Dealing With Heartache: What To Say When Someone's Pet Dies

By BetterHelp Editorial Team|Updated July 27, 2022

It can be so difficult to lose someone that you’re close to and you know how tough it is to cope with loss. However, some people fail to realize that the loss of a pet can be just as emotionally traumatic as losing a family member for some people. If someone that you love has recently lost a pet, then it might be tough to know what to say. What can you do to help your friend or family member feel better during this difficult and emotional time? Keep reading to explore things that you can say when a pet dies to make a positive difference in someone’s life.

Our Pets Are Our Best Friends - Losing Them Is Heartbreaking

I’m Thinking About You and Your Pet

Do you want to try to express your condolences in a simple and effective way? If so, then saying something along the lines of “I’m thinking about you and your pet” should work out nicely. This is a sentiment that acknowledges that you know what happened and that you’re wishing them well. It’s sort of a default type of reaction that you can turn to when you can’t find the words to express anything deeper. You might not have known the pet all that well or you might just not be gifted with words. Not everyone is expressive enough to come up with something complex to say. It also isn’t always necessary to say a lot of words when you’re just trying to be there for someone.

They Were Really Amazing

It’s pretty normal to struggle with what to tell someone who is coping with the loss of a pet. Their beloved pet just died and you want to help them to feel better about the situation. You know how much they cared about the pet and you want to show them the proper respect. A good way to go about this is just to acknowledge how amazing the pet really was. Let your friend know that you’re going to miss the pet too because it was a truly amazing pet in many ways. If you have any fun stories with the pet, then you might even want to tell them. Remembering the good times can be bittersweet when you’ve just lost a beloved pet, but it’s also a good way to start moving on.

I Know That Losing a Pet is Hard

You might want to try to relate to your friend or family member when something like this happens. Losing a pet is definitely hard and you might have experience in this area if it has happened to you. Sometimes just knowing that someone has gone through a similar experience can help out. If you have lost a beloved pet in the past, then you might want to share this and tell your friend or family member that you know how painful it is. Losing a pet is an emotional thing and you can be there for someone because you understand the emotions that they’re going through. Some people also need to know that it’s normal to deal with depression when you’re losing a pet. It might be easier for someone who has lost a pet before to express condolences,  but you can use some of the other suggestions if this doesn’t apply to you.

I Know That it’s Difficult to Lose a Member of the Family

Losing a beloved pet is something that feels very much like losing a member of the family. Think about how you feel about your own beloved pet and what you would go through if something happened. If you don’t own a pet, then try to think about how you’d feel if your best friend passed away. For many pet owners, the loss of a beloved pet is just like that. That’s why it’s nice for people to acknowledge the significance of this loss by choosing your words carefully. Saying that you know it’s difficult to lose a member of the family shows this person that you understand how important the pet was to them.

Pet loss is something that everyone who owns a pet fears, but it’s also something that everyone deals with eventually. Treating the loss of a pet like the loss of a family member shows respect. If you know that someone that you love is struggling with pet loss, then do what you can to help them. Sometimes just acknowledging things in this respectful way will help them to feel a bit better. When a pet dies, people are going to need the support of friends and family. Losing a beloved pet really is quite similar to losing anyone else who is important to you.

I’m Always Here for You

A simple sentiment such as “I’m always here for you” can make a difference in someone’s life. When you’re coping with pet loss, it’s easy to get sad and to start to feel lonely. Pets bring so much joy to people’s lives and having that companionship ripped away suddenly hurts. People who are coping with pet loss need support and letting them know that you’re there for them no matter what is perfect. You don’t have to say flowery words or be a great orator to let someone know that you care about them. Just being there and giving someone a shoulder to lean on or cry on can be significant when they’re coping with the loss of a pet.

Send Flowers

Perhaps you don’t know what to say and you aren’t sure when you’re going to be able to see your friend or family member face-to-face. You might be able to express your condolences by sending them flowers. This is a very nice gesture that shows that you care about them and that you understand how significant the loss of a pet is. Getting flowers delivered will send a nice message to your friend and you can also write something on the delivery card that will be nice. The messages mentioned above would work nicely in a card like this or you can try to say whatever else you’re feeling in your heart.

The important thing is to show someone that you care about that you’re there for them. Sending flowers won’t be the perfect option for everybody, but it’s great when you have a friend who is dealing with the loss of a beloved pet that doesn’t live nearby. If you can’t go to express your condolences in person, then sending flowers is at least something that you can do to be there for someone that means a lot to you. Losing a pet is such a tough thing to cope with, but at least your friend or a family member has people like you who want to be there for them.

Bring Your Friend/Family Member Some Food

It’s normal for someone to feel a bit depressed after the loss of a pet and they might not feel like making dinner due to a lack of energy. In this situation, it can actually be really nice for you to bring your friend or family member something to eat. Having the foresight to pick up dinner and just bring them some food is going to be good. Some people choose to cook something themselves and others might order some good food that they know will be appreciated. Either way, you can bring the food over and try to have a good conversation with your friend. Let them acknowledge the loss of the pet if they want to, but be ready to talk about other things if they would just like to take their mind off of the loss.

Understand that individuals may grieve the loss of a pet differently.
As your friend or family member mourns the loss of their pet, they may choose to grieve them differently than you would have. Whether you have lost a pet or not, everybody has their own process of grieving. As time goes by, you may see your friend experience a range of different emotions due to their loss. For example, holidays, and anniversaries of their pet, can cause them to recall memories. At times your friend or family member may appear sad, upset, happy, or even relieved. Being open and checking in with them to express your support, not just immediately after the loss but throughout different times can be helpful.

Our Pets Are Our Best Friends - Losing Them Is Heartbreaking

Therapy Can Be Beneficial

It’s also important to know that therapy can actually be beneficial when someone is dealing with loss. Some people are very close to their pets and pets can even be best friends. Losing a pet that is so dear to you is not going to be easy and it’s a loss that many people will not be able to cope with right away. Depression can set in and this can make it tough to keep moving forward in life. Thankfully, it isn’t necessary to face problems like this alone. Supportive people are there to try to help lift others up and there are also therapists who can assist people with moving on. When a pet dies, people can rely on others to help them get back to feeling normal again while dealing with emotional problems.

Therapy is a great way to figure out how to move on after the death of a pet. Pet loss is an emotional process, but it’s possible to feel positive about life again by working with a compassionate therapist. Patients can come to understand that it’s okay to feel grief and that remembering the great memories that they had together with their pets will be able to provide them with some solace once they’ve had time to process things. Therapists have been able to help many people who are dealing with pet loss and they can also help those who are grieving other losses.

Online Therapy

Online therapy is an option that you can look into, too. Not everyone has the time to go to see a therapist at a traditional office location when they’re depressed due to the loss of a pet. Going to see an online therapist might be a simpler way for someone to deal with the loss of a pet effectively. Whether you’re looking for a therapist for your friend or if you’re wanting to seek therapy for yourself, it’s going to be good to know your options. Both in-person therapy and online therapy are incredibly useful and you’ll feel good knowing that your friend has support in place.

Below are some commonly asked questions on this topic:

What do you write when a pet dies?
What do you say to someone that loses a pet?
What do you say to a friend with a dead pet?
How do you say condolences for a dead dog?
What do you not say when a pet dies?
What do you do when a friend's pet dies?
How do you help a friend who lost a pet?
How do you honor a dead pet?
How do you cheer up a girl when her dog died?
What do you text someone when their dog dies?

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