How to talk to Kids about the Death of a Pet

This podcast will focus on how to talk to kids about the death of a pet as well as how to cope with the grief associated with pet loss. Wendy Van De Poll provides tips to help adults know how to help a child grieve when a pet dies as well as what to say to a child when a pet is sick and death is imminent. She also provides ways to help support a child in moving forward to engage in positive memories to help heal the grief.

Special Guest: Wendy Van de Poll

This podcast provides:

  • Tips:
    • Plan ahead.
    • Know the difference between normal and abnormal grief.
    • Let a child grieve and allow your child to have a full breadth of feelings.
    • Use real words.
    • Discuss the life cycle.
    • Read books to your children about loss
    • Create scrap books or allow your child to write a letter to your pet
  • Scripts:
    • Why not to say “your dog went to sleep” and what to say instead.
    • How to move towards positive memories.
    • How to honestly but gently talk to your child when your pet is very sick and death is going to occur soon.
    • What to say when you are angry and loss is sudden.


  • Steps
    • Know the stages of grief and don’t rush them.
    • Play a positive game.
    • What do you remember?

Important Messages:

  • We must let kids grieve- this is a big loss in their lives.
  • Dispel the myths of grief—grief doesn’t just go away.
  • Everyone grieves in different ways.
  • Notice the difference between grief and mourning.

Notable Quotables:

  • “I feel like death as hard as it is, gives us a wonderful doorway for our children to teach them about truth, honesty and the cycle of life.”
  • “The relationships that children have with animals are purely magical.”
  • “Honesty is critical…it helps us change the paradigm that death is a bad thing. Death gives room for life.”


All Kindle books by Wendy Van De Poll are on sale on May 23rd and May 24th on Amazon for all our listeners!