top of page

Children & Pet Loss

Clear Is Kind.  Unclear Is Unkind.
~Brené Brown

The Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center has an AMAZING 6-page handout to help parents and guardians navigate this difficult process:  

Helping Children Cope with the Serious Illness or Death of a Companion Animal.  

The Parmenter Foundation is an organization located in Eastern MA with many resources on pet loss.  This short video "Talking to Children About Pet Loss" provides a good introduction on how to talk with your kids. 


Helpful Hints: 


It is best to be as direct as possible with kids.  

We usually try to use clear, accurate and concrete words (such as dead and dying).

Examples on how to explain euthanasia:

  •  "Tiger is dying, we are going to give him a special kind of medication that helps his body stop."

  • "When an animal is hurting, we can choose to help them die"

Examples of how to explain cremation:

  • "His body will be taken to a room that gets very, very hot and will turn his body into ashes that sort of look like sand."

Avoid euphemisms, they can be very confusing

Try avoid sayings such as:   "going to sleep" or "going to a better place".  

Books & Activities

We have a suggested book list for children

If possible - we recommend ordering the book My Forever Friend as early as possible in the process

There is a dog and cat version of this book and it has great activities to help celebrate your beloved pet before they pass and to assist with the grieving process.  You can get this book on Amazon.  

My Forever Friend:  A children's guide and activity book for saying goodbye to a special dog

My Forever Friend:  A children's guide and activity book for saying goodbye to a special cat

By Dr. Mary Gardner & Coleen Ellis

A transitional item (tangible)

Consider getting a transitional item such as a stuffed animal or pillow with your pet's picture on it.  This can be a snuggled item that they can hug and love once your pet has passed.   Dr. Atkins usually has organza bags with her and can provide a locket of fur for each family member.  In our experience, kids almost always opt to keep a locket of fur. 

TV Episodes addressing Loss:  For Kids


Mr. Rogers



Sesame Street

Farewell Mr. Hooper


Daniel Tiger

Blue Fish is Dead

Podcasts for Parents/Guardians 


"Talking to Children about Death & Grief with Julia Samuel"

Nov. 23, 2018


"Navigating Grief of Pet Loss with Children"

April 29, 2021


"How to Talk to Kids about Death & Dying with Joe Primo"

Oct. 4, 2022

Additional Resources 


Good Grief

Lots of good resources on their website. 


Sesame Street in Communities.

Good activites for kids on this webpage.


Rainbow Bridge Raina

You can follow Rainbow Bridge Raina on social media. 

We welcome feedback regarding this resource page.  Please let us know if there is anything you think we should add or edit.  Our goal is to help support pet families through this difficult process.  

bottom of page