Best books to help overcome pet loss

If you are a longtime pet owner, then you would know the difficulties in overcoming the grief associated with the loss of a pet. Nothing can prepare you beforehand for the loss of a beloved family member, including pets.

While every individual’s grieving process is different, influenced by the culture, society, and upbringing, there are some books and resources that can help you in coping and reconciling with the loss of your darling pet.

In this article, we will look at some of these resources and list the best books to help overcome the loss of a pet. Our recommendations include resources for all age groups – children, teenagers, and adults.

We have compiled this list by consulting experts and surveying a wide audience in different age groups. Many of the options that we list are also available in multiple formats, including Kindle as indicated in the list. We will also share some additional online resources to help you in overcoming the grief and sorrow of losing a pet.

Note: If you or someone else you know is having difficulty overcoming the grief of pet loss despite making all personal efforts, it would be a good idea to seek professional help. Prolonged grief can sometimes trigger other serious mental problems.

List of the best books to help overcome pet loss

Some of the best books to help overcome pet loss and grief are listed below:
PictureProductEditionsFeatures 

When Your Pet DiesKindle
Paperback
- Target Audience: Adults and Teenagers.
- Best For: Loss of all pets.
- This practical guide on pet loss management is authored by Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt, a renowned award-winning author, educator, and grief counselor.
- In 90 short pages, the book covers both emotional and practical aspects of losing a pet, managing the after-death activities and help children understand the death of their pet.
- The current edition was published in April, 2004.

The Pet Loss CompanionKindle
Paperback
- Target Audience: Adults and Teenagers.
- Best For: Loss of all pets.
- This practical guide book on overcoming pet loss is authored by Ken Dolan-Del Vecchio and Nancy Saxton-Lopez, renowned therapist and licensed clinical social workers with vast experience in leading pet loss groups.
- In 130 pages, the book provides practical and straight-forward advice on handling all aspects of overcoming pet loss - coping with grief, making decisions with respect to euthanasia, and after-death activities.
- The current first edition of the book was published in August, 2013.

When a Pet DiesLibrary
Paperback
- Target Audience: Children.
- Best For: Loss of all pets, primarily cats and dogs.
- This best-selling pet loss grief management book for children is authored by the popular author and children's TV personality late Fred Rogers with photography by Jim Judkis.
- In 30 odd pages, the book follows a sensitive approach to help children understand, manage and overcome the grief associated with losing a pet.
- Though the photographs in the book may be outdated, the book explains the process and feelings associated with pet loss in a simple and deft writing style.
- The last edition of the book was published in April, 1998.
Goodbye, FriendKindle
Audiobook
Paperback
Audio CD
- Target Audience: Adults.
- Best For: Loss of all pets, primarily dogs.
- This gentle comforting guide on pet loss is authored by Rev Alan D. Wolfelt, author of multiple bestselling books on animals, nature, history, and spirituality.
- In 180 odd pages, the author takes a compassionate, semi-religious and spiritual view of the emotions associated with pet loss and offers warm, practical advice on how to overcome the loss.
- The book also has a lot of anecdotal accounts and heartwarming stories on how other people have addressed the challenges of pet loss. Because of a somewhat deep view of pet loss, this book is best suited for adult audiences only.
- The first edition of the book was published in 1997, and the current revised edition was published in March, 2012.
The Amazing Afterlife of AnimalsKindle
Audiobook
Paperback
- Target Audience: Adults.
- Best For: Loss of all pets, primarily cats and dogs.
- This award-winning pet afterlife communication book for adults is authored by Karen Anderson, the founder, and CEO of Animal Communication Planet and an Afterlife Expert.
- In over 170 pages, the book presents an uplifting and insightful account of you and your pet's eternal connection even after death as a way to manage the grieving cycle and begin healing.
- This easy-to-follow book is an excellent option for pet parents who believe in afterlife communication.
- The current first edition of the book was published in November, 2017. You can also get a cheaper paperback copy of the book by checking here.
I Will See You in Heaven (Dog Lover's Edition)Kindle
Audiobook
Paperback
Hardcover
- Target Audience: Adults and Teenagers.
- Best For: Loss of pet dogs.
- This popular pet loss management book is authored by Jack Wintz, a religious expert, and Franciscan friar for over fifty years.
- Drawing from the stories of St. Francis of Assisi and his close relationship with animals, the book evangelizes the eternal bond between humans and their pets and helps in spiritual healing.
- The newly expanded edition includes additional blessings and prayers, presentation pages and depictions drawn from experiences of other people.
- The current enlarged and expanded edition was published in December, 2018.
Signs From Pets In The AfterlifeKindle
Audiobook
Paperback
Audio CD
- Target Audience: Adults.
- Best For: Loss of all pets, primarily cats and dogs.
- In 130 pages, the book offers grieving pet parents and animal lovers overcome their loss and heal by identifying signs, messages, and signals from their departed pets and continue their bond with the pets.
- This is another decent choice for pet parents who believe in afterlife communication and are looking to expand their thought process.
- The current edition was published in December, 2015.
I Wasn't Ready to Say GoodbyeKindle
Paperback
Audiobook
Audio CD
- Target Audience: Adults and Teenagers.
- Best For: Loss of all pets and humans.
- This generic book on handling unexpected death in the family is authored by Brook Noel and Dr. Pamela Blair, renowned psychotherapist, TV expert, and pastoral counselor.
- Though written for managing the sudden loss of a human in the family, the book also works well for managing pet loss. Especially useful to manage grief for the first few weeks.
- In 250+ pages, the author presents a philosophical and practical approach to overcome the loss of a loved one in a soft and gentle manner, driven by personal experiences and human psychology.
- The current updated edition was published in May, 2008.
Dog HeavenKindle
Paperback
Hardcover
- Target Audience: Children and pre-teens.
- Best For: Loss of Dogs.
- Popular illustrated pet loss management book for children and pre-teens, authored by award-winning author and illustrator Cynthia Rylant.
- In 40 odd pages, this rhyme book presents a gentle, playful, warm and affectionate account of the dog heaven as God would want it to be.
- The bright, bold color illustrations help in making the book more attractive to young children.
- The current edition was published in August, 1995.
Paw Prints in the StarsHardcover- Target Audience: Adults, Teenagers and Children.
- Best For: Primarily for loss of cats or dogs.
- This unique pet loss storybook and journal is written and illustrated by Warren Hanson, a popular illustrator, public speaker, and musician.
- In 32 short pages, the book depicts the life and lessons learned through the voice of the pet. The book also has journal pages for favorite memories as well as places to attach photographs and a special ribbon to hold your pet's collar tags.
- This journal book provides an easy way to memorialize your pet and ease the pain.
- The current first edition of the book was published in October, 2018.

Top picks – Books to help overcome pet loss

When Your Pet Dies Best book to overcome pet loss - When Your Pet Dies: A Guide to Mourning, Remembering and Healing

When Your Pet Dies: A Guide to Mourning, Remembering and Healing is a short and effective guide that not only offers invaluable insights into the grieving process but also offers practical advice and activities to help overcome the loss of a pet. It is also our favorite recommendation.

This practical pet loss management guide is authored by Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt, noted author, educator, and grief counselor who also serves as director of the Center for Loss and Life Transition. In about 90 short pages, the book covers emotional, physical and practical aspects of losing a pet.

Focused on addressing the loss of any type of pet, the book is divided into chapters on mourning, memorializing and healing after the loss of a pet. The book also covers tips on how to cope with the feelings about putting your pet down, explain pet loss to children and things to keep in mind before getting another pet.

Each chapter is followed by short exercises and activities that can help you get the mind off the loss and focus on accomplishing something around a specific aspect of grieving. The book also has some excellent anecdotes and experiences on how other pet owners have faced the challenges and overcome the loss of a pet.

The book is available in both Kindle and Paperback edition. The current edition of the book was published in April, 2004.

The When Your Pet Dies: A Guide to Mourning, Remembering and Healing by Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt is our recommended choice for a short, simple and effective book for overcoming pet loss.

Here is what some of the popular reviewers and experts have to say about this book:

  • “A compassionate, practical guide for pet lovers.”
    – Parents Express

The Pet Loss CompanionBest book to overcome pet loss - The Pet Loss Companion: Healing Advice from Family Therapists Who Lead Pet Loss Groups

“The Pet Loss Companion: Healing Advice from Family Therapists Who Lead Pet Loss Groups” is another great practical guide for handling the loss of a pet. The book is authored by Ken Dolan-Del Vecchio and Nancy Saxton-Lopez.

Ken is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) who has over fifteen years of experience in leading pet loss groups. Nancy is also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW).

In this to-the-point and practical guide book, the authors pour all their experience of leading pet loss groups and practicing family therapy to offer easy-to-follow guidance and advice to handle all aspects of dealing with pet loss (both just before and after the loss) – how to cope well with grief, how to make decisions around euthanasia and how to put things in perspective and get over the loss.

The book is about 130 pages long and divided into 15 self-contained chapters. It is available in both Kindle and Paperback editions and the current edition of the book was published in August, 2013. The book also has a supplementary website – thepetlosscompanion.com.

The Pet Loss Companion by Ken Dolan-Del Vecchio and Nancy Saxton-Lopez is also our pick for the best book to help overcome pet loss.

Here is what some of the reviewers and pet care experts have to say about this book:

  • “Everyone who’s ever loved an animal companion will find wisdom and solace in this book… I highly recommend The Pet Loss Companion for companion animal lovers like me.”
    – Ed Sayres, President & CEO of the ASPCA.
  • “The Pet Loss Companion is a wonderfully reassuring book for anyone who cares about pets….”– Monica McGoldrick, MSW, Ph.D., Director, Multicultural Family Institute.

When a Pet DiesBest book to overcome pet loss for children - When a Pet Dies

If you are looking for a pet loss grief management guide for a toddler or young kid, then the When a Pet Dies is an excellent starting point. It has been one of the most family-friendly and popular books to overcome pet loss for years and there is a good reason for that.

This best-selling pet loss book is authored by late Fred Rogers, a popular author and children’s TV personality. The book is filled with contemporary (now somewhat outdated) photographs by Jim Judkis.

The book is short 32 pages, so the whole family can read it together. The book follows a simple and sensitive approach to help children understand the concept of death and loss and how they can manage and overcome the grief associated with it. Fred pours all his experience of working on children’s shows to offer a basic, non-religious and non-spiritual approach to the feelings associated with the loss of a pet. While the book is good for handling the loss of all types of pets, it is most suited if you have lost a cat or a dog.

The current edition of the book was published in April, 1998. The book is available in Paperback and Library Binding.

The When a Pet Dies by Fred Rogers is our pick for the best children’s book to overcome pet loss.

Here is what some of the popular reviewers have to say about this book:

  • “A sensitive and sensible first book about death.”
    – The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
  • “Filled with warmth and reassurance,…When a Pet Dies assures youngsters that no matter how badly they feel when they lose a pet, in time their hurt will ease, and they will be able to remember with fondness the happiness they shared.”
    – Booklist

Best books to help overcome the loss of a cat

While almost all of the books that we listed above can also help in managing the loss of a feline, you can check the following additional options, if you are looking for something specifically for managing the loss of a feline:

I Will See You in Heaven (Cat Lover’s Edition)

I Will See You in Heaven (Cat Lover's Edition)

The newly expanded edition of the popular book is authored by Father Jack Wintz, who uses the texts in the Bible to evangelize the eternal bond between humans and their pets. In 110 pages, the expanded edition includes additional blessings and prayers, presentation pages and detailed accounts of other people’s experiences. Available in Kindle, Hardcover or Paperback, the current edition was published in December, 2018.

Soul Comfort for Cat Lovers

Soul Comfort for Cat Lovers: Coping Wisdom for Heart and Soul After the Loss of a Beloved Feline

Authored by Liz Eastwood, this feline loss management guide offers useful advice from grief experts and stories from cat lovers to help you manage your feelings and cope with the loss of your beloved kitty. The content is covered in 130 odd pages, divided into three self-contained parts. The book is available in both Paperback and Kindle. The current edition was published in December, 2012.

Cat Heaven

Cat Heaven

This book is a popular cat loss management guide for 4 – 8-year-olds, authored and illustrated by Cynthia Rylant. Just like its best-selling companion – Dog Heaven, this illustrated rhyme book presents a gentle, playful account of the beauty of Cat Heaven. The book is available in Kindle, Hardcover and Paperback editions, with the original version published in August, 1997.

A Street Cat Named Bob

A Street Cat Named Bob: And How He Saved My Life

Not exactly a book for overcoming pet loss, this is our expert’s personal favorite and a worldwide bestseller. Authored by James Bowen, this book presents a unique account of the bond between humans and their pet companions and the changes the power of love and hope can bring about. Available in Kindle, Audible, Hardcover and Paperback, the current edition was reprinted in December, 2018.

Additional Resources to help overcome pet loss

In addition to the best books to help overcome pet loss that we listed above, you can check out the following additional resources:

Also, check out the following video on some advice on how to overcome the loss of a pet:


Final thoughts on the best books to help overcome pet loss

Just as losing a family member can be excruciatingly painful, so is the loss of a beloved pet. After all, your pet is one of your most faithful and selfless companion throughout its lifetime.

While no planning, tips or tricks can totally prepare you for the loss of a pet, a good resource and book can often be a good starting point.

In this article, we looked at some of the most popular and effective books for overcoming pet loss, compiled based on the feedback from a wide group of people in different age groups, cultures and experiences.

Although grieving is a highly individualistic emotion and different people have different approaches to handling grief, we feel that one or more of these books can help in providing a soothing touch.

We also listed some additional resources and our top picks, based on the quality and popularity of these books.

We hope that you found this article useful and it would help you in identifying the right resources to help you or someone you know in overcoming the loss of your beloved pet. Do let us know your feedback by commenting below. And if you are looking for some resources to train your pup to be happy and healthy, check our article on the best dog training books. Until next time, stay strong, stay happy!

Image credits: Amazon.com