Guide to Writing a Pet Obituary

**Now Available in Brochure form for bulk purchase**


Dedicated to our beloved Remy, the gentle “Bear Dog” 

Your beloved pet has died, and you are grieving.  In my opinion, there are many helpful rituals in the grieving process that we go through for our human loved ones, that we can also do for pets.  Our pets feel like family members, and we grieve them the same way.  Your pet’s obituary may never make it to the local newspaper, but it can still provide an enormous amount of solace for you and any other family members or friends.

There is no right or wrong way to write an obituary for your pet. The goal is to put something down on paper – or computer – to memorialize your beloved animal, and your relationship.  No memory is too small or insignificant; it is the tiny, intimate details that many people miss most.  You can do this individually, or together with other family members or friends.  You can do it a little at a time, or all at once.  You can make your obituary as high tech (all computerized) or as low tech (handwritten) as you choose, but I do recommend that you print out a copy if you write something on the computer, so that you have something tangible and real, rather than solely virtual.

There is also no right or wrong time to write about your pet. Even if they died many years ago, it may still be helpful to write an obituary for them. 

Here are some ideas of what to write about to get you started.

  • Write out a list of your pet’s nicknames (possibly including how they came to be)
  • How did you obtain your pet? Describe the first time you saw them.
  • Who do they leave behind? Include family, any other animals, and friends.
  • Did you know your pet as a puppy, kitten, or young animal? What was your pet like as a youngster, or when they first came to live with you?
  • What were your pet’s favorite games, toys, and activities?
  • What was your pet’s favorite food?
  • What places did your pet travel to? What was their favorite place to visit?
  • Where was your pet’s favorite place to sleep?
  • What was your pet’s favorite time of year?
  • What was your favorite part of your daily routine with your pet?
  • Describe your pet’s personality, including good and bad qualities (i.e. sneaking food off the counters). What mischief did your pet get into?
  • What were your favorite personality traits and quirks?

Once you have created something, here are some ideas for what to do with your pet obituary.

You can email your writing to friends and family, or post it online on social media to let people know about your loss. You may then wish to invite people to share their own memories of your pet.  You can also send a copy to your veterinarian, groomer, pet store owner, doggie daycare provider, dog walker, or anyone else who has been a part of your pet’s life.

You can print out or create a copy of your obituary and put it somewhere in your home along with a picture of your pet, a candle, a favorite toy, and any other mementos to create a small shrine. If you choose, you can purchase special, decorative printer paper to print your words onto.  You can frame a copy, or place one in a drawer, or with your pet’s ashes, if you have chosen to keep them.  You can keep a copy with you, in your pocket or in your wallet or purse.

If you have children, you can give them each their own copy, and they can decide where they would like to keep it. They may choose to personalize their copy with drawings or additional words. 

If you choose to make a donation in your pet’s memory, you may choose to include a copy of your pet’s obituary.

However you choose to share and keep your pet’s obituary, you will have created a special document to help preserve your precious memories of your beloved pet.




©KarenFineDVM2017.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Karen Fine, DVM with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


9 thoughts on “Guide to Writing a Pet Obituary”

  1. Thank you for the suggestions. I have a 16 year old JRT that is showing his age and has CHF – I know our time is coming to an end and I can’t bare it. He is the last of 4 that my husband and I rescued after we married. He is currently 1 of 7 that we have – but he holds a very special place in our hearts. This will be very helpful for me when his time comes.


  2. Any information I can get to help relieve my grief is welcome. I had to have my dog Penny euthanized on July 27 of this year. My grief is still really hard to handle. It was just her and I for the past twelve years. My family was very sorry for me at first, but now don’t have anything to say to help me. I actually don’t have anyone to talk to. The one couple I know just say to get another dog. I don’t see that as a solution right now. I am visiting family out of state over the holidays. Maybe when I get home I can consider it. Nothing is going to replace my Penny. Everything I think about doing I still need to get her in the car. When I wake up in the morning I look at her chair to see if she is still there and then I do it again. The paperwork came in the mail the other day for renewal of dog license. I really lost it then. I could go on and on. If you have any suggestions please let me know. I have read about four or five books on the topic.


    1. Dear Nancy, I am so very sorry for the loss of your beloved Penny! The depth and length of your grief is more common than you realize, and is not surprising as she was such an important part of your life. At this point, I really think it would help for you to speak to someone who understands. There are many Pet Loss Support Hotlines, here is a link to the one at Tufts which has links to other hotlines and resources, Another idea would be to find a therapist who specializes in Pet Loss Grief Counseling. You could try this link to find one in your area, or call your local referral clinic and ask if they have someone they refer clients to. Thank you for reaching out, and again, so sorry for your loss, and I wish you the best.


    2. Hello, I know some time has passed and I am wondering how are you doing? I am sorry of the loss of your Dear Penny. I am going through loosing my Dear Faih she was 10 years old.
      I hope you are doing well.


  3. Dr. Fine,
    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your article in the Spring, 2018 Issue 93 of BARK magazine. I loved and agreed with every word of it. My husband and I have had Golden Retrievers, Rescues or “breeder rejects” grace our lives with their antics for over 30 years. I don’t recall exactly when I began setting up a kind of a “memorial” to the buddy we lost with pictures, cards, toys, whatever. This kind of tribute (which I kept in view much too long for some folks, I’m sure) helped me and my husband (and our other dog) overwhelmingly! Reading your article helped me understand that what I did was not only OK but necessary. And I have shared your thoughts and the article with others to help them with their grief. I still mourn the loss of my heart/soul pups but never regret for a moment agreeing to the rescues with challenges or adopting an older “pup” — animals continue to bring so much joy and love into our hearts and lives. Thank you for all you do for our furry loves. Wish you were located in Wisconsin!


    1. Dear Marlene, thank you so much for your kind words, they are so appreciated! In my house call practice I have seen many such “memorials” and they are more common than you might think.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s