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Pet Loss

Grieve the Loss of a Family Pet With These 5 Steps


Who hasn’t wept at the end of Marley & Me or My Dog Skip? The death of a pet is devastating, whether it’s on the big screen or reality. Pets are beloved companions that are part of the family, and their loss is greatly felt. Use the following guide as a way to honor their life and handle grief after losing your four-legged companion.

Emotional Preparation

Emotionally preparing for your pet’s end-of-life will help ease the burden when it actually happens. The Pet Loss Professionals Alliance provides a tribute guide for planning ahead for the loss of your pet.

If you know the end of life is near for your pet, reflect on your pet’s life with your family. List some of your special memories for a tribute page that includes your pet’s:

  • Favorite food
  • Favorite activity
  • Favorite place to sleep
  • Something they disliked
  • A few special memories

Informing Loved Ones

Death and grief can be an uncomfortable situation for friends and family. Make it a comfortable subject for friends and family by sending a handwritten or emailed notice about the passing of your pet. Be sure to include ways they can help you honor your pet, such as donations to a specific organizations or how to plant a memorial tree.

If you’re single, take this as a chance to get more active in the dating scene, which may help get your mind off of your lost pet so you can move on. Connect with friends and loved ones. It’s important to have a safe network in place during this difficult time.

Burial or Cremation

If you decide to bury your pet, expect to do some research on your local options.

There are now more than 1,200 pet memorial cemeteries in the U.S. and thousands of providers across the country that can make those arrangements.

To cremate your pet, you’ll need to think about the ashes (called “cremains”). Memorialize them in a decorative urn, create a special piece of jewelry from the cremains, bury the ashes in your backyard or local pet cemetery, or scatter them in a special place that holds meaning for you and your pet.

Memorial Planning

The service for your beloved pet should be unique and personalized. Highlight the many years shared with your companion by playing a song or making a speech.

Memorials are as varied as pets themselves and can include a blessing, candlelight vigil, religious service, or even a donation drive for a local shelter in your pet’s name.

You may wish to celebrate your pet with an intimate memorial and ask your friends, family and their pets to participate. People can acknowledge the passing of their own pet, or that of someone else, with a memorial note, a gesture such as flower or sympathy gift, or a donation to a shelter.


Memorialize your pet and hold onto their memory forever with a special keepsake.

A gravestone, photo collage, video, pet portrait, or garden stone can keep your pet’s spirit alive. Stay true to your own personal style, and the special memories of your pet will guide you to the perfect memorial item.

Include your kids in the memorializing and celebrating experience with an arts and crafts project. Decorate a frame of your pet’s picture with beads, buttons and paint. Hang the photo in your children’s bedroom or display it on the living room bookshelf.

Your Other Pets

Remember that the loss of a pet may impact other animals in your family as well. This is especially true if your pets were close. Give your remaining pets plenty of time to grieve. This article will help you, help them.

The loss of a pet is difficult and can have a dramatic effect on our lives. Never try to shut these feelings down. It’s important to feel them and remember how important a pet is in our lives. We hope that these resources help you feel a little better inside:

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  1. All worthy info. I Tweeted you 2 previous comments on “Do pets grieve.” I hope you find them helpful as well. I’m praying my old girl dog continues to recover from her grief & gets well soon. She is somewhat better, but still not herself, even with a new pal to keep her company.

    1. So sorry to hear of your dog, Lois. Our pets feel the loss and pain of others very deeply. I hope she recovers quickly.

  2. Do you also make small jewelry hearts with a tiny bit of pet cremains or lock of hair?

    1. Hi Lois, We don’t manufacture or sell anything on this site, but please take a look at Artful Ashes – she does an amazing job! You can also check out Cherished Ones. They have some beautiful options for remembering our pets…