If you have ever had to say goodbye to a pet, you know how difficult it can be. That’s why if you know someone who has to euthanize a pet, you should reach out and offer condolences.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- What to Say When a Loved One Has to Euthanize Their Dog
- What to Say When a Loved One Has to Euthanize Their Cat
- What to Say When a Loved One Has to Euthanize Their Horse, Rabbit, or Other Animal
What do you say to friends or family members who find themselves in this situation? First, it’s a good idea to ignore the fact that the pet was euthanized. It doesn’t matter how a pet (or person) dies. All that matters is that you offered support to someone mourning a loss.
Here are some ways to offer condolences to someone who recently lost a dog, cat, or another pet.
What to Say When a Loved One Has to Euthanize a Pet Dog
If you can’t find the right words, you could instead send a pet sympathy gift, such as a dog-themed photo frame or a personalized stepping stone. You may also want to give a gift that’s not necessarily pet-related, such as a bouquet of flowers or some homemade cookies.
Some samples of messages to send (or say) when a friend or family member has to put down a beloved dog:
1. I’m so sorry. I know how much Buddy meant to you.”
Sometimes the most simple, heartfelt comment is best. Acknowledge the death and the pain associated with it. Ignoring the event may hurt your friend.
2. “Can I stop by with a coffee and some muffins?”
Food and companionship is one way your friend can get through this really rough time.
3. “I am so sorry for your loss.”
The phrase is often overused, but it’s very effective. It’s a good thing to say when you don’t know what else to say.
4. “You have my deepest sympathy for the loss of Buddy. He was your constant companion and will be sorely missed.”
You may consider texting a message like this to a friend or writing one on his Facebook page. Sometimes people share that they lost a pet on social media, so it’s appropriate to offer condolences this way. Don’t “break” the story by posting the news on their social media page.
5. “Buddy was a favorite in the neighborhood. I’m sorry we will no longer get to see his toothy grin.”
Your neighbors may also be grieving your dog. Often people form relationships with their neighbors’ pets.
6. My heart hurts for you. It’s hard losing a four-legged friend. Hugs to you and the rest of your family.”
The entire family mourns when a dog dies. Remember to give condolences to everyone affected by the loss.
7. “I loved how Buddy would play hide and seek with us when we visited. He was a special dog and certainly loved his treats. He will be missed.”
When a person loses a loved one (dog or person), share your favorite story with a friend who is grieving.
What to Say When a Loved One Has to Euthanize a Pet Cat
Are you looking for the right words to use when sending a pet sympathy message? Here’s what to say to someone who recently lost a pet cat.
It’s a good idea to avoid suggesting that your friend should run out to adopt another animal. Your friend may first want to grieve the pet she lost before bringing another animal into the house.
8. “I’m sure Muffy is now playing with the biggest ball of yarn in the universe. You did the right thing.”
Sometimes people second-guess their decision to euthanize a pet. If you are close to the person and know the situation well, you may consider putting your loved one’s mind at rest.
9. “Your home won’t be the same without Muffy. Sure, she was a grouchy old cat, but that’s what made her so endearing.”
Homes don’t feel the same after a beloved pet dies. You may also want to ask about the well-being of the deceased pet’s animal friends. Other pets mourn the loss of companions.
10. “I was so sad to hear about Muffy. It’s not often that you encounter such a cuddly, friendly cat. Muffy was one of the best.”
Share details that show you knew the pet well.
11. “You provided a great home for Muffy. You were lucky to have each other for over 15 years.”
Both the pet and the owner receive something from this sweet relationship.
12. “I’m so sorry. I’m sure you will forever think about Muffy when you see a patch of sun shining through her favorite window.”
You might want to refrain from asking your friend when she will get another pet. She may wish to mourn her deceased animal before finding a new one. Even when a new animal is brought into the house, it is not a “replacement” for one that is deceased. Each animal has its own unique personality.
13. “You made such a difference in Muffy’s life. Do you remember how she looked when you first adopted her? You saved her life.”
Remind your friend that she gave her pet friend a good, long life.
14. “Hugs to you, my friend.”
Sometimes the only thing you can do to comfort someone is to offer a virtual (or real) hug. Put yourself in your friend’s shoes before commenting on the loss of an animal.
What to Say When a Loved One Has to Euthanize a Pet Horse, Rabbit, or Other Animal
If your friend is struggling, you may consider forwarding this article: “12 Valuable Tips for Coping with a Pet Loss.” You may also want to show your support in other ways, such as by checking in distracting your friend with a movie or walk.
Here are some examples of what to say when a pet has to be euthanized.
15. “Tweety was such a happy bird. I never knew how attached you could get to a cockatiel until I saw you two together.”
As a sympathy gift, you may ask an online artist to create a pet portrait.
16. “Even though Gunther terrified most people, I know how much you loved him. I’m so sorry for your loss.”
Just because you would never own a pet snake or other exotic animal doesn’t mean that others can’t form attachments to those animals. Offer sympathy regardless of the type of pet that died.
17. “I’ll always envision how happy you looked jumping fences on the back of Margo. She was a beautiful horse, and you belonged together.”
People form strong attachments to their horses. Saying goodbye to a horse can be a life-altering event. You may consider printing out a poem about horses to give to your friend.
18. “I never have known any other person with a pet goat, but you showed me that they make great companions. I’m so sorry for your loss.”
While it will be hard to find goat-specific pet sympathy gifts, you can still purchase a generic photo frame or a rose bush to be planted in memory of the deceased animal.
19. “I’ll never forget how excited your daughter was to receive Fluffy on Easter morning. She was a beautiful animal, and I’m sure your entire family is grieving the loss.”
Even if you know little about the pet’s personality, you can find something to say that is positive about the animal. Don’t forget to offer sympathy to the children of the family as well.
20. “Let me bring you dinner tonight.”
Sometimes actions say more than words. Bringing someone a meal says, “I know you are grieving. Let me take the responsibility of making a meal away from you for tonight.”
21. “I know it’s hard that Pumpkin crossed the rainbow bridge, but think about her pain-free, happy existence on the other side.”
You may also want to share a poem about a pet crossing the rainbow bridge with your grieving friend. You can often personalize these items with the pet’s name or photo.
What Not to Say or Do
When a friend loses a pet, offer support and love. Don’t question your friend on whether euthanization was the right choice. Don’t ask if surgery or treatment could have saved the animal and how much the treatment would have been. Please don’t suggest that they go to your vet next time because you are sure that your doctor could have saved Muffy or Tiger.
Also, don’t show up at your friend’s house with another animal. Even if your friend chooses to add another pet to the household, your friend needs to do it on their own timeline. Another animal can’t replace a deceased pet.
If you're looking for more on pet loss, read our guides on prayers for the loss of a pet and pet memorial ornaments.