Dogs are more than just pets. They’re like a member of the family. When a beloved dog dies, people grieve as deeply as they do after losing a human friend or family member. If you have a friend or loved one whose dog has recently died, you will want to offer them comfort.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- DIY Gifts for Loss of a Dog
- Gift Basket Ideas for Someone Who Lost Their Dog
- Last-Minute Gifts for Someone Who Lost Their Dog
You can use some of the same gestures to console them that you would use if a person died. This can include checking in on them via text, sending a condolence card, or sending them a sympathy gift. Here, we’ve rounded up some of the best pet sympathy gifts to help someone dealing with the loss of a dog.
Post-planning tip: If you are the executor for a deceased human loved one, handling their unfinished business can be overwhelming without a way to organize your process. We have a post-loss checklist that will help you ensure that your loved one's family, estate, and other affairs are taken care of.
DIY Gifts for Loss of a Dog
Sometimes the most meaningful gifts aren’t store-bought. They mean so much because they are handmade and come from the heart. Here are some ideas for great DIY gift ideas for someone whose dog died:
- Photo album
- Shadow box pet memorial
- Memorial ornament
- Handpainted memorial quote
- Memorial photo frame
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1. Photo album
Many dog lovers like to share images of their pets on their social media. If your friend’s Instagram is filled with photos of their deceased dog, you can go through and save some of the best images. You can get them professionally printed at any photo lab or print them at home on photo paper.
For some extra oomph, pick up a little photo album to put the printed pictures in. Your friend or loved one may be avoiding their social media to stay away from painful memories. A photo album like this can help them go back and revisit the good times when they’re emotionally ready. In time, they’ll be grateful that those images have been so thoughtfully preserved.
2. Shadow box pet memorial
A shadow box is an enclosed glass-front display case where people can display meaningful items. They are a few inches deep, so you can enclose various three-dimensional objects. People often use them to display collectibles or create themed decor.
A pet memorial shadow box can include photos of the dog, their collar and tags, and little paw print-shaped cut-outs. Look online for more inspiration.
3. Memorial ornament
Around the holidays, we want to be around our loved ones. This includes surrounding ourselves with mementos of loved ones who have passed away. If your friend or loved one celebrates Christmas, a Christmas tree ornament is a thoughtful way to commemorate a deceased pet.
There are many online tutorials to help even a novice crafter put together a Christmas ornament themselves. You can do a simple clay disk with the name of the dog or insert a photo of the dog into a glass bauble. The sky is the limit!
4. Handpainted memorial quote
Even if you have very little artistic skill, you can make a surprisingly lovely piece of art.
Visit an arts and crafts store and get letter stencils, paint, and a piece of wood. You can also use reclaimed wood if you have access to that. Look up inspirational quotes about pet loss, and pick the one you think might most comfort your loved one. Then use the stencils to paint that quote onto the wood. You’ll end up with a beautiful, custom piece of art that you can DIY on a budget.
5. Memorial photo frame
Many department stores and craft stores carry pet-themed photo frames. They may have cute quotes or little paw prints on them. These frames aren’t necessarily intended as memorials, but they lend themselves well to that use.
Like in the earlier recommendation of a DIY photo album, you can find a special photo of your loved one’s dog online. Get it printed out and put it in the frame. This can all be done very quickly, but the end result is a thoughtful and personal gift.
Gift Basket Ideas for Someone Who Lost Their Dog
When someone loses a beloved dog, it can be world-shattering. The creature that might have comforted them during other hard times is no longer there. They could probably use some pampering and indulgence. Gift baskets can help bring comfort to someone who is grieving.
Here are some ideas for great gift basket ideas for someone whose dog died:
- Comfort food basket
- Comfort item basket
- Zen basket
- Garden-themed basket
- Gift basket for other pets
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6. Comfort food basket
When a beloved pet dies, we may seek out comfort items. One comfort we often gravitate towards is food. Comfort foods aren’t just your typical tasty snacks.
They can provide psychological or emotional comfort. Put together a gift basket with your loved one’s favorite nostalgic foods. It may help remind them of life’s simple pleasures.
7. Comfort item basket
Food isn’t the only thing that can bring comfort. Certain comfort items can help someone feel a little better. Touch is another sense that you can appeal to besides taste.
8. Zen basket
When a dog dies, its owner will usually feel sad and stressed. A gift basket can help them recover some sense of inner peace. Give a collection of soothing gifts to help them feel calm. This could include aromatherapy candles, bath bombs, and a Spotify gift card to go along with a playlist of chill music.
9. Garden-themed basket
If your friend loved spending time outdoors with their dog, you can put together a fun memorial basket with a gardening theme.
Put together some gardening tools and some flower seeds to plant a pet memorial garden. You can even add a memorial pet stone or engraved garden stake. Either one can serve as a kind of grave marker stand-in. Your loved one will be able to create an outdoor area where they can go to feel closer to their dog.
10. Gift basket for other pets
This can help grieving pet owners feel motivated to play with their other pets and can serve as a distraction for everyone.
Last-Minute Gifts for Someone Who Lost Their Dog
Some pet sympathy gifts may take time to acquire. Certain pet keepsakes might need to be commissioned from an artist or sent off to be engraved.
This can cause delays. But if you want to send a sympathy gift more quickly, you don’t have to worry. There are some great last-minute pet sympathy gifts that are easily accessible while still being thoughtful.
Here are some sweet last-minute ideas for what to get someone whose dog died:
- Make a donation in their pet's honor
- Canvas print
- Decorative box
- Stuffed animal that looks like their dog
- Books about pet loss
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11. Make a donation in their pet’s honor
If you don’t think your friend would necessarily want or need a pet sympathy gift, you can still make a nice gesture. You can make a donation to a local animal shelter in their dog’s honor. You can even set up a memorial donation page and invite others to contribute too with a platform like Everloved. Sometimes the best gift you can give is supporting other animals in dire situations.
Send your friend or loved one a thoughtful condolence card, and let them know you made a donation in tribute for their dog. The charity you donate to may also provide some acknowledgment of your donation that you can share, too.
12. Canvas print
Another nice way to commemorate a friend’s dog via art is by getting a canvas print. A canvas print is an image printed onto a canvas instead of on photo paper. It elevates a standard photo gift to a really beautiful piece of keepsake art.
Canvas prints have a different texture and look than a standard photo. You can also further customize it by selecting a frame. Believe it or not, some stores even offer same-day canvas printing. All you need is a high-quality digital photo file.
13. Decorative box
Okay, an empty box may seem like a weird gift to give someone. But after a pet dies, you realize how many things you have around the house that reminds you of them. Your friend or loved one may experience a fresh wave of grief when they see their pet’s food bowls, leash, or favorite toys.
Give them a beautiful box to keep these artifacts in. That way they don’t have to throw them away, but they also don’t have to be confronted with them daily.
14. Stuffed animal that looks like their dog
One of the reasons we love animals so much is because we can cuddle up with them. If your loved one is grieving the loss of their dog, they are also missing out on their usual form of comfort.
A stuffed animal that resembles their late pet gives them something to hold onto while they grieve.
15. Books about pet loss
There is a whole genre of books that revolve around coping with loss. And within that genre, there is a subgenre that deals specifically with pet loss. If your friend or loved one has lost a pet for the first time, it can be really challenging territory to navigate.
Pet Sympathy Gifts Can Help Comfort People After the Death of a Dog
It’s hard to know exactly what to do or what to say when someone loses a pet. Grief is always difficult to confront. But the aftermath of a pet death isn’t that dissimilar from the aftermath of a human death when it comes to how people cope.
Sending heartfelt condolences and a thoughtful sympathy gift can help bring a little light into someone’s dark time. Ultimately, any gift that comes from the heart will be special and meaningful.