Direct Line magazine

Would you take time off work to mourn your dog?

Updated on: 10 December 2020

A pet gravestone.

Losing a pet can feel like losing a member of your family. They’re with you for years and years, through good times and bad.

But would you take time off work to mourn your pet’s passing?

We decided to do some research, and here’s what we found out…

Do owners take time off work when their dog dies?

Yes, they do - 49% according to research by Direct Line.

Of the owners asked, 35% took just one day, while 29% took two days off.

And nearly one in five British dog owners took a week off to deal with the grief – highlighting the deep-rooted bonds we have with our pets.

How much time do owners take off?

How much time dog owners take off work when their pet dies

Who is most likely to take time off work?

A third of dog owners aged between 20-29 have taken a week off, compared to just 7% of those between 30-39. This might be because younger owners grow up with their dogs, which makes their passing even more difficult.

And as for the difference between genders; according to our research, women are more likely to take time off work than men – 21% compared to 14%.

What reasons do owners give for the time off?

Do owners tell the truth about their time off and explain their dog’s passing, or do they make up another excuse?

Out of the owners we asked, 60% told the truth.

However, 17% took the time off as annual leave, 12% rang in sick and 10% said there’d been a family bereavement (1% didn’t know - maybe the grief took over).

Although women are more likely to take time off work, they’re also more honest about it. 64% of women told their employer the truth, compared to 39% of men.

Losing a pet can be a real trauma

If you’ve ever lost a pet, you’ve probably come across someone who just doesn't get it. They’ll snigger, or shrug their shoulders, without realising that you’ve said goodbye to a member of your family.

If someone asks you ‘what’s the big deal?’ don’t get drawn into an argument. If people think your grief is inappropriate then let them think it, and move on. Perhaps they’ve never experienced the true companionship of a pet.

If you want to chat to somebody about your loss, then your dog insurance may offer a bereavement helpline, so you can talk through your grief and get the support you need.

Time to get a new pet?

Don’t rush it.

When we asked about getting a new dog, 47% chose a different breed. It makes sense that if you get the same breed, then you’ll always be making comparisons.

However, 63% believe their new dog will never be able replace the one that died.

Losing a pet is hard and everyone deals with it differently. Don’t listen to people when they tell you to ‘move on’ or ‘get over it’.

It wasn’t just a dog, it was your dog.

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