It’s a mistake to assume that someone who loses a pet does not suffer the same as someone who loses a human loved one. Many people who lose pets go through the same grieving process as if they had lost a dear friend or family member.
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There are ways to offer condolences for someone who has lost a pet. Just as you may keep a stash of sympathy cards on hand for those who have lost human companions, you can keep sympathy cards for those who have lost pets as well.
Part of your well-wishes may include a sympathy gift. Here are some unique ideas to give to a person who has lost a dog, cat, or another animal companion. Although we divided the list into three sections, many of the gifts would be appropriate for any animal. If you need more inspiration, you can check out our full list of sympathy gift ideas for anyone experiencing loss.
Think of the things you would give to someone who lost a member of their family. Most of these items would also be appropriate gifts for someone who has lost a dog. Here are some ideas.
Keepsake holder for the dog’s collar
If you have lost a pet, you know that it would be impossible for you to part with the deceased animal’s collar and tags. Some of the ideas involve DIY projects. Perhaps you could create a circular photo frame out of the collar. You may want to purchase a shadow box where the collar, like this Pet Collar Keepsake Frame (pictured above). and tag can be artfully displayed along with a photo.
You can also buy specially-made frames that allow you to insert the dog’s collar and tag below an image of the animal.
These gifts are sure to be treasured keepsakes for years.
Granted, this may not be an appropriate choice of a sympathy gift for all of your friends. But perhaps some of your friends would love to tattoo an image of their dog somewhere on their bodies. Or maybe they would love to simply commemorate the passing by tattooing the name of the animal with the birth and death dates.
If you aren’t sure how your friend would react to such a gift, ask before you purchase a gift card to a local tattoo studio. Also, make sure the artist specializes in animal images before committing to a particular tattooist.
Aren't ready for a commitment? Try designing your tattoo at home, then print it out on this printable temporary tattoo paper.
Search online for individuals who specialize in pet portraits. Check out the artist’s portfolio and ask for an approximate delivery date. Most artists are happy to work from photographs, so the person does not have to be from your local area. Be sure to budget for the framing costs before committing to the portrait.
Or, you're looking for something extra-memorable and affordable, try this pet portrait on hand-stretched canvas that's pictured above.
Most dog owners would love receiving this one-of-a-kind gift.
You may be able to find a perfect replica of your friend’s dog at a local toy store. Many companies have full lines of stuffed animals that are made to look like each breed. If your friend’s dog had a unique look, you could also search online for a company that creates one-of-a-kind stuffed animals based on the images you provide, like this Douglas Alps Bernese Moutain Dog Stuffed Animal from Amazon.
Your friend may choose to display the collar of their lost companion on the stuffed animal you purchase.
You can search Amazon or your local bookstore for books that celebrate pets and animals. There are also many children’s books about losing pets with beautiful illustrations that may comfort your adult friend.
There are also books designed to assist people in going through the grieving process after the loss of an animal.
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Don’t forget to send love to those who have lost their cats. Here are some unique ideas for those who are missing their kitties.
Even though these gifts are mostly exclusive to pet owners, you could also send a bouquet to your friend just as you would send flowers to a funeral.
Jewelry is the perfect gift for someone in mourning. It’s a personal gift that will remind the wearer of their faithful companions.
Although any piece of jewelry depicting a heart would be appropriate, you can also easily find pet-specific jewelry, like this Pet Cremation Urn Necklace from Amazon. You may also search for bracelets made out of the colors of the rainbow to remind the wearer of the rainbow bridge.
Some pet jewelry pieces allow the wearers to enclose clippings of the pet’s hair or cremation ashes within the charm or locket. That way, your friend will be able to keep a piece of her loved one close to her heart.
If your friend often posted pet photos on social media, use those images to create a photo book or other photo gifts. You may consider using the pictures to create mugs (like this You Left Paw Prints On My Heart Personalized Mug from Amazon), t-shirts, calendars, blankets, mousepads, or canvas prints.
Almost every company that prints photos offers these other options too.
Why not purchase a memorial statue for your friend who lost a pet? The figure, like this Cat with Wings Garden Statue, can be specific to the breed or can display a comforting verse about our favorite four-legged companions.
Consider having the statue personalized with the name of your friend’s pet as well as the birth and death dates. Your gift might be used as a headstone if your friend chose to bury the remains of the animal in the backyard.
Pet sympathy baskets
Several online companies sell sympathy baskets designed explicitly for cat or dog lovers. The baskets, like this Pet Loss Care Package from Amazon, may include a variety of things such as photo frames, candles, or signs with pet-related quotes.
You could also consider making your own basket. Search your local fabric store for cat-related fabric to line the interior of the basket.
Fill in the blank books
These fill-in-the-blank books, like this I Wrote a Book About You — A fun, fill-in-the-blank book from Amazon, leave ample room for people to write about the “gotcha” day. Pet owners can also write about their pet’s favorite activities, places, or people.
This gift will not only act as a keepsake for your friend, but it will also enable him or her to progress through the grieving process.
Even though most pet owners have dogs or cats, some of your friends may have more exotic pets. It may be challenging to find specific gifts for more exotic pets, but you should still express condolences to your friend in some way.
Whether you send flowers with a sympathy note or a simple card, your friend will appreciate your thoughtfulness.
Flower seeds with a personalized garden stake
This simple gift can leave a lasting impact. Purchase a package of flower seeds, like this Hummingbird & Butterfly Wildflower Seed Mix, with the instructions to plant them someplace special. You may also include a garden stake to place in the ground that displays the name of the animal your friend recently lost.
Your friend will be reminded of a beloved pet every time he or she sees the flowers blooming.
If your friend lost a dog or cat, you would not have any problem finding a garden stepping stone commemorating those animals. If your friend lost a more exotic pet, you might consider creating a stepping stone from a kit you can purchase at your local craft store, or check out this Midwest Products Pet Photo Stepping Stone Kit from Amazon.
Again, you may consider personalizing the stone with the name of the pet.
Some people purchase a personalized ornament, like this Pet Memorial Ornament from Amazon, every time they lose someone special to them. Consider doing this for your friend who recently lost a pet.
You may have a difficult time finding an ornament shaped in the image of an exotic animal. Instead, consider purchasing a heart-shaped ornament and personalizing it with the name of the pet.
Your phone, wallet, and keys. Every time you leave your house, you always bring these three items.
Why not give a personalized keychain, like this Remembrance Memorial Keychain with a Photo Frame, to your friend who recently lost a pet? Your friend will be constantly reminded of a beloved animal, as well as your thoughtfulness.
It is entirely appropriate to bring dinner or cookies to the home of someone who lost a family member. Why not do the same for someone who lost a dear pet?
This simple gift will tell your friend that you are thinking of him. Make the gift extra special and bake the item yourself. If you're not a baker, try sending this Variety Box of 12 Cookies from The Cravory.
Perhaps your friend has several pieces of memorabilia associated with the pet they recently lost.
Purchase a decorative box, like this Love-KANKEI Wooden Shadow Box and Display Case and personalize it with the name of the animal. Your friend will be able to store photos, collars, ashes, or other items in the box.
Acknowledging the Loss of a Pet
Since some of these gifts will take time to personalize, you may want to send a card or flowers immediately after the death. If you wait, your friend may feel alone in their grief for some time. Explain to your friend that a personalized gift is coming later.
Do not ignore the death of a pet. You can still be supportive and say the right thing after their pet’s death. Your friend is grieving, and if you value your friendship, you should try to bring solace to this important person in your life. Check on your friend more often than usual. They’re likely going through a tough time.