What to say when someone loses a pet

My first cat died when I was 8 years old. His name was Barnabus—after the soap opera vampire—and he was a handsome black cat with a white spot under his chin. My dad cried when he told me, and my mom gave me a copy of the sweet book The Tenth Good Thing About Barney she’d set aside for this inevitability.  

Since then, I’ve said goodbye to more furry companions—my own cats, family dogs, my sister’s mouse—each of them a beloved member of our household. Losing a pet is so hard. We miss their company, the everyday rituals, the ridiculously enthusiastic greetings, the playtime—their one-of-a-kind presence in our homes and our lives. 

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When a friend’s good old dog, bestest kitty or other animal companion passes away, it’s tough to know what to say. But along with time, ice cream and ugly crying, your comforting words can be the most helpful ways to get through the loss of a pet.

Our Hallmark writers—who all have loved and lost fur babies of their own—offer some sympathy messages for pets to get you started. If you’re looking for a specific kind of message, simply click a link below to jump right to that section.

Simple Messages For Pet Loss  

Offer condolences for the loss of their pet and a kind, hopeful wish. 

  • Pets are like family and losing them is so hard. Sending prayers for comfort your way.
  • It’s just not fair that pets don’t live longer. Hoping your memories with [Sassy] bring you happiness whenever you need it.
  • Hoping you find peace in all the happy memories of your [sweet, goofy boy Bruiser]. 
  • So sorry for your loss. [Scruffles] was such a good [dog], and you are such a good [mom].
  • I’m going to miss [Ferrets Bueller], too. You’re in my thoughts today.
  • Sending you love as the grieve the loss of your furry family member.
  • When a pet dies, there’s a quietness in a home that aches. Our hearts ache for you, and we are so sorry for your loss.
  • I’m so sorry to hear about [Rory]. Hope there are smiles through your tears as you remember all the moments [he] made furrier, funnier and happier. 

Pets Mean So Much  

Let them know you understand what an important part of their life their pet was.

  • [Mitsy] gave you joy and happiness no other [kitty] could. You’ll always be blessed with the love [she] brought to your life.
  • Pets are such an important part of our lives. So grateful you and [Bandit] got to share yours.
  • What [Figaro] meant to you doesn’t change and it never goes away. Hoping there’s comfort in all your happy memories.
  • I know [Tank] was less like a [dog] and more like family. My heart and hugs go out to you.
  • Cats aren’t pets—they run the show. [Mr. Bob] couldn’t have had a better staff than you. I’m so sorry for your loss.
  • You two were kindred spirits. And I think [she’s] with you now, watching over you and happily [pawing and prancing] by your side.
  • Even though [Blue] is gone, his spirit still sits on your shoulder. 
  • There are things only [dog moms] understand. I get it, and my heart aches for you. Sending love.
  • I’m incredibly sorry this happened. Your [beautiful baby] was your world and we’ll remember [her] always.
  • Losing a pet isn’t something we just get over. Hope you can take your time right now and honor all you’re feeling.
  • The day [Luna] became part of your family, everything changed for the better. May the love you felt that day and every day after fill your heart as you adjust to life without her.

Loss Of A One-Of-A-Kind Pet  

Even the littlest pets can make a big impression. Let your friend know what you’ll remember about theirs. 

  • [Chewy] was everyone’s friend. [He’ll] be so missed by everyone [he ever jumped on, head-butted, or slobbered all over].
  • Somewhere across the Rainbow Bridge, [Blaze] is [sunning on a log and feasting on crickets]. Wherever [his] next adventures take him, I bet [he’s] happy.
  • Raising a glass to [her] memory as you honor the great [dog Ginger] was.
  • [J-Boy] was that once-in-a-lifetime [rat]. And I’m so sorry.
  • When you got [Sonny], I knew you were in for a remarkable adventure. Here’s to living as [he] did—with zero regrets.
  • [Mango] made us laugh so much. [Their] joy won’t be forgotten.
  • What a wonderful gift we had in [Tinkles]! What wonderful memories we’ll always have. 
  • I’ll remember [Lunchbox] forever, especially all of the happy times. And there were so many happy times.

Pet Sympathy Messages For Kids  

Losing a pet may be a child’s first experience with death. Use what you know about their age and relationship with their pet to guide the way you talk about the loss. You can mention that you’re sad, too—just be careful not to put a big emotional load on little shoulders. 

  • Even though [he’s] not here anymore, you’ll always carry [Liberty] in your heart and your memories. If you want to talk about it, I’m right here.
  • I’m so sorry your friend [Hairy] died. If I could hug you with [eight arms] right now I would. 
  • I hope you know [Fluffernutter] loved you as much as you loved [her]. I do, too. 
  • It’s OK to be sad. [Snoop Frogg] was a really [cool] pet, and I know you’ll miss him.

When An Elderly Pet Dies  

Knowing it’s coming doesn’t make it any easier to lose a longtime pal. Be extra tender with your words of comfort. 

  • My heart is breaking for you. Wishing you peace as you grieve [Tucker]—he was such an extraordinary [horse].
  • What a long, love-filled life you gave [Brubaker]. You were so lucky to have found each other.
  • I know you wished [Canary Busey] could have lived forever. But you made every moment count with your unconditional love.
  • It will take time to get used to [Frida’s] absence, but one day, I hope the memories you have will bring you joy instead of sadness.
  • You are so lucky to have shared so much of your life with an amazing companion.
  • Whether it was a road trip, a wine tasting or to your favorite restaurant, you took [Pita] everywhere. There wasn’t a day that went by where [she] didn’t know how much you loved [her]. 
  • Losing a companion like [Cameron] is so very hard—[he’s] been a part of so many memories and so many changes in your life. I’m thinking of you and am here to look at all the pictures and hear all the stories when you’re ready.

When A Pet Passes After An Illness  

The end might come after years of special care for a chronic condition or an aggressive illness that steals precious time together. When a pet owner has invested time, money and a big part of their heart in caring for a sick pet, remind them they did their best. 

  • You gave [Husker] such a great life. You were the best dog [dad] he could’ve had.
  • You made [Momo’s] final days as comfortable as possible—and in the end, the love you showed helped [her] find peace.
  • You did so much to give [Bonita] the amazing care [she] deserved. [She] was a great [cat,] and you are the most loving [cat lady].
  • I hope you’ll take comfort in knowing you did everything you could—and you did it with love and empathy. 
  • You always went above and beyond to give [Wiggles] the healthiest, happiest life. 
  • How lucky [Midnight] was to be cared for by someone like you. 
  • You are a true champion for every animal that comes into your care. I hope you know that your big heart does not go unnoticed.
  • It takes a very special person to care for the most innocent and the most hurt. Know that your love is an amazing legacy.

When A Pet Dies Unexpectedly  

Whether it’s a young pet or a faithful companion, a sudden loss is gut-wrenching. It’s OK to acknowledge how unfair it feels.

  • This sucks and isn’t fair. I’m so sorry your sweet [Susie] is gone, and I’m here when you need a shoulder.
  • It’s hard to let our fur-babies go­—especially when it’s so sudden. My whole heart is with you.
  • I’m not as good at [snuggles] or [nose-kisses] as [Buttercup], but I’m willing to do anything to give you comfort right now. 
  • You and [George] packed so much love in such a short time. Thinking of you today.
  • The time you had with [Hope] wasn’t enough, but you filled every moment of [her] life with love.
  • There are no words. Only love.

When Someone Puts A Pet To Sleep  

So often, the last kind act we do for a pet is the hardest. Give your friend extra reassurance and comfort.    

  • The decision to let a beloved pet go is such a hard one. Sharing in your sadness right now.
  • I’m so sad for you, but grateful [Elaine] isn’t hurting anymore, and that [she] had you with [her] in [her] last moments.
  • There’s nothing easy about being responsible, loving and sensitive. That’s why those things are so worthwhile and why they make such a difference. 
  • Sometimes the right thing sucks, but it’s still the right thing. Thinking of you.
  • You did the last kind thing for your best friend. I’m here if you need to talk.
  • I know you’re hurting from your hard choice, but you made it because you cared so much for [Buddy]. You’re a good human.
  • [Bruce] felt love and security at the end. That’s because of you.

Last summer, I had to say goodbye to my 11-year-old rescue, Bruce—another handsome black cat with a white spot under his chin. His health went up and down for a few months, and after two roller-coaster-y weeks of testing and treatment, he passed away with his head on my shoulder. 

My wonderful, empathetic friends sent cards, personalized memorials and social media messages that comforted me through the weeks after his death. I hope they know—and you know—that what you say when someone loses a pet really, really matters.