First, I have to say it’s very compassionate of you to actually research online for what to say when someone loses a pet. It shows you truly care and want to do the right thing. If you’ve ever experienced the loss of a pet yourself, then you know how painful it can be.
While nothing can take away a person’s sadness when they lose a pet, there are some things you can say and do that will be comforting and helpful. We’ll discuss these here, and at the end of this article I’ll tell you about the best pet loss gesture I’ve ever received!
What to Say When a Pet Dies
Many people experiencing grief over the loss of a pet need to tell their story. It’s an important part of the grieving process and helps them to heal. One of the best things you can do is listen. And if you sense that they want to keep talking about their pet, you might talk about some of your own positive memories of the pet. Just being there can be extremely helpful.
Focus on acknowledging their loss, saying something specific about their pet, and offering to help, listen, and be there.
A few things you could say to offer comfort are:
- You’re in my thoughts and prayers
- I’m here for you as you navigate this difficult time
- Our pets hold such a special place in our hearts and lives
- I’m here any time you want to talk
You could say something specific about the pet such as, “Duke was such a great dog,” or “Blackey was such a beautiful cat.” And if you loved their pet and are grieving as well, don’t be afraid to express that. It can be helpful for people to know they’re not alone in their sadness. Just do it briefly so as not to trigger any more pain for them.
Don’t say you know how they feel or that you went through the same thing. When a person is in the throes of fresh grief, they can’t imagine anyone ever experiencing the pain they’re feeling. Don’t say, “At least your pet had a long life,” or “He’s in a better place.” These things just don’t help to relieve their pain. Don’t say things like, “Well at least you have other pets,” or “You can always get another pet.” Having remaining pets doesn’t make up for the loss of one. And getting a new pet can’t replace the one they’ve just lost, nor can they even come close to thinking about that yet.
Don’t say anything that implies they should get over it or heal within a short time like, “You’ll feel better soon.” Especially when the loss is fresh, they feel like they’ll never, ever heal or feel better.
It’s best to express sympathy by calling the person or speaking to them in person. But here are examples of what to email, text or send on social media:
I was so sad to hear about the loss of Fluffy. She was such a sweet and beautiful cat and I know she meant so much to you. I loved how she got excited whenever I came to visit. Please don’t hesitate to call me if you need to talk. I’m here for you.
I just found out about the loss of Zak. He was such a happy dog and I know you’ll miss him terribly. I know he’ll always have a special place in your heart. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.
Grieving the Loss of a Pet
Other ways to help someone experiencing the loss of a pet are:
Make a donation to an animal charity in their pet’s name. The ASPCA has a program where you can make a donation in a pet’s name. I did this when I lost my miniature doxy, Taz (that’s her in the pic.) You can request that a card be sent to the pet owner with a note saying that a donation was made in the pet’s name. To do a pet memorial donation to the ASPCA, click here: https://secure.aspca.org/donate/memorial.
Consider pet sympathy gifts. You can get some ideas for this on Amazon. You might consider something like an engraved necklace like the ones found HERE. Pet loss books can be helpful. You can find a nice selection of pet loss books, for adults and for children, on Amazon.
Provide a pet memorial gift. You can find wonderful ideas for pet memorials HERE.
Suggest helpful resources. Use your own judgment on this one based on your relationship with the person and whether or not you’d be overstepping. But if you think they’d be comfortable with it, you might offer links to pet loss websites such as, Center for Pet Loss Grief. This website has a ton of resources for people experiencing pet loss. You might also share my article on this website (includes video) called, Grieving Over the Loss of Your Pet – Coping Tips and Comfort.
The Best Pet Loss Gesture I Ever Received
Several years ago, when I lost my cat of 20 years (that’s her in the pic), the vet’s office sent me a sympathy card. I was blown away for three reasons: First, no one had ever sent me a pet sympathy card before. Second, it was signed by everyone who worked at the vet’s office! And third, it contained a poem called, The Rainbow Bridge. That poem has helped me more than anything else whenever I’ve lost a pet.
You can find a selection of pet sympathy cards on Amazon. And you can click below to request a printable copy of The Rainbow Bridge poem. I send a sympathy card with this poem enclosed whenever anyone I know loses a pet, because I know how much it meant to me when I received it!
I Hope This Helped!
Expressing sympathy to someone who has lost a pet can be a bit tricky. You want to help, but you don’t want to sound cliche’ or say something that will trigger more pain for them. Focus on acknowledging their loss, saying something specific about their pet, and offer to listen. Just being there for the person is truly the best thing you can do.
I Donate to Animal Charities
Thank you for visiting my website. I donate 10% of all commissions I earn on this website to animal charities. You can see a list of the charities I donate to here. If you like this website, please share it with your friends – every purchase helps animals! Debra 🙂