The Death Of A Pet: How To Break The News To Your Children


When a pet dies, it is normal to experience grief and sadness. But for those of us with children, the loss of an animal who is considered part of the family can present several unenviable challenges. How do you explain what has happened? Should you hold some information back? What can you do to make everything better? 

At Remembered Forever, we specialise in helping people come to terms with the loss of their loved ones and know just how remarkable a family pet can be. 

In the blog below, we explore the best ways to break the news of your pet’s passing to your children. 

Why Are Our Pets So Important? 

For many of us, owning a pet is extremely rewarding. They are around to witness our successes and triumphs, and can even offer comfort and support when life gets tough. At times, the presence of a pet is enough in itself to inspire feelings of happiness and contentment. They truly are that special. 

Discover how to tell your children about pet loss

In the case of children, it’s fair to say that some consider their pets to be their very best friends. These creatures provide youngsters with entertainment, companionship and support from a very early age, greeting them when they come home from school, offering them a shoulder to cry on and accompanying them on many a memorable outing. 

It’s for all of these reasons that dealing with pet loss is so difficult. 

How To Tell Your Children 

So here’s the hard part. 

Although it will be one of the most difficult things you’ll ever do as a parent, it makes sense to prepare for the day when you have to deliver the news of your pet’s death to your children. 

Here is some advice to guide you both through the process. 

  • Be truthful: The first thing you should do is tell your children the truth about what has happened. How you do this will vary in accordance with their emotional maturity and understanding of death, but the sentiment remains the same. 

Avoid obscuring the truth by using phrases such as “Max has gone on holiday” and instead, help your children get to grips with the idea of death by gently reminding them that dying, and thus not being around anymore, is a normal part of life. This may seem harsh, but lying to your children will make them less likely to trust you (or anybody else) in the future. 

If your children are too young to understand death as a concept, don’t worry. It’ll be useful here to tie your explanation of death to any spiritual or religious beliefs you may have in order to make things easier to understand. 

  • Explain that all feelings are valid: For most children, the death of a pet will be the first time they experience loss. And although unpleasant, this will help them to understand and deal with grief better as they get older. 

At this point, it is important to explain to them that it is completely normal to feel a whole range of emotions when someone dies, from sadness right through to anger. Share in their grief by being open with them about how you feel. If they see that you’re upset, they may find some comfort in the fact that they aren’t alone. 

  • Reassure them that it wasn’t their fault: Because the death of a pet can come as a shock, it’s not uncommon for children to feel somewhat responsible. It is your job here to reassure them that there was nothing they could have done to prevent this natural event from occurring and that their pet loved them very much. 
  • Reminisce about the good times: The death of a pet hits so hard because of how much joy they give us over the course of their lives. Encouraging your children to talk about how their pets made them feel can be a great coping strategy, as can suggesting that they write a letter to – or draw a picture of – their departed friend in the days after their death. 
pet loss can be difficult for children to deal with

What Happens Next? 

Once your child has begun to process the news, what you do next is vital. It may take some time for them to accept what has happened, but you can move this process along by: 

  • Informing their wider network: If your child is struggling at home, there’s a good chance they’ll be carrying their feelings with them to nursery, school or anywhere else they go. You should take this opportunity to explain the situation to your child’s caregiver, with the understanding that this may have an impact on their behaviour. Keep your child in the loop here to ensure that transparency is maintained at all times. 
  • Holding a special ceremony in your pet’s honour: Often, children are sad that they didn’t get to say a physical goodbye to their beloved pet. Allow them to gain some closure by holding a ceremony in which they can give their pet the send-off they deserve. This can involve a burial, moments of reminiscence and special readings. 

Purchase A Timeless Frame Urn From Remembered Forever 

At Remembered Forever, we can ease the loss of your pet with one of our timeless handmade keepsakes. Our framed urns are the perfect way to help children remember a pet who was part of the family both tastefully and sensitively. We have a range of options available, including Pet Ashes and Keepsake Frames, Pet Ashes Frames and a selection of other memorial items. We create our products to your exact specification and ship worldwide.

a memorial or ashes frame can help you deal with pet loss

Since 2020, we have been trusted by families all over the world to create personalised mementos to their beloved pets and are committed to getting each and every product right at the first time of asking. That’s how much we care. 

To find out more about us, visit our website today. You can also fill out this form and a member of our team will get back to you as soon as possible. 

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