The Best (and Worst) Things to Say to A Friend Grieving Pet Loss

Pet Bereavement Tips for a Friend or Coworker Grieving a Pet

Katie Abendroth

4/5/20245 min read

What to say to a friend grieving pet lossWhat to say to a friend grieving pet loss

Losing a pet can be a heartbreaking experience.

If your friend or coworker is going through the grief of pet loss, it's important to offer them comfort and support.

Here are the 8 things you should say to support your friend, along with 2 things you should NEVER say.

Most people mean well when they offer common phrases of support, but some statements can land flat when it comes to pet grief. This is why pet grief is often connected to disenfranchised grief, that is easily dismissed by others.

However, the right words or a proper pet bereavement gift will be not only remembered but cherished for years to come.

My friend gave me a plaque made with a picture of our dog who passed away, and it was such an unexpected gesture (she was not a "dog person"), it still brings me joy when I see it.

Save these tips:

What to Say When a Pet Passes

  1. "I'm so sorry for your loss. Your pet was such a special member of your family."
friend grieving pet loss
friend grieving pet loss

This statement is a heartfelt comment that acknowledges pet loss is the loss of a family member. It also is authentic that state that your friend had a close bond with their pet, even if you did not.

  1. "I can't imagine how much you are hurting. Know that I'm here for you, and I'm just a phone call (or text) away."

This statement gives your friend or coworker an action to take if they feel isolated or upset. It is also validating that pet bereavement is true grief.

friend grieving pet loss
friend grieving pet loss
say to a friend grieving pet loss
say to a friend grieving pet loss
  1. "Your pet [name] brought you so much joy. I will always remember when you told me about [name a specific or funny story about that pet]."

Personalizing comments by naming your friend's pet shows sincerity. Retelling a positive or funny story about them brings up fond memories that you can celebrate together.

  1. "It's okay to grieve. Your pet was a close companion, and it's natural to miss them deeply."
friend grieving pet loss
friend grieving pet loss

This comment acknowledges your friend's loss and permits them to express their emotions openly and honestly. Every pet owner can relate to the companionship of animals, demonstrating empathy for this unique bond.

friend grieving pet loss
friend grieving pet loss
  1. "When you remember a good story about your pet, send me a text. I'd love to help you keep their memory alive."

Giving your friend an action to take that doesn't require much effort (sending a text) keeps you engaged in their healing. It also focuses on positivity as they work through their stages of grief.

pet grieving pet loss
pet grieving pet loss
  1. "Take all the time you need to heal. Everyone mourns differently, and there's no right or wrong way to grieve."

Grief is a unique journey. This statement holds space for your friend's grief and pet bereavement process.

  1. "I found online support really helpful when my pet passed. Can I send you a few links?"
friend grieving pet loss
friend grieving pet loss

Processing grief is all about connection. Online spaces and communities offer a wealth of resources and others who are coping with pet loss. Send your friend a link to an ebook, social media pet loss groups, or websites that you found helpful.

Sometimes your presence is the best gift. You can bring your friend an unexpected item (see suggestions below) to remember their pet, or just spend time with them without the pressure to talk.

friend grieving pet loss
friend grieving pet loss
  1. Don't Say Anything. Just Be Present.

What NOT to Say after the Loss of a Pet

  1. "Are you going to get another pet?"
friend grieving pet loss
friend grieving pet loss

There is not a straight timeline for grief, and a pet can be mourned for years. Known as chronic grief, the best thing you can do for a friend is hold space for them, not judge the process.

  1. "It's been a while since your pet passed away. Are you still upset?"

This comment may be well-intentioned, but dismisses the value of the pet who passed away. It encourages disenfranchised grief, which is common after pet loss.

  1. "At least you didn't lose a person"

Well this comment is just absurd, even if it is well-meaning. This comment totally dismisses the close companionship and deep connection that we have with our pets. No, it is not a person but it is the loss of a beloved family member.

two person holding papercut hearttwo person holding papercut heart
Gift membership in the Hope After Pet Loss Support Group ($20/month). Use discount code HOPE50 for half off first month. Cancel anytime.
pet bereavement gift ideapet bereavement gift idea

Gift Ideas for Pet Bereavement

Remember, the most important thing you can do for a friend who has lost a pet is to be there for them.

Offer a listening ear, show compassion for their loss, and space to express their emotions.

Your support will mean the world to them as they work through this genuine loss.

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