The death of a pet can be just as painful as losing a loved one. But that's where the best ways to memorialize your pet after they’ve gone come in. Once armed with these ideas, you can keep them in your thoughts, by your side and close to your heart forever.
If you are, or were a proud pet parent, it’s likely that your former furry pal was a fully-fledged member of your family who brought lots of love, cuddles and good times into your home. Maybe it was their chilled mannerisms you loved. Or the long walks you used to take with your pup on the best dog-friendly beaches in the US. Either way, saying goodbye to your pet and all the routines you shared can be an extremely tough and emotional time.
After all, our four-legged shadows were there for us during the good, bad and ugly times. They provide us with unconditional love and affection and didn't even have to say anything to make us feel comforted. So, if you are in the stages of grieving the death of your fur friend and wondering how you can commemorate them, we’ve compiled a list of the best ways to memorialize your pet so they can be with you, even after their passing.
32 best ways to memorialize your pet when they're gone
1. Plant a tree or flower
Got some outdoor space or a spare windowsill where you can place a pot? If so, why not plant a tree, shrub or flower in memory of your loved one?
2. Create a memory box
Perhaps you used one of the best dog leashes while on walks, they spent hours playing with their artificial pet rat or loved rolling around your home in an exercise ball. Whatever it may be, create a memory box and fill it with all their favorite things. It’s something you can look back on in years to come.
3. Have jewelry made
No matter whether you had a cat, dog or rabbits, nowadays there are many ways to memorialize your pet’s ashes. If you’re a jewelry-wearer, consider getting a piece of jewelry made, like a necklace or bracelet which encapsulates their ashes. That way, they’ll never leave your side.
4. Turn ashes into diamonds
Talking of jewelry, you could turn your pet’s ashes into lab-made diamonds and have a piece of them incorporated into a ring or pair of earrings.
5. Put pictures up
Make some space on your wall or cabinet and print out some of your favorite pictures of your furry friend. Each time you walk past, you’ll remember the good times you’ve had.
6. Create a memory book
Depending on how crafty you are, you could create a scrapbook or photo album of your pet and their life with you on planet Earth. Start from the day you welcomed them into your home to the last picture you took together.
7. Make a memorial spot
If you’ve decided to bury your four-legged friend, carve out some space for them in your garden with a memorial placard stating their name, date of birth and the day they passed away. Each time you come here, you can reflect on all the wonderful memories you’ve had.
8. Buy a bench in their honor
Placing a bench in the garden in your pet’s honor is a lovely way to pay tribute to your furry friend while giving yourself a dedicated place to sit and think of them.
9. Get a tattoo
This idea is not for everybody (or the faint hearted). But one way to ensure your pet stays close to your heart is by inking your skin and getting a tattoo. You could get the name of their pet or opt for a full portrait drawing.
10. Paw print press
Get their paw print pressed onto a piece of clay or ink so you can keep their paw-fect outline forever. You could get it made into a frame, print or with Christmas coming up, a festive decoration.
11. Create a nose print
We’ve sniffed out another way to commemorate your pet. Just like a paw print, you could get a nose print created to help capture a piece of them forever.
12. Mark the day of their passing
Mark the day they passed away by having a get-together with your friends and family (and those who knew your pet) to celebrate their life and share stories about the many memories you created. You could do this yearly.
13. Make a donation to an animal charity
Commemorate the life of your beloved pet with a one-off donation to a local or global animal charity, who works hard to advocate for increased protections for animals in legislation and policy.
14. Create a fluffy replica
While you won’t be able to bring back your furry friend back to life, you could always source an expert who’s happy to help you create a miniature replica using felt and other soft materials.
15. Make fireworks
Some companies can even turn ashes in fireworks so they can light up the sky and celebrate their life with a bang.
16. Host a pet funeral
Just as you would for a family member, you could memorialize your pet by hosting a funeral in your furry friend’s favorite place. Share stories, share their best moments and you could host a ‘show and tell’ session with videos and pictures of your pet in action.
17. Get a personalized coffee mug made
A functional way to keep your pet's memory alive? Have your pet’s face printed on a mug so you can drink from your cup first thing in the morning until late at night.
18. Commission a drawing
Source an artist who specializes in drawing and painting animals to create a lasting keepsake you can hang on your wall forever.
If you’ve chosen to place their keepsakes into a memory box, keep some of their favorite things aside so you can create an arrangement of their ornaments in your home for you to see.
20. Remember your pet on social media
If you’re on social media, you could always post an obituary to your accounts with a few words about your pet along with pictures and videos. Along with memorializing your furry friend, it might help you to express your grief. Plus, once it’s out in the open you won’t have to break the news over and over again to your friends and family.
21. Create a tribute video
Some pet parents find comfort in looking through old pictures and videos and creating a reel of their pet’s time on the planet. Edit it together with their favorite song and you can keep this on your phone and watch it back whenever you’re feeling low.
22. Write a letter
When a pet is no longer with us, it can feel as though you are mourning all that was and all that was to come. But a letter can help you (and your children) acknowledge everything you have gained from having a furry companion. You and your kids can read through the letter to remember the good times, the laughs and everything your furry pal taught you.
23. Hang up memorial wind chimes
The soft and gentle sound of wind chimes represents the presence of a loved one being near. So every time the wind blows, you’ll think of your pet.
24. Stash a lock of their fur
If you take comfort in keeping a physical part of your pet by your side, you might want to consider stashing a piece of their fur in a keepsake glass. You could keep this in a safe place, like in an arrangement of their ornaments if you decide to create a memorial.
25. Light a candle
Light up the room with a candle that memorializes your furry best friend. Nowadays you can get personalized candles made with the name of your pet etched onto it.
26. Have a picture on your keychain
A personalized keychain with your pet’s name, paw print or picture is a great way to memorialize your pet. For some, it can be especially comforting to know they’re with you all day long.
27. Reuse their accessories
Maybe they had a favorite stuffed toy, blanket or cushion. Whatever it might be, have a blanket made from these items to help bring a sense of nearness back, especially during the colder months.
28. Photo quilt
Talking of blankets, you could go one step further and have a photo collage of your fur baby turned into a warm, comforting blanket. It won’t beat their furry hugs, but it might just feel like you’re hugging them once again.
29. Pet Bowl Remembrance Planter
Instead of stashing away their accessories, you could give their pet bowl a new lease of life and turn it into a living tribute planter.
30. Turn their ashes into glass art
How does a memorial glass orb sound? Or a colorful glass window with your pet’s paw print? Clever businesses can turn your pet’s ashes into a work of (glass) art with lots of colors, shapes and styles to choose from.
31. Keep their ashes in an urn
There’s a range of caskets and urns for you to store away your pet’s ashes which can give some comfort in knowing they are still here.
32. Adopt another animal
One way to honor your pet’s life is to give another pet as much love, care and attention as you gave them. Adoption could be the way to go. Or, if you’re not ready to adopt you could always look around for pet charities where you can volunteer.
We know the death of a pet can hurt as much as the death of a person. So here are seven things nobody tells you when you pet dies — some of which might help you navigate your grief.
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Becks is a freelance lifestyle journalist who has more than 9 years of experience in the world of digital and print journalism. She covers health, wellness and family interests for a range of titles. When she's not putting pen-to-paper (or finger-to-keyboard) she's reading, in the gym, or taking her Dog Aunt title very seriously looking after the handful of four-legged creatures in her life.