The Seven Superstitions Grieving Pet Owners May Wish to Observe

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The First Seven Days After The Pet’s Death

According to local customs, the seven days after a pet’s passing (竉物頭七)mark the transitory period before their souls cross over to a different plane of existence (極樂淨土). Their final day (往生日) ends at 11pm, upon which their death day (生日翌日) officially commences. From 11pm onwards, their spiritual presence lingers around their owner and home until they come to terms with their mortality on the seventh day.

To ensure a successful and peaceful transition, there are seven
bad omens to guard against:

1. Moving the body
2. Summoning by their name
3. Wetting the body
4. Warming or wrapping the body
5. Excessively expressing grief
6. Ignoring the needs of other pets
7. Making inappropriate offerings

1. Moving the body

It is crucial that you do not move or touch your pet’s body within 8 hours
of its death. Rather, one should place it in a plastic bag or box and wait for
professional funereal staff to collect it. Disturbing the remains of the pet not only has adverse spiritual implications for the pet, but may also bring bad luck to the pet owners.

2. Summoning by their name

As the soul of a pet does not yet show of its passing before the seven
days elapse, it does not know to leave. Though painful, it is the owner’s duty to help their pets let go. The tether of the mortal realm is strengthened when their owner summons them by
their names, to their emotional detriment, and thus should not be spoken aloud. For this reason, it is also recommended that the owner does not leave too many of the pet’s favored objects at home, such as their snacks and toys, as their souls may be confused and unsettled by reminders of worldly possessions.

3. Wetting the body

Letting their bodies come into contact with water, such as bathing, will
accelerate the decomposition of the body, and trigger the prolapse of their internal organs. To avoid the grotesque and traumatic complication while keeping the body hygienic, one should only wipe the body gently with a damp towel and run a dry comb through the fur.

4. Heating or wrapping the body

Similarly, the act of wrapping the pet with a blanket may speed up
Additionally, the material may adhere to the body, which results in
imperfect cremation.

5. Owner’s heartbreak

The owner’s pain will discourage the pet from moving on. As hard as it is,
it is of paramount importance for the owner to take care of themselves after their pet’s passing. By relieving the pet of worried yearning, they are encouraged to move on and make new connections.

6. Neglecting the needs of surviving pets

In a household with multiple pets, the death of one will be acutely felt by
the others. Depriving surviving pets of adequate attention and care during this period of vulnerability could potentially cause them distress, leading to both physical and emotional complications.

7. Making inappropriate offerings

Finally, the making of sacrifices are core to our cultural rituals, and if
carefully executed, could bring great relief to both the pet and the owner. Within 100 days of their passing, the owner may offer flowers and food that their pet had enjoyed in their lifetime. After the 100th day, the owner ought to substitute the sacrifices with food to be consumed by humans. It is redundant to supply prescription feeds and pre-prepare meals- upon release of their mortal coils, their good health is not burdened by physical
limitations or illnesses. With regard to fruit offerings, the owner is advised to avoid fruits with too many seeds for safer consumption. It is also taboo to offer guava, pineapple and shakya(by reason of their form resembling razor blades and Buddha’s head respectively)


While the pain of loss is immense, these traditions provide pet owners
with guidance and rituals that may offer comfort and a sense of connection to their departed companions, thus facilitating a smoother healing process for the owner, and potentially for the dearly departed pet.