When a friend or family member loses a loved one, it’s a no-brainer that you should reach out and say, “Sorry for your loss.” You might do this by sending a sympathy card or getting them a sympathy gift. If the loved one who died happens to be a pet, the etiquette doesn’t change.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- DIY Pet Loss Gift Basket Ideas
- Store-Bought Pet Loss Gift Basket Ideas
- Pet Loss Gift Basket Ideas for Children
People value pets as members of their families. So when a pet dies, the loss can hit them just as hard as the death of a human that they loved. Here, we’ve compiled several pet sympathy gifts and pet sympathy gift baskets you can get for someone who has lost a beloved family pet.
DIY Pet Loss Gift Basket Ideas
A homemade or DIY gift can be a thoughtful gesture to someone who has lost a cherished pet. DIY pet loss gift baskets often feature personal mementos of the deceased pet. Here are some thoughtful gift basket ideas you can assemble on your own.
1. Food basket
People who are grieving sometimes don’t have the energy to do simple chores like shopping and cooking. But they need to keep their strength up.
Bringing them a basket of food can help them find nourishment during a difficult time. There are many different kinds of food-related gift baskets you can assemble. They include:
People who are grieving sometimes struggle to eat in the aftermath of a death. Loss of appetite is a common side effect of grief. When a person dies, people will bring casseroles and groceries to their loved ones. But that might not occur after the death of a pet. One way you can help people overcome a loss of appetite is by getting them food that you know will appeal to them.
Put together a gift basket with some of their favorite snack foods. Even if they don’t have the appetite for a full meal, they might be inclined to snack on something they usually enjoy.
While snacks are good to ease people back into eating, they aren’t always practical. You can also assemble a gift basket with ingredients for simple meals they can prepare.
A good example of this is a pasta basket. You can put packages of several different types of dry pasta and an assortment of homemade or prepared jarred sauces. You can even include loaves of bread to make garlic bread as a side dish. If you know the recipients will be home, you can also include perishable items like meat, cheese, and veggies to round out the meal.
A gift like this gives someone all the tools they need to throw together several hearty meals for their family without worrying about meal planning or shopping. It can be just the break they need during a hard time.
2. Memorial gift basket
One great way to honor a pet is to create a pet memorial in their honor. You can help give the pet owner in your life the tools they need to put something like this together.
You can get an empty photo frame with paw prints or other pet-friendly imaging on it so they can put a favorite photo of their pet in it. You can also get them a shadow box where they can display artifacts that represent their pet, like a collar, tags, and a favorite toy. Include printouts of instructions for how to put together a DIY memorial shadow box. You can even add a personalized urn if you know they plan to cremate their pet.
Whatever you get, put it together in a beautiful decorative box. They can even use that to put away items that remind them of their late pet, like leashes or pet food bowls. This thoughtful gift can help them memorialize their pet in a way that works best for them.
3. Photo and memory jar gift basket
Sometimes the hardest thing for people about losing a pet is knowing all the things they’ll miss out on in the future. It’s hard knowing they won’t get to create any new memories with their furry friends. You can help ease that sting by putting together a gift basket that captures memories they may have forgotten.
Reach out to other friends and family members to see if anyone has pet photos that the owner may not have. You can frame one and put others in a little photo album.
You can also get friends and family members to write down memories of the late pet and put them in a memory jar. If the pet owner frequently brought the pet on outings, people may have special memories of certain days the owner has forgotten.
They can revisit the slips of papers in the memory jar to be reminded of the special times they shared. It can also help them to see that their pet had a significant impact on others as well as themselves.
Store-Bought Pet Loss Gift Basket Ideas
DIY sympathy baskets aren’t always feasible. Even if you didn’t have a personal relationship with the pet, you may care enough about the person to make a gesture. Or if the person lives far away, it may be more practical to ship a gift basket from a retailer. Here are some suggestions for store-bought gift baskets that are still thoughtful.
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4. Fruit basket
Earlier, we talked about the importance of making sure people stay fed and nourished while they’re grieving. If your loved one lives far away, it might not be practical to send them a gift basket with homemade food items. But you can still send wholesome food.
Many companies offer gift baskets that feature fresh fruit arranged like a sympathy bouquet. You can send tropical fruits or chocolate-dipped strawberries. It’s a great way to show someone that you care about them. Little things like that are so important when someone is grieving.
5. Self-care gift basket
When people are grieving, they don’t always take the best care of themselves. A gift basket with self-care items can remind your loved one about the importance of taking some alone time.
6. Outdoor-themed gift basket
If your friend’s pet loved the outdoors, you could get your friend a gift basket with an outdoor theme. Include items like personalized garden stakes or garden stones with a pet’s name engraved on them or add a memorial tree to plant in their honor.
Another sweet option is a personalized wind chime. Every time the wind blows, it’ll serve as a lasting memorial to a loved pet.
Pet Loss Gift Basket Ideas for Children
Children often have an especially hard time dealing with the death of a pet. The loss of a pet is some kids’ first personal experience with death. They may need some extra TLC during this difficult time. These kid-appropriate gift baskets can help a young person in mourning for a dear furry friend.
7. Book and activity basket
Sometimes the best way to help kids deal with something sad is to offer them some distractions. Pack a gift basket with age-appropriate puzzle and activity books to help them take their minds off their loss.
You can also include some pet loss books for children to help them process their loss. Mixing these in with more neutral books and activities can help mitigate the sense of loss. At the very least, it allows kids to take a break from a heavy subject matter.
8. Comfort basket
Many kids find comfort cuddling with their pets. Ironically, at the time in their life when they need the most comfort, they may not have a pet to cuddle with. You can help by filling a basket with kid-appropriate comfort items.
It can include things like a soft blanket, fuzzy socks, and a stuffed animal. You can select a stuffed animal that resembles their late pet. Or you can get a brightly colored stuffed animal that doesn’t resemble the pet at all if you’re afraid an animal in the pet’s likeness will make the child sad. You can always ask the parent for advice on which is the preferred option.
9. Paint by number pet portrait basket
Several companies offer a service that allows you to turn a picture of your pet into a paint-by-number portrait.
You can commission one of these, and then gift it to a child along with some nice paints and brushes. The kids will be able to process their grief through this unique, therapeutic art form.
Sympathy Gift Basket Ideas for the Death of a Pet
It’s always hard to see a friend or loved one grieving a death. The death of a pet can hit just as hard as the death of a person.
People have unique and special relationships with their pets, and that connection deserves recognition. If you don’t know what to get someone who lost a dog or other pet, these pet sympathy gift baskets are a great solution and can bring real solace.