Losing a pet is difficult. Like any death, a person may take significant time (and often help) to fully process the loss and work through that grief. If someone you know has recently lost a pet, you likely want to help them through this grief. Supporting your friend or loved one may involve showing your support in certain ways, from learning how to talk to them to discovering the perfect memorial gift to ease their grief.
If you are looking for a good gift for someone who has lost a pet, we have compiled 15 ideas for pet memorial gifts that we’re sure pet owners will love.
Every pet owner's fear is losing their beloved animal. When your pet is part of the family, it's a loss that can be felt for weeks – if not months – afterward. When the worst happens, feelings of grief and loss are inevitable. They are also completely normal. Everyone grieves in their way and while some symptoms of grief are similar among people, that isn't always the case.
Part of grief is that feeling of loneliness after someone we love has gone. When you lose a pet, that feeling is likely immediate and sharp. Pets are our companions. They are there with us every day. They provide a source of comfort and unconditional love. To be suddenly without that, it’s only natural to feel loneliness.
Guilt is a normal response to the death of a pet. After all, our pets are completely reliant upon us for every part of their care. We want to make the best decisions for them possible and sometimes we may feel that is not enough.
Specifically, if you had to make the difficult decision to euthanize a pet, you may blame yourself for that decision. If your pet died of illness or disease, you may feel as if you allowed them to suffer. You may even feel guilty when you begin to process your grief and move forward.
These feelings are natural, even if they are not rational. These feelings will begin to lessen as you move through the grieving process.
Everyone grieving goes through the same basic Stages of Grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Much like grieving any other death, someone who has lost a pet will feel these stages in some order – though not necessarily in the same order as someone else - and may behave accordingly. This grief is normal and expected.
For more information about these emotions and how to process them, you can read our helpful article: Grief & Grieving: Healing After Loss Through The Grieving Process
As you may know if you’ve ever experienced this loss, losing a beloved pet is one of the most painful things we experience. After all, it’s never just a pet. The pain a person feels in the aftermath of that loss can be attributed to several factors including these:
For many, losing a pet can be like losing a child. With their shorter lifespans, pets never reach the age of human adulthood; it’s easy to see them as children. They depend on their humans for food, shelter, and care. When they pass, their owner will mourn that loss. For most pet owners, our beloved animals are members of our family and we feel as deeply for them as we do any other member.
A pet may be the only social connection someone has. That is especially true for elderly pet owners. Emotional support animals often have several functions in the lives of their human companions.
Many times, someone might not be able to make the same connections with other humans, whether because of depression, anxiety, or physical disabilities. Through their pet, they can lead a more fulfilling life. When that connection disappears, it can make them feel isolated and alone.
Pets offer unconditional love to their owners over a lifetime of experiences. They love their humans wholly and without reservations. The love between a pet and owner is uncomplicated.
There's no fear of rejection. No anxiety over losing affection. A pet loves their person wholly Losing that connection - and that feeling of total acceptance – is devastating for anyone.
If you know someone who has recently lost a pet, you may not know how best to talk to them. Learning how to talk to someone you care about who is grieving the loss of a pet – and what to say to them – may be more difficult than you expect. If you aren't an animal person, you may not understand their grief. If you are, then you may be able to emphasize but not be able to put that into words. Here are some ways to help someone who is grieving the loss of a pet.
The best thing you can do for them in this circumstance is the same as you could do after any loss – be there for them. Sometimes what a grieving person needs most is simply someone to be there for them. Grief isn’t an experience you can fix for another person. It isn’t easy to come to terms with that, especially if you are a person who wants to help others. Don’t go into the situation expecting to make everything better. Sometimes, showing up is all the help they need.
If nothing else, "I'm sorry for your loss" is a safe way to start a conversation. It can also be the only thing you need to say in the right context. Alternatively, you can say “My condolences for your loss” and couple either phrase with “I know how much your pet meant to you.” Acknowledging their grief and the extent of the loss can help a grieving person come to terms with their own emotions. That can be incredibly helpful for them as it shows other people care about them.
Even if you don’t understand why someone would feel so strongly about the death of an animal, you should still take the time to acknowledge that the grieving person does feel these strong emotions. These emotions are real and validating them is an important part of the grieving process. You can start with the basic sentiment: “I know how much you loved [pet’s name]. They will be greatly missed.” With this, you can acknowledge those feelings of grief and love. You can also try “You and [the pet’s name] were so lucky to have found each other.”
It’s hard to resist the urge to do something that might help you if you were in their situation. However, what works for one person might not be best for everyone. If you want to help a grieving person, it’s important to know what would do that. The easiest way to know is to ask them. “What do you need?” or “What can I do to help you?” are phrases that should be used frequently. Another expression that combines a few of these tips is: “Thinking about you and [the pet’s name]. If there is anything you need just let me know.” You can also try “I am here if you need me” if you feel that is more appropriate. Even if they don’t take your offer, it helps to know they have a support system.
Don’t refer to the person’s pet as “the cat”, “the dog”, or by the type of animal. When talking to the person about their loss, refer to their pet by their name. It’s calloused to do otherwise in the situation.
Many times, we would be better off listening instead of talking. The grieving person most likely needs someone to talk to without judgment or interruption. Sometimes, we all need to get things off our chest to feel better. You may find yourself in one of those times. If that's the case, give the person plenty of room to say what they need to say and let them guide the conversation. You can ask questions about what happened. It may be good for the person to talk through the events. However, it is also good to just let them talk about whatever they need to get off their chests. Sometimes they may not want to talk about it at all. If that's the case, let them talk about something else. They may need a break from heavy conversation or feeling trapped within their grief.
It’s just as important to know what you shouldn’t say as much as what you should. You should avoid using any of these phrases, as they can come across as callous or even disrespectful.
“They are in a better place.” This statement does not help. It just further highlights their loss.
“It was just a pet.” Saying this is the fastest way to alienate your friend/loved one and make them reluctant to discuss anything with you.
“Don’t cry.” You should always let someone cry when they feel sad. Repressing these emotions will only hurt in the long run.
“They were old. It was only a matter of time.” This statement is callous and thoughtless for someone grieving a loss.
“You should think about getting another pet.” / “When are you getting a new pet?” You wouldn't ask a grieving parent when they wanted a new child, would you? These comments are incredibly inconsiderate to anyone's feelings.
When you start thinking about finding the right memorial gift, it’s important to consider a few aspects before you make any purchases. The right gift is always dependent on the person and the situation. For some people experiencing grief after the loss of a pet, the perfect gift features the pet's image. For others, they may not be ready to see even a picture of their pet so soon after the passing. Here are a few tips to help you decide what gift is best.
What kind of gift does this person need right now? That’s an important question to ask before you buy something, especially if the gift has a specific purpose.
You may be considering a gift to be placed on a pet’s grave – like a memorial stone or marker – and need to know whether the recipient already has one of those. If the item will be displayed inside, you should think about personal décor and space options. The same goes for buying something wearable, like a clothing item or jewelry.
The best pet memorial gifts are personal, positive, and often personalized. They combine a person's love of their pet with positive memories and associations that can be appreciated long-term.
The gift may have personal significance to the recipient. It could be based around something specific to the pet: name, species, or a particular memory. It could center around the bond between animals and humans.
We can all appreciate gifts that can be consumed, whether it's food or an experience. However, when it comes to gifts for a grieving person, it's best to find something that is long-lasting and durable.
If you purchase something that can break easily or fades quickly, it can be like losing a pet over again. Many pet owners will transfer some of their feelings over to the memorial gift, making it a very treasured item.
Memorial statues are a great gift for any pet lover. They are versatile and can be placed just about anywhere as well as being a good way to display someone's love of a deceased pet.
Statues can depict many types of pets as well as certain breeds or even coloration. For a basic statue, you can find something as simple as this Cat Pet Memorial Angel Statue. Many shops offer customizable options such as adding the pet's name or a comforting quote.
You can find smaller versions of pet memorial statues designed for indoor use as well. These can be placed in an office, on a desk, or on a shelf in a home.
If someone is renting or plans to move from their current location anytime soon, it may be more difficult for them to install a larger statue or heavier memorial statue on their property. If that's the case, you may have better luck looking into memorial garden stones or something similar as a good gift.
This can be great for someone whose pet spent a lot of time outside or in a specific area. Most of these stones are personalized with information about the pet and can even have photo engraving or even specific quotes put on them.
You can also find them in multiple shapes, including this Paw Prints Remembered Memorial Stone. Memorial stones can be placed in a garden, along a pathway, or even inside your home. They can also be used as pet grave markers.
Personalized gifts are often the best. There are not many keepsakes more personal than a cremation pendant. One of the most versatile styles of cremation jewelry that holds a small amount of ashes, these pet cremation jewelry for ashes are available in a wide assortment of shapes, themes, and materials.
With an option like this Cat Cremation Pendant, you can give your loved one a subtle yet powerful memorial gift that allows them to keep a piece of their beloved pet close with them at all times. With this design – like any others – disguising the true function of the pendant, no one will know that it contains cremation ash. It allows the wearer to hold that memory close.
For those who don’t wear jewelry, you can even find pet cremation keepsakes in the form of a keychain, like our Loved Paw Prints Stainless Steel Keychain.
If you have any questions about how to fill cremation jewelry or choosing the right piece, we have a full guide on cremation jewelry here – The Ultimate Guide On Buying Cremation Jewelry.
When someone is upset or grieving, they want comfort. It is the thing that everyone reaches for when they are lonely or sad. Comfort can take many forms but for most, it may involve feeling comfortable and safe.
With that in mind, a customized photo blanket may offer exactly the kind of comfort someone needs. Photo blankets use photographs submitted by you to print a single image or collage onto the fabric. They are usually made of cozy fleece and are great to snuggle with when someone is feeling lonely or missing their furry best friend.
The easiest way to memorialize a pet’s memory is through photographs. After all, a photo is always worth a thousand words – or so the saying goes. Taking a favorite photo of the pet, you can create a beautiful keepsake with the right frame!
You can find many memorial options online, including those that offer both customizable quotes and information about the pet. One of our favorites includes this Pet Collar Keepsake Frame that allows the recipient to place a photo of their pet alongside their collar in the same box.
Much like fingerprints, paw prints can be collected and immortalized even after a pet has left us. Most vets will take an imprint – whether cast in clay or on paper – of a pet’s paw after they pass away.
There are many ways to take a beloved pet's paw print and turn it into a memorial keepsake. The most obvious include having it cast in clay at their death and incorporating it into a memorial photo frame or another keepsake. However, you can also take an inked impression and use that as well. Using just a photo of that paw print, you can have a custom, colorful print created as a memorial to the pet.
If the recipient likes jewelry but may not want an urn pendant, another option would be to have a photo pendant made for them. If you have a photo of their pet or a picture of them with their pet, then you can have that photo engraved onto the surface of a special necklace or keychain.
For example, this Silver Pet Bone Photo Engraved Pendant is a fantastic option for someone who is grieving the death of a dog. Personalization – like a quote, the dog’s name, or other words – can be engraved on the back, further making it a one-of-a-kind keepsake. This is a beautiful tribute to your friend and their beloved pet and one that is sure to be treasured forever.
Some photo engraved pendants even come in color, allowing you to create a one-of-a-kind jewelry piece that brings life and vibrancy to the pet’s memory. This Pet Gem Stainless Steel Heart Keepsake Pendant, for example, combines color engraving with lovely crystal gemstones to frame the photo.
If you want to create a gift for a grieving loved one without much of a budget, you can always rely on a good, old-fashion scrapbook to put together the best – and most well-loved – moments of a pet and its owner's lives together. Scrapbooks are powerful things! They may sound simple but often takes a lot of time (and love) to create something that can be cherished for years to come.
You can fill the book with photographs, transcribe important information or stories, and other memorabilia that the grieving owner will want to have on hand later. As a full scrapbook is often a lot of work, you can even do something as simple as creating a photo collage.
Art can be a great gift for the right kind of person. It can also make a thoughtful memorial gift if you were to commission a custom pet painting for someone who has recently lost a beloved furry friend.
Usually, an artist will need some reference photographs but should be able to immortalize a pet in watercolor, acrylic, or oil paint. Commissioning art is often costly, but the right artist can create something that will stay with someone for their entire life.
If the recipient appreciates more off-kilter or unique art, you could even consider creating a portrait of a beloved pet done in a costume like those done at Crown & Paw. These custom portraits transform a beloved pet into a regal queen, popular superhero, or even holding a job.
Some people may not be ready for a gift that reminds them of their loss, even if it’s done with the best of intentions. If that is the case, you may want to consider a different kind of present for them. We highly recommend donating in the pet’s name (or on behalf of their owner). There are many national charities in need of donations to increase their work that you might consider. You can look at specific breed rescues, your local shelters, or other organizations focused on pet welfare.
Some organizations offer aid to people who cannot afford veterinarian bills, spay and neuter clinics, and many others. If the pet was adopted from a specific shelter or foster program, you might want to donate directly to that organization to help future animals find good homes. Donating locally is likely to have the biggest impact on your community.
The holidays can be difficult when you are missing a family member, even a furry one. If you are seeking a gift for someone who loves to celebrate the winter holidays, a memorial ornament may be a perfect fit. It is a good way to commemorate any pet during a sentimental and important time of the year.
Moreover, the options for memorial options are nearly endless depending on the preferred style and color of the recipient. These can be simple ornaments with the pet’s name and dates on them to photo ornaments to even those with custom engraving on them. Online retailer Etsy has an entire section of dog memorial ornaments available and also has many cat-specific ones.
As a more unique item on our list, memorial wind chimes are good for someone with a porch or outdoor space they enjoy spending time in. After losing a pet, owners often find themselves missing the sounds their pet made. While they might be little things, the silence can be unsettling or oppressive. Wind chimes offer a good alternative to that sudden quiet. These chimes can be customized with a quote, phrase, and the name of the pet on them. Some vendors off personalized chimes that are engraved with a print or even the likeness of the pet.
Obviously, this option is not for everyone. However, memorial tattoos are increasingly common among younger generations. For someone who would enjoy this kind of memorial, paying for a memorial tattoo (depending on your budget) would be a welcome gift.
It could be something as simple as the imprint of a pet's paw immortalized on the person's body. Elaborate tattoos can feature a larger image of the pet and may even incorporate other meaningful aspects.
This isn’t a gift to be given as a surprise, however! Tattoos are a big decision for many. It would be smart to talk to the person before you purchase a gift card from a local shop. Moreover, you’ll want to make sure you find an artist that matches your friend’s aesthetic and personal style. The best thing about this kind of gift is that it can be given at any point but lets the grieving person schedule their tattoo session on their timeline.
If you are looking for a memorial gift designed for a child – or adult who enjoys such things – you may want to consider a stuffed animal to bring them comfort. Stuffed animals are good for those who liked the cuddle with their animals and may give them something to hold when they are feeling sad.
Cuddle Clones is a company that makes custom stuffed animals designed to look like an existing pet. They specialize in cats and dogs but can create rabbits, birds, and other animals as well! For more cuddly examples, Build-A-Bear has many animal plushies that can be customized to include custom sounds (perhaps a cat’s purr, dog’s bark, or custom message) and accessories. They also have a line of “Promise Pets" that looks slightly more realistic.
If the person struggles to throw away anything related to their deceased pet, you may want to consider getting them a memory box to store the important things. Unlike an urn, a memory box can contain any reminders or keepsakes related to a pet. Pet owners can store photographs, old collars, favorite toys, or even paw prints.
Memory boxes are an excellent way to store beloved items even when the owner cannot look at them or display them now. They come in many styles: from a basic box with a photograph on top to one with custom engraving or even a clay paw print. In some cases, the memory box can also function as an urn.
Once you know what type of gift you might want to consider, it's time to find a reputable place to shop for those gifts. Purchasing pet-themed gifts can be tricky, especially when you aren't sure where to find good quality, affordable items that fit your budget. Here are a few suggestions for where to look.
You can usually find some great gifts in your local area if you take a little time and consider some options you may not immediately think about. You may find local artists specializing in pet-related items, jewelry, or even textiles that may work as a memorial gift.
For local handmade goods, we recommend checking to see if your area has any craft fairs (usually seasonal events) or farmer's markets (typically held weekly or monthly throughout the year). These venues have a variety of gifts and unique items you won't find anywhere else. You could also commission an artist to create something just for you.
Veterinarians are often the best resources for pet-related questions or concerns. They have access to many sources you may not know. Additionally, they may personally know other pet-lovers who have been in similar situations. This gives them an advantage when it comes to finding good gifts for their clients and pet owners in any situation.
For handmade gifts online, Etsy.com is a great place to start. They have shops from global makers that offer unique – or even one-of-a-kind – gifts for just about every occasion. There are entire sections devoted to pets, pet supplies, and so much more. You'll find just about everything on this site, although we urge you to always read the reviews before you buy!
Many online retailers have pet memorial gifts. Some of these are customizable items while others are more basic in some way. For example, Chewy.com is a comprehensive resource for everything pet-related. They have some basic pet memorial items in stock. If you want something personalized to a greater degree, you might try searching for specific terms or items. You will find companies that specialize in all sorts of products and services. At Everlasting Memories, we have customizable memorial jewelry for pets and humans alike, with an emphasis on photoengraving and cremation jewelry. With other companies, you'll find memorial blankets, customizable puzzles, and many other items.
Once again, it is always important to read the reviews for any online retailer. You should make sure you know their shipping rates, times, and any other important information before you make a purchase!
The best thing you can do for someone who has lost a pet is to be there for them. When someone is grieving, they need to know that there are people who care about them and want to support them. Letting a grieving person know that you want to be there for them, even in their moments of sadness and grief, can make all the difference to a person.
Let them know that you understand why they are hurting and ask them what they need. If you want to help someone after the loss of a pet, you should make time for them and prioritize them (and their feelings) whenever you can.
Absolutely. Losing a beloved pet is much like losing any other member of the family. As most pet lovers will tell you, their pets are an extension of their family and likely have an important place within them. Losing anyone you love is hard, whether they are human or animal. It is normal to feel loneliness, isolation, and pain after the death of a pet. We should not expect these emotions to go away immediately, either. Grief can linger. That is also normal.
Yes. Everyone grieving goes through the same basic Stages of Grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Much like grieving any other death, someone who has lost a pet will feel these stages in some order – though not necessarily in the same order as someone else - and may behave accordingly. This grief is normal and expected.
Gifts are a very subjective thing, depending on the person you are buying for and their tastes. However, we do have a few gift ideas for someone grieving the loss of a pet. These include:
Please check out our full list above for other gift ideas for grieving pet owners.
When talking to someone who has just lost a pet, the most important thing you can do is let them know that you acknowledge and understand the source of their grief. It can be difficult to know what words don’t sound hollow or disingenuous.
“I am sorry for your loss.” This acknowledges that the pet was important to them and a member of the household.
“[Pet] was such a great [animal]. I know how much you loved them.” This statement acknowledges the bond between them and that the person was a good pet owner who took care of their animal.
“What do you need?” / “What can I do to help you?” This lets the person know that you are willing to help them and are there for them.
"Can you tell me about [your pet]?" Encourage them to talk about the pet (if they feel comfortable doing so). You can ask for any funny or cute stories to help them remember the good times with their pet.
Use the pet's name when talking about them. If someone or something has a name, it's a courtesy to use it when speaking about them.
Knowing what not to say to someone who has lost a pet is just as important as knowing what to say. You should avoid making the situation about you or disregard any of their emotions If you say any of these things, you may unconsciously make them feel worse about the situation or, even worse, damage your relationship with them. Here are some phrases you should always avoid:
“He/She is in a better place.” This doesn't make it any better. It just further highlights their loss.
“It was just a [dog/cat/rabbit/horse/etc].” This is the fastest way to alienate your friend/loved one and make them reluctant to discuss anything with you. It can also damage your relationship with that person, as it makes them feel as if their feelings aren’t valid.
“When are you getting a new pet?” You wouldn’t ask a grieving parent when they were having a new child, would you? This is incredibly inconsiderate to anyone’s feelings.
“It’s a good thing you have other pets.” While you might be trying to put things into perspective, it does not help.
No. You should not assume that giving someone a new pet will help them get through their grief. People need time to process loss. Do not give someone a new pet unless they have expressed interest in a new companion. If you have any further questions about this topic, please visit our guide Is it time for a new pet?.
For many people, losing a pet is very similar to losing a loved one. For many people, pets are like family. Losing them can feel much the same as it would losing a child or beloved friend. Pets offer uncomplicated companionship that is unmatched for many (including children and elderly individuals who may spend much of their time at home). It is normal to view pets this way. Even non-pet lovers should be able to understand a person’s grief even if they do not experience it.
What we call acute grief – the strong feelings of loss, sadness, and loneliness that occur right after a loss can last between one to two months after losing a pet. Anyone experiencing the loss of a pet should give themselves time to grieve fully and not rush the process.
To get over the loss of a beloved pet, you should give yourself time and space to grieve. Rushing the process or pretending as if you aren’t experiencing these emotions can lead to prolonged grief or negative emotions later.
It’s natural to want to help the people we love through times of grief and sorrow. Anyone who has lost a beloved pet can tell you how important this support is during these difficult times. Sometimes, showing someone you care can include a gift. Having a token or memento of a beloved pet is an excellent way to keep them close and share their memory with those who loved them. We hope this guide gives you a good basis for navigating this difficult time and helping your loved ones cope with their grief and loss.
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June 21, 2022 by Frances Kay