Saying good-bye to a pet is a difficult and painful experience. When a family member or friend loses someone they love, it is not uncommon for those close to them to give sympathy cards and gifts to show support. We don’t always expect the same response when we lose our non-human family members, but sympathy gifts for the loss of a pet are equally important.
If you have never given someone a gift for the loss of a pet before, you may not know where to begin. Use the suggestions below for inspiration before choosing the perfect gift.
Preserve a Memory of the Pet
The best pet loss gifts are the kind that help to preserve a special memory your friend has of their pet. This can be done in a number of ways, using images, words, or artwork. Presenting your loved one with something beautiful to display in their home gives them a way to put their beloved animal in a place of honor.
When the pet is most missed, it can be comforting to look at a beautiful photo or painting, or curl up with a cozy blanket or pillow. Remember to choose an image that shows the pet when it is healthy and happy. You will also need to consider whether your friend has the right space in their home for the type of gift you wish to give them. For example, if they do not have a lot of empty wall space, you may not want to give them an overly large painting.
- Commission or create a painting of a favorite image of their pet. Oil paints, watercolors, or colored pencils are all great for beautiful memorial images.
- Frame a favorite photo of them with their pet.
- Decorate or design a special frame to use for favorite pictures.
- Frame a quote that reminds them of their pet and include a painted paw print.
- Preserve paw prints in clay and create a memorial stone for their garden. You can also get a stone with the pet’s name, birth date, or other information.
- Give them a commemorative statue or fountain for their garden.
- Create a shadow box frame containing a photo of the pet with some of its favorite things, such as a small toy and the collar it wore.
- Order or make a special blanket using an image (or several) of the pet.
- Create a scrapbook or photo album and include favorite pictures.
- Print an image or quote on a coffee mug. Include coffee, tea, or cocoa mixes.
- Customize a pillow with an embroidered quote or printed image.
- Give them a keepsake box to hold important items they choose to keep in honor of their pet’s memory, such as a collar, photos, or other small items.
Symbolic or Sentimental Pet Loss Gifts
You can also show your love and support to a friend who is grieving the loss of a pet by giving them something that represents or reminds them of their animal friend. When they are feeling down, they can look at the item or even hold it in their hands. Something small enough to bring with them wherever they go, like a keychain or necklace, is particularly comforting.
- Give them a keychain. There are many different types, so choose one that is most appropriate for your friend and the specific pet they lost. For example, a paw print shape with an opening for a photo or a simple animal-shaped decoration. You could also engrave the name of the pet on the keychain for added flair or use a 3D printed image.
- Give them a small statue or figurine that looks like the pet they lost.
- Give them an engraved wind chime. These are popular gifts for those who have lost loved ones because the sound of the chimes can remind them of those who have passed away or represent their loved ones looking down on them from heaven.
- Find a stuffed animal that resembles their beloved animal.
- Give them a piece of jewelry that represents their pet. For example, dog sympathy gifts could include a charm bracelet with a paw print, dog food bowl, bone, etc. You can also engrave the names of the pet on necklaces or rings.
- Donate to a local animal shelter in their name.
- Plant a tree in their honor in their favorite park (with permission, of course).
- Name a star after the pet or the family and give them a map that shows its location.
- Create a personalized Christmas Tree ornament to remind them of their pet during the holidays.
- Give them a personalized bird feeder. This is particularly appropriate if the pet they lost was a bird.
- Give them useful, but unique gifts like coasters or a bottle opener with an image or engraving paying tribute to the pet.
- You can give them a personalized storybook, created to show an adventure featuring them and their dog or other playful pet.
- Make a memorial bookmark with a poem about loving animals or friends after they are gone.
- Give them a dog tag. This is a more masculine type of jewelry, but can be worn by anyone. It can also be used as a keychain or hung from the rearview mirror in a vehicle.
Cremation Gifts for Loss of Pet
Many pet owners choose to cremate their furry or feathered friends so they can keep a part of them forever. With permission, you can use a small amount of the ashes in a memorial object or use it to create something unique and special.
- With a small amount of the pet’s ashes, you can incorporate a part of the pet into a piece of artwork made of glass. Glass sheets can be heated and colored, then formed to make shapes or symbols of various sizes. You can create a small figurine, a design to be hung on a wall or in a window, or a sphere that can be held in the palm of your hand. You could also shape the glass into a heart or other special form.
- There are many types of jewelry that are water and air tight and can hold a small amount of the remains, such as necklaces with charms or pendants.
- Give them a capsule keychain that can hold some of the remains, such as ashes or even fur or feathers.
- If it doesn’t feel too personal, you may also wish to give a close friend or family member an urn or decorative container to hold the remains. This allows them to keep their pet in their home and displayed in a place of honor, such as a mantle.
Pet Loss Sympathy Gifts of Comfort
Instead of choosing commemorative sympathy gifts for the loss of a dog or other pet, you may also wish to simply support your friend or family member with something that brings them comfort. You can look for ways to provide service to them or to help relieve stress while they take the time they need to grieve.
- Bring them food. Any time a friend or family member experiences a tragedy, it is a great idea to bring them a meal or their favorite treat. During the grieving process, many people will forget about eating. Others will appreciate the comfort food as a pick-me-up. One great option is a gourmet gift basket from Spoonful of Comfort, which includes soup, rolls, cookies, and a ladle in a beautiful package.
- Give them a cozy blanket or weighted blanket to wrap up in. You could even turn it into a gift basket by adding a mug, some cocoa mix, and fuzzy socks.
- Give them a gift card to a restaurant, movie theater, or spa. This way they can enjoy a relaxing night out or get a massage to relieve stress.
- Send them flowers to brighten their home for a few days, or a potted plant that will last longer. You can also try one of these great alternatives to flowers for sympathy gifts.
- Offer to run errands for them, such as grocery shopping, to lighten their load.
- Help them clean up or hire a cleaning service.
- Give them a journal and a nice pen to document memories of their pet or jot down feelings as they heal.
- Send them a box or basket with treats or pampering products like lotion, bath salts, and soft slippers.
- Give them a gift that will help distract them, such as a zen garden or coloring book and colored pencils.
- Offer to organize, or help with a memorial service in honor of their beloved animal friend. Prepare some kind words and get other friends and family members involved.
Pet Loss Sympathy Gifts for Children
The loss of a family pet may be extremely difficult for children, especially if this is their first experience with death. Remembering to show support for the children, in addition to the adults, is one of the most loving ways to help the family. Take the time to listen to the kids as they tell stories about the pet and process what has happened. You can also give them sympathy gifts to help them with the healing process or to distract them from sadness.
- Coloring books and crayons or colored pencils are a favorite distraction for many kids.
- Give them a movie with popcorn and treats or take them to a theater.
- Give them a new game and play it with them.
- Build a puzzle with them.
- Give them a Lego set and help them put it together if needed.
- Give them Play-Doh and cookie cutters or other toys to use with it.
- Bake cookies or brownies with them and serve them to their parents.
- Have them help you make dinner for the family.
- Bring your own kids over to play with them if you have children.
- Bring your favorite books over or give them their own copies. Read to them or listen while they read to you.
- Give them stuffed animals to hug when they feel sad or miss their pet.
- Take them to a museum or other local attractions.
Spoonful of Comfort
The most helpful and appreciated sympathy gifts are edible and delicious. Send your loved ones a gift basket of gourmet soup, rolls, and cookies for a satisfying and tasty meal. Choose from many different kinds of soup and other great products to show your love and to comfort someone special after the loss of a beloved pet.