).
#13: Those grieving pets tend to suffer from depression following the event of the loss
People who had recently lost a pet were three times more likely to report symptoms of depression than the normal population (source).
#14: Broken heart syndrome is a real scientific thing
The New England Journal of Medicine reported in October 2017 that after her dog died, a woman experienced “broken heart syndrome”—a condition in which the response to grief is so severe the person exhibits symptoms that mimic a heart attack, including elevated hormone levels that can be 30 times greater than normal (source).
#15: Those grieving a pet need just as much support as those grieving humans!
Other studies have found that social support is a crucial ingredient in recovering from grief of all kinds (source).
The pet loss industry is a huge opportunity for death care workers to consider tapping into. Whether you get into pet cremation, or start offering grief support for pet owners, we highly recommend putting yourself out there in this growing industry!
Looking for the right website platform to include your pet services into your website? Check out how Pray Funeral Home offers their pet services below.
If you’re interested in learning more about the f1Connect website platform, reach out to one of our Funeral Success Specialists today!
Do you offer pet loss support services at your funeral business? Tell us about it in the comments below!