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Pet Sympathy Messages: Condolences for Loss of Dogs, Cats, and Other Pets

Blake started out scribbling in cards over 30 years ago. Though his handwriting is mostly unchanged, the content has improved.

People live much longer than dogs, who live short lives full of loyalty and unconditional love.

People live much longer than dogs, who live short lives full of loyalty and unconditional love.

Unless we're talking about tortoises, pets don't usually outlive their owners. So chances are if you have a pet, you will eventually feel the sting of loss when your pet dies. When that happens, you will need comfort and kind words.

When you write a sympathy message for a friend who has lost a pet, it's a good idea to think of the death as that of a family member. If the owner lives alone with animals only, this is especially true.

Empathy is the most important characteristic to have when writing your pet loss condolences, although it is appropriate at times to use humor for cheer if it's done tactfully.

Sympathy Messages for Pets

Here are some general sympathy card messages for the loss of a pet, followed by more specific messages for the loss of a dog and fish. Keep in mind that these are nonspecific and personal details should be added.

  • "My heart goes out to you and your family as you grieve the loss of a very lovable member of your family."
  • "May you be comforted by the peace of knowing that you provided a loving home to your awesome pet for several years."
  • "Most people treat their pets like friends and family, but I think you treated yours even better."
  • "Losing a pet can be tough, and it reminds us how short and precious life can be."
  • "It's not easy when you have to go on after losing a pet who was such a good friend."
  • "I know it's a cruel irony that the one member of the family who would be most comforting during a time of loss is the one you have to grieve."
  • "Some pets are really good pets, but then there are those who are flat-out amazing. I am sorry you lost an amazing pet."
  • "I want you to know that you can call anytime to talk about your loss."
  • "I am praying for you as you mourn the loss of your family member, playmate, and friend."
  • Whenever time, energy, and love are invested in something the way you invested in your pet, there is a huge void that follows the loss of that investment.
  • "It's difficult to witness and enjoy the entire life span of a beautiful creature only to see it all end. I am sorry for your loss."

For the Loss of a Dog

  • "There's definitely something special between dogs and their owners, and it's called unconditional love."
  • "You had one of the coolest dogs I have ever had the pleasure of being around."
  • "I know that your dog can never be replaced. Great dogs like yours are rare."
  • "Forgive the pun, but I know that your dog was a bone-afied member of the family. My thoughts are with your family at this time."
  • "It's sad that dogs have such a short life expectancy. They deserve a longer life, but I think they make up for it by being so lively during the short time we get to enjoy them."
  • "I was saddened to hear that you lost your furry family member."

For the Loss of a Fish

  • "My experience with fish is that they are one of the most relaxing animals to watch. I am sorry your slimy friend died."
  • "I was surprised to hear about your fish's unexpected trip to the water sewage treatment plant. I hope it gets there and is able to rest in peace."
  • "He might have been good at escaping his tank, but even he proved that no one can escape death."

Sayings and Quotes About Animals

Sayings are useful to add in a sympathy card, but they are not personal. A quotation can be used to convey thoughts and feelings, but don't forget to add some specific details to your message.

  • “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened.” ― Anatole France
  • "Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole." ― Roger Caras
  • "My little dog–a heartbeat at my feet." ― Edith Wharton
  • “No matter how close we are to another person, few human relationships are as free from strife, disagreement, and frustration as is the relationship you have with a good dog. Few human beings give of themselves to another as a dog gives of itself. I also suspect that we cherish dogs because their unblemished souls make us wish - consciously or unconsciously - that we were as innocent as they are, and make us yearn for a place where innocence is universal and where the meanness, the betrayals, and the cruelties of this world are unknown.” ― Dean Koontz

“Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen.”

— Orhan Pamuk

  • "The poor dog, in life the firmest friend, the first to welcome, foremost to defend." ― Lord Byron
  • “Sometimes losing a pet is more painful than losing a human because in the case of the pet, you were not pretending to love it.” ― Amy Sedaris
  • “Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet.” ― Colette
  • “It may be a cat, a bird, a ferret, or a guinea pig, but the chances are high that when someone close to you dies, a pet will be there to pick up the slack. Pets devour the loneliness. They give us purpose, responsibility, a reason for getting up in the morning, and a reason to look to the future. They ground us, help us escape the grief, make us laugh, and take full advantage of our weakness by exploiting our furniture, our beds, and our refrigerator. We wouldn't have it any other way. Pets are our seat belts on the emotional roller coaster of life―they can be trusted, they keep us safe, and they sure do smooth out the ride.” ― Nick Trout

Funny Condolence Messages

Whenever humor is used in a condolence message, you run the risk of offense. Use tact and caution with these, although humor can serve as a great coping tool for the stress of losing a pet:

  • "Just once I'd like to hear that the dog won in a collision with a car."
  • "Feel free to borrow my pet any time you miss yours. Mine is driving me crazy."
  • "I know you wouldn't want me to lick your face the way your dog did, but I will try to be as good of a listener for you if you need to talk."

The Benefits of Having Pets

According to the CDC, having pets can lower blood pressure, triglycerides, cholesterol, and feelings of loneliness. People who have pets spend more time exercising and socializing. So losing a pet is a real loss which could include losing these health and social benefits.

Because of this, it's important to hang out with someone who has just lost a pet. People must go through all the same stages of loss and grief for the loss of an animal as for the loss of a human friend or relative. Try not to minimize the feelings of loss others might have when they lose a pet.

© 2012 Blake Flannery


Browny on April 23, 2020:

You had one of the coolest dogs I have ever had the pleasure of being around."There's definitely something special between dogs and their owners, and it's called unconditional love.

Chris on February 09, 2020:

The “funny condolence cards” are insulting to the owner and the pet. How dare someone think this event is taken lightly. Unless the owner is callous and should never have owned a pet in the first place, no one should be as insensitive as to send an oxymoron such as a “humorous sympathy“ card .


Tracy on January 20, 2020:

I think the puns are insensitive.

Betty Fobare on June 11, 2019:

I agree regarding the fish comments; they were not funny at all.

Regardless if a pet is furry or not, that doesn't make them any less special. They are still a beautiful living creature and precious to someone's heart.

Douglas on April 22, 2019:

just lost my best friend, "Jackson", today. it;s an overcast day in the 50's. It's his kind of day. He is a runner ( Lab). I would give his personality as that of a hunter of small animals. He has been that friend who would meet you at the door and would wait for you to go to bed.

He was Family......

Jack, I love you and will never forget you, see you on the other side bud.

Handsome on March 14, 2019:

I love you so much baby boy.

LEX on September 06, 2018:

Red Sox win on Brandon Phillips' HR in 9th

Ranita Lal on January 12, 2018:

very nice , i like all of them.

gamer creep on November 27, 2017:


Melissa on October 04, 2017:

Rabbits are not rodents FYI

Ka on September 07, 2017:

WTF re the fish comments? Is this an Onion-wannabe piece? Not funny.

Rosanna on August 29, 2017:

Novalee I am so sorry you are left to deal with this in your heart. Christian or not that is wrong, that again is a bad example of a Christian. There are many examples in the Bible to prove that animals do go to heaven, we have them to look forward to. God would not give us ones the special to not seeing them again. We had a contractor once tried to tell us our pet do not go to heaven, he's entitled to his believes, sorry for him, also his ignorance got him fired. Have you heard of Nouahs arc?

John I agree w you too, tacky comments about the fish.

StephanieRMontgomery on August 10, 2017:

Thank you for sharing the info. I found the details very helpful. Thanks again for publishing this excerpt about pets.

Blake Flannery (author) from United States on February 09, 2015:


I'm glad this page helped you. I hope you don't get into trouble for copying my work for your assignment. ;-) These are intended for personal use only.

refuyhu on February 09, 2015:

Thanks for the symphaty its our assignment! :-)

Novalee on November 22, 2014:

In high school I lived with my cousin's be a use my mother was incapable of taking care of me. My cousins had a dog named Sebastian and I ended up loving him and he became my baby. All through high school he slept in my bed and he was my son. Literally like a month before I graduated he bite my cousins oldest son and he made a big deal about it and I went to church camp and when I came home, naturally I called Sebastian to come say hi to me and my brother walks out of the room and tells me my cousin took him to the pound. They had him years before I moved in and I had him for 4 years and over one incident they took him away from me and I had asked if I could take him to college with me and they couldn't wait literally 2 more weeks. They did it because they knew it would hurt me. I still think about Sebastian and wonder what happened to him. My cousins never even brought it up and never said sorry to me. They literally acted like he never existed. And they're Christian and I asked if I would see him again on heaven and they said no animals don't have souls. To this day that hurts me. But who cares obviously they're completely wrong, of course animals have souls!!!!

Claire on May 05, 2014:

I agree John.

JOhn on January 30, 2014:

I don't think the fish comments are funny at all.

Lanie Robinson from Canada on August 25, 2012:

My cat died 5 and a half years ago and I still miss her. She lived with me for almost 15 years, all of my adult life at the time. I bawled like a baby, runny nose and all. Pet love should never be underestimated.

melbelle from Southern United States on July 26, 2012:

I can definitely relate to losing a pet. You have good advice here about giving condolences to pet owners. I still miss my little girl who went to heaven 3 years ago. Good job.

Nancy Yager from Hamburg, New York on July 26, 2012:

Your comments for fish are hysterical. Yes I am the owner of fish and snails, so I can laugh at this. Voted UP and Shared