Saying goodbye 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 a thoughtful gift for someone grieving a pet is 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 for a friend going through pet grief.
Preserve a Memory of the Pet
The best gifts for pet loss 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. Look for a favorite image of 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.
Below are a few meaningful memorial gift ideas to help comfort a grieving loved one:
- 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.
Some of the best sentimental pet loss gift ideas include:
- 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.
- A small figurine that looks like the pet they lost.
- 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.
- A stuffed animal that resembles their beloved animal.
- 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.
- A personalized bird feeder. This is particularly appropriate if the pet they lost was a bird.
- Useful, unique gifts like coasters or a bottle opener with an image or engraving paying tribute to the pet.
- A personalized storybook to show an adventure featuring them and their dog or other playful pet.
- A memorial bookmark with a poem about loving animals or friends after they are gone.
- A dog tag. This may seem like a more masculine type of jewelry, but anyone can wear it! It also doubles as a keychain or can hang from the rearview mirror in a vehicle.
Cremation Sympathy Gifts for Pet Loss
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 pet's ashes in a memorial object or use it to create something unique and special.
- 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 display the urn in a place of honor, such as a mantle.
Pet Loss Sympathy Gifts of Comfort
Instead of or in addition to commemorative sympathy gifts for pet loss, you may also wish to support your friend or family member with something that brings them comfort. Providing service or sending sympathy gift baskets can help relieve stress while they are taking 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 thoughtful option created for someone grieving is the Pet Loss Sympathy Package, which includes soup, rolls, cookies, and a ladle in a beautifully put together box.
- 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, 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 a coloring book with and colored pencils.
Offer to organize a memorial service in honor of their beloved animal friend. Prepare some kind words and get other friends and family members involved.
Pet Loss Gifts for a Child
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.
- Young kids who may not fully understand the loss of a pet might appreciate a comforting stuffed animal and gift box just for them.
- 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.
- Surprise them with a package of fresh cookies delivered straight to their door.
- 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.
Pet Loss Sympathy Gift Baskets
Along with giving gifts of comfort or service, a gift basket is a great way to show sympathy and that you are there for your friend. Assembling a pet sympathy gift basket doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate—just well-thought-out. You can include items in the gift basket that your friend enjoys or that memorialize their pet.
It’s possible to search for dedicated, pre-assembled pet loss gift baskets or purchase the items separately and assemble it yourself. Any of the ideas mentioned above would be great additions to your gift basket, and here are a few more suggestions:
- Include a candle they can use during a vigil or memorial service. You can also purchase a candle holder that has their beloved pet engraved into it. Whenever it’s lit, they’ll be reminded of their pet.
- Give a photo stone that features their favorite picture of their pet. Photo stones can be used either to mark the final resting place of their pet or placed on a shelf or wall of their home.
- Provide your friend with their favorite chocolate candy or treat as a way to show them that you’re thinking of them during this difficult time.
- Print the image of their pet onto a water bottle that’s stuffed with their favorite treats.
- Give a small pin in the shape of a paw print, collar, or animal that can be pinned to a backpack, purse, or bag so they can carry the memory of their pet with them wherever they go.
- Include books that discuss how to deal with the loss of pets or how to say goodbye to their furry friend. There are many books published by doctors, grief counselors, and therapists that provide your friend with professional advice on how to get through this trying time.
- Include a car sticker or decal in the shape of their pet that they can include on their rear or side windows.
- Write a card that includes words of comfort, assuring them things will be okay and that you’re there to support them.
- Consider including a few flowers they can either put on display near their pet's grave or urn. Flowers like orchids, lilies, or roses are all great choices.
- Give a small potted plant (real or fake) in a pot engraved with their pet’s image. You can also decorate or paint the pot with paw prints, collars, pet toys, or their pet’s name.
- Include a blanket that has their pet printed onto it that they can curl up with.
The Best Gifts for Pet Loss Come From Spoonful of Comfort
Sending your condolence with a pet loss gift to someone who recently lost their furry best friend shows that you’re thinking of them and are here to support them. The most helpful and appreciated pet sympathy gifts are edible, delicious, and help to eliminate some of your friend’s grief. Send your loved ones a gift basket of gourmet soup, rolls, and cookies for a satisfying and tasty meal from Spoonful of Comfort. 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.
Watch Amy's story to learn more about how to give meaningful sympathy gifts