The Death of a Pet: Helping Your Kids Cope

Having a pet is a joy that many kids experience. Pets become members of the family and a kid’s great companion and friend.

Sadly, the joy of being a pet owner goes along with the sadness and heartbreak of flooding one, weather it’s to bless, old age or an accident.  
The death of a pet may be a child’s first experience with the loss of a loved one.

The Death of a pet can be very difficult. We can not shelter out kids from this significantly sad and difficult time. Breaking the news to a child about the death of a loved pet can be extremely difficult. Keep in mind the child’s age and maturity level. If you have an older pet or your pet is sick think about talking to your child before the death happens.  Take some time to talk with your child one on one.  Let them know if they are not ready to talk right away that when they are ready you will be there for them. Avoid lying about the situation to gloss over what is happening.  Don’t tell your child that “Spot ran away or went on vacation”   Most likely it won’t take away the sadness  and if your child finds out you lie it could cause anger that you lied to them.  


Your child may go though a variety of emotions like sadness, loneliness, and maybe even anger.  Let them know it is OK to feel these emotions and allow them to freely talk to you about them when they need to talk.  Just remember that grief is not an event it is a process and will take time to get though.  Let your child know and see that you are sad to.  Don’t hide your own grief from them.  Let them know it is natural.  

There are a few activities that  may help your child cope with his or her grief like:

  • It might help them to draw a picture of the pet
  • Have a small family funeral service for your pet.  Let family members share happy memories about the pet.
  • Find photos of your pet and make a photo book with them.
  • Don’t rush out to adopt another pet.  Allow your child to grieve over the loss and process though their feelings.  If we do not give our children the space and time to process their loss and grief then we can’t expect them to ever learn how to move through them in a healthy way.

We lost one of our beloved dogs a couple years back and it was very difficult for us all.

Do you have any tips to add?


  1. julielaura1 says

    I don’t have any tips but I know when we have lost beloved pets it is hard on all of the family and time is a great healer!

  2. I don’t have any tips but it is very sad for the whole family to loose a beloved family pet!!

  3. kristen visser says

    such great tips and things I will keep in mind! I have lost quite a few pets in my time. My youngest has always been attached to our cat Donny and him passing away is something that will be hard on all of us but especially her so it’s nice to know of these things that may makes things a little easier for her

  4. Leslie Crosbie says

    Thank you for the tips!!
    Losing the family pet is devastating, I remember losing ours when I was very young & still remember the pain to this day.

  5. Losing a pet is the worst at any age! It’s an unfortunate event that all pet owners have to deal with and these tips should help.

  6. It is sad. My daughter lost her cat. She still talks about him.

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