Loss is an inevitable part of owning a dog, but it’s still incredibly difficult to say goodbye to your friend.
“Pet loss can be one of the most devastating and profound losses a person can experience,” Certified Grief Recovery Specialist Iman Gatti told The Spruce Pets.
If and when you feel ready to memorialize your canine pal, you may want to consider a physical tribute or memorial.
West and Willow
Add up to 3 pets
No personalized message (except name)
West and Willow specializes in creating custom, digitally hand-painted pet portraits of your pet. Simply send in your favorite photo (or photos) of your dog, select the background and frame style, as well as size, and receive a real artist’s interpretation of your beloved pup as a beautiful keepsake.
Turnaround time is surprisingly fast; expect around a week or two for your personally-assigned artist to reach out via email with a mockup of your pup. From there, you can tweak as needed. There’s also the option to add your pet’s name to the bottom of the piece of art.
Portraits can include up to three pets. For this reason, this idea is wonderful for memorializing numerous pets, even if they’ve lived in different lifetimes. Choose from two different art styles: modern, which is a digital painting that looks rather realistic, or line, which is an ultra-modern line drawing rendition of your beloved pet. You can also choose from a selection of different background colors, ranging from pink to white to gray, as well as seasonal and limited-edition colors and designs. Choose from an array of sizes to fit your wall space, as well as different frame styles to match your decor and really make your image stand out.
Orders arrive within one to two weeks once the image and frame selections are finalized.
Price at time of publish: From $67 (for 8"x10" custom one pet portrait)
Best Photo Frame
Pearhead Forever In my Heart Pet Memorial Frame
6 frame options
Fits only 4 x 6 inch photo
Cherish, honor, and preserve a photo of your dog in this beautiful photo frame. In addition to keeping their image on display, this photo frame includes a sentimental message etched into the lower portion of the frame. Choose from six different messages, including simple ones like “forever in my heart” to a well-known “Rainbow Bridge” poem. The frame fits any standard 4 x 6 photo.
Price at time of publish: $10
ODB Personalized Cremation Urns for Pet Ashes
Slot for photo
Photo slot is an uncommon size
Must have a screwdriver to open
This wooden urn is ultra-customizable. It offers a slot for adding a photo of your dog. Simply print your image and cut to size. It’s worth noting that the sizing of the image slot isn’t exactly standard, so you will likely have to trim your picture once it’s printed. (The photo slot dimensions are 2 1/8 x 3 5/16 inches, which is a little bit tricky to match.) Once you’ve cut the picture to size, simply slide the photo between two pieces of glass, included, for a protective covering and beautiful finish to your image.
This urn also offers customization in the form of your pet’s name, carved beautifully into the front of the wooden urn. Above your dog’s name is a heartwarming image of a heart mingling with two paw prints. Below your dog’s name is a lovely quote to honor their life and the love you have for them. You can also add the years your pet lived for an extra touch of personalization.
Given the sturdiness of this solid wood box-style urn, plus the personalized carvings, this urn is an excellent value for money. It holds up to 80 pounds of ashes, making it great for most breeds. No installation is required, except you will have to have a screwdriver on hand to open the back portion of the urn, where the ashes can be placed.
Price at time of publish: $15
Best Memorial Stone
ADFSTONE Pet Memorial Stones Personalized Dog Remembrance Gifts
Numerous sizes available
Low-res images may not work
Etching means your image will not be in color
Whether your dog is physically buried in your yard or not, this memorial stone is an excellent marker of their time on this earth. Wherever it lies, it’s a stunning homage to your dog’s legacy.
This stone is available in five different sizes and is made from glossy black granite, for a high-quality look and feel. It’s customizable, allowing for an image of your pet, an option to add your pet’s name, and an option to add a personalized message. Simply choose your favorite image, upload to your computer, and select from two different tiers of enhancement. It’s best if you upload a high-resolution image. It’s also worth noting: The image is etched onto black granite, and thus does not retain color in the way that an actual photo would. Overall, this item is a striking and ultra-durable way to remember your dog.
Price at time of publish: $24 (for 5" x 5" stone)
What To Look For
Cremation or Burial?
“If you’re wondering whether cremation or burial are right for you, know that it is a personal choice and there truly is no wrong way to go about it,” Gatti told Spruce Pets, adding that some people even preserve their dogs with taxidermy.
“Perhaps you have a special place on your property for a burial and you’d like to have a service to remember your furry pal,” she said. “It might bring you comfort to have an urn of their ashes, in your home where you can still feel them close.”
Look for high-quality materials, such as solid wood, granite, or crystal (depending on the type of memorial you’re getting). Ensuring that your memorialization item is sturdy can give peace of mind that your memorial will last for years to come.
Plenty of pet memorial options offer customization, including engraving of your pet’s name, a personalized message, or even a photo into a stone such as granite or into crystal. There are also books that you can customize to honor your dog’s life, complete with images and written memories that you can cherish forever.
How do you deal with the death of a dog?
“The most healing thing we can do to grieve our furry friends is to allow every single ounce of emotion to surface and then come out in a healthy way,” Gatti told The Spruce Pets. “We too often forget that grief is a healthy and natural reaction to loss. It is a privilege to grieve and a testament to the depth of our love for the ones we lose.”
Why Trust The Spruce?
Sophie Wirt is a freelance writer for The Spruce Pets. For this article, she carefully selected a range of different dog memorialization options, ranging from photo frames to garden stones. Most options are customizable, and all are made from high-quality materials that’ll last for years. For additional insight, Sophie also consulted Iman Gatti, a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, who provided insight on the mourning process involved with losing a dog.