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What to Say When a Friend Loses a Dog or Cat: The Dos and Don’ts

When a friend loses a pet, it can be difficult to know what to say. You may feel uncomfortable and not know what to do or what to say to make your friend feel better.

Pets are members of the family, and losing them can be just as traumatic as losing a human family member.

In this blog post, we will discuss the dos and don’ts of supporting your friend who has lost their pet dog or cat.

What to Say When Someone Lost Their Pet - Infographic

It may be difficult to know what to say or do if a friend or loved one is experiencing the grief of a lost pet—especially if you’re not a pet person.

You may not be able to relate to what it feels like to lose a beloved family companion, but you can still be compassionate and offer your assistance.

Keep in mind that everyone handles grief differently.

Remember, too, that even if you’ve had experience in losing a pet, it may not be the same for the individual you’re trying to comfort.

It’s human nature to want to compare your current position with theirs and offer guidance on how you handled it.

Keep in mind that everyone handles grief differently

However, avoid this approach as it may give the person the impression that you are minimizing their pain.

If you want to change the subject or make a joke to make the other person feel better, don’t. This might backfire and lead to things getting even worse.

What to Say When Someone Lost Their Pet

When someone is grieving the loss of their pet, the most important thing you can do is simply be there for them. 

To start, you can offer up a “What can I do to help you?” or an “I am so very sorry for your loss; I am here if you need me.”

A conversation with a friend or a loved one is an essential part of the grieving process.

Hearing them retell old stories about their departed pet might help them feel better.

That’s what you can expect as a pal: open-ended questions that might elicit memories and perhaps even a few tears.

What to Say When Someone Lost Their Pet

Ideas for A Pet Condolence Message

  • Know that (pet’s name) loved you from the tip of their wet nose to the end of their furry tail.
  • (Pet’s name) could not have had a better life or a more loving owner than you. They were incredibly blessed.
  • (Pet’s name) will be deeply missed. They left paw prints on everyone who knew them’s hearts.
  • Smile at the memory of your beautiful pet, for they lit up this world with their joyous spirit.
  • No one could have loved their animal more than you did. How lucky they were to find you.
  • (Pet’s name) was so loved and will be so missed. Deeply sorry for the loss of your fur baby.

Other Ways to Show Support

If you’d simply like to send a card, there are other things you can do. Here are a few suggestions for those who want to do more than just write a note.

  • Send a memorial gift in the form of a personalized wind chime, jewelry, or garden stone to commemorate the pet.
  • Send flowers or a plant
  • Donate in the animal’s name to a pet assistance charity or shelter.

What to NOT Say When Someone Lost a pet

Our best intentions or sympathy can occasionally lead to the wrong results.

It’s also natural for us to want to “fix” what our friend or loved one is going through, but you should avoid that “righting reflex.”

Some things may seem helpful or encouraging but aren’t.

Those include, “Well, you gave them a good life,” and “They were lucky to have you.”

What to NOT Say When Someone Lost a pet

It implies that the deceased animals were simply a pet, not family members.

Keep in mind that the death of a pet is not the same as losing a close friend or beloved family member.

It’s difficult to come to terms with the death of a beloved pet, so you don’t want to go down the “it’s just a pet” saying.

That’s one of the worst things you can say to someone grieving a pet, along with phrases like, “There will be other dogs/cats.”

It’s insensitive and cruel to someone who has just lost a loved one.

Instead, provide actions and kinder, more compassionate words to your buddy if they require assistance, even if they don’t want to acknowledge it.

Related article: 10 Ways to Celebrate National Pet Memorial Day

We adore our pets because they unconditionally love us in return. Your friend will be shuddering at the loss of that love on a very deep level.

Spend quality time with them. When they’re able to feel a little better, do for them what their pet did for them: adore and love unconditionally.

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