girl with dog

23 Touching Children's Books about Death of a Dog

the rainbow bridge

The Rainbow Bridge: A Visit to Pet Paradise

This book is sure to cheer up a child who has recently lost a dog. A little boy experiences the progression of Koko's life,  from the time he was an active puppy through the decline of his health. When his pet dog passes away, Rick is provided reassurance from a special visitor that Koko has crossed over the rainbow bridge. The pup is now living his best forever life with all of the other pets who have passed away.

boy with dog


Tender Kids' Books about a Dog Dying

A child who is lucky enough to grow up with a dog knows what it is like to have the most loyal best friend ever.  The benefits of a dog are priceless- unconditional love, constant companion, continual playmate and so much more. That's why it is utterly devastating for a child to experience this loss. For families with lots of pets, dealing with death is inevitable at some point in time. Here are some heartwarming stories about losing a cat that also offer comforting words for little ones who are overcome with sadness when their favorite feline companion passes away.


boy and dog


Sometimes the best remedy is to immediately bring another furry friend into the family. Reading about rescue dogs and pet adoption helps little ones reflect on all the wonderful ways a new pet brings love, joy and healing into a household. Whether a dog's passing is sudden and unexpected or as a result of a gradual decline in health, the emotional aftermath can be excruciating. In fact, it may be the very first time a child experiences the loss of a loved one, which may lead to a barrage of questions about what happens to a dog's soul when it dies. Follow these tips to help a child grieve the loss of a pet, which include finding some stories where characters share their personal experiences.


sammy in the sky

 Sammy in the Sky

A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist delivers a timeless story about a dog's life that ends abruptly due to illness.  Sammy's best girl is especially devastated by the loss of her bubble-chasing guard dog who will no longer be around for tummy rubs and head pats. Grab a box of tissues when you sit down to read this tender, sensitive, spiritual story about a family left behind by their four-legged best friend. Realistic illustrations with a retro feel add depth and dimension to this touching book.



dogs don't die dogs stay

Dogs Don't Die, Dogs Stay

Anyone who has ever owned a dog understands unconditional love and loyalty. So when a dog passes away, the emotional void can be devastating. This tender little book reminds children that the dog's character lives on in their hearts long after the dog dies. A small novelty book that delivers a powerful narrative about the lasting impact of a furry friend.  A very thoughtful gift for anyone, child or adult, who is grieving.



the invisible leash

The Invisible Leash

The author of a best-selling book about grief, The Invisible String, delivers a powerful book specifically about the death of pets. Young children are reminded that we carry the love for our dogs in our hearts even when they are no longer with us. In this story, Zack, who has recently lost his dog, is doubtful that such an invisible leash exists. But after some long walks and soul-searching, he begins to feel this undeniable connection. 



the heaven of animals

The Heaven of Animals

A beautiful picture book that would be a wonderful gift for any child who is grieving. When a dog dies, children can't help but focus on what they have lost. This tender, poetic story by Nancy Tillman depicts a heaven where all pets go after leaving us. A place overflowing with happiness and love, the heaven of animals will bring tears of joy to your child's eyes and help ease the sadness over the loss of a beloved dog.




dog heaven

 Dog Heaven

A classic, best-selling picture book that paints a most idyllic picture of the afterlife for dogs. Expansive, lush fields are filled with dogs roaming, playing and running. An abundance of the most delicious treats are freely available. Readers are told that their dogs will be greeted by their old friends when they arrive in heaven, so the transition will be a peaceful, happy one. Reassuring and cathartic children's book about dogs who go on to live their best lives after they die. A more in-depth book review of Dog Heaven sheds light on why this story resonates with so many.




i'll always love you

I'll Always Love You 

A tender, non-religious story about a loyal and loving dachshund named Elfie. She is a loyal friend and companion to her boy, who is deeply saddened when she passes away from old age. This little boy told his dog on a daily basis, "I'll always love you." This sentiment brings him comfort even when his dog is no longer with him.



what is doggy heaven

What is Doggy Heaven?

Best suited for children ages 3-6, this charming book helps put a child at ease after losing a dog. Young children often want to know what happens when a dog dies. Where does it go? In a short and reassuring way, this gentle story explains that dogs go live someplace very special. This particular story is about a dog who is hit by a bus, so it will resonate well with children who lose their pets as a result of an accident.



 saying goodbye to lulu

Saying Goodbye to Lulu

A little girl learns the sad truth about her best friend who grows too weak to play. Lulu had been her constant companion as they explored the neighborhood, played games together, and cuddled up in bed every night. When Lulu dies, the girl experiences deep sadness but eventually learns how to keep her dog's memory alive in her heart.


when you have to say goodbye

When You Have to Say Goodbye: Loving and Letting Go of Your Pet

Written by a veterinarian, the gentle prose explains to children why pets die. This book is especially helpful for families who are preparing for imminent euthanasia of their pet dog. It prepares children for what to expect and reassures them that the dog will not be in pain. Charming illustrations capture the sweet moments leading up to a dog's final day. A valuable tool to answer more pragmatic, medical questions about why it is time for a dog to be put to rest.



jim's dog muffins

Jim's Dog Muffins

Jim is a first-grade boy who is devastated when his pet dog, Muffins,is hit and killed by a garbage truck. Despite his classmates' best efforts, Jim refuses to cheer up. Instead, he chooses to be alone and refuses to participate in classroom activities. Finally, on a walk home from school, a boy befriends Jim and offers him the opportunity to talk about Muffins. The tears flow as Jim shares his favorite memories, and eventually he begins to feel better.




jasper's day

Jasper's Day

A real tear-jerker about a dog who is suffering from cancer. The time has come to put Jasper to sleep, but the family wants to spend one final day in honor of their most loyal, loving, furry member. Jasper's quality of life has deteriorated rapidly, so the family takes him to visit all his favorite places before they go to the veterinarian's office for a shot to put him to sleep. While extremely sad, this is a wonderful, straightforward book that doesn't gloss over the difficult parts of losing a dog.




for every dog an angel

For Every Dog an Angel

An enchanting and magical story about the role guardian angels play by matching dogs with their owners. Anyone who has ever loved a dog fiercely, understands the undeniable connection between a dog and its human. This short story delivers a lasting message about how time and space will never come between them. Consider this book as a gift to give any child (or adult) who is grieving the loss of a forever dog.



paw prints in the stars

Paw Prints in the Stars: A Farewell and Journal for a Beloved Pet

Ever wonder what your dog is thinking? This beautiful keepsake journal gives a voice to your furry friend who has passed on to the next life. Beautiful poems fill the pages, offering comfort to anyone grieving the loss of a dog. Empty spaces offer opportunities to jot down favorite memories and affix special photos. Children will find therapeutic value in this book that they can flip through whenever they feel sad and lonely.



the rough patch

The Rough Patch

A powerful and sophisticated story about renewal of life after devastating loss. This award-winning book (ALA Notable and Caldecott Honor) tells the story of Evan and his best furry friend. They have an incredible bond and do everything together, from eating ice-cream to pruning an astonishing garden. When the dog dies, Evan walks away from his beautiful garden, leaving it prey to weeds and overgrowth. But when a beautiful pumpkin arises out of dried-up garden, Evan recognizes the sign. Pumpkin in tow, he reconnects with friends and neighbors at the county fair. A deeply meaningful, multi-layered children's books about an unlikely life after an untimely death.




a stone for sascha

A Stone for Sascha

A wordless picture book that is truly a profound work of art. Sascha has always accompanied a little girl and her family on their summer vacations. But this year is different. Sascha is no longer with them. In a deeply moving journey, the girl takes a long walk on the beach, uncovering polished stones, and discovers hidden meaning in a special treasure she uncovers. Every reader will walk away with their personal interpretation and find meaning in the detailed illustrations.




over the rainbow

Over the Rainbow

The most difficult part of bringing a dog into a family is knowing that the day will come to say goodbye. This endearing book with the most magical illustrations focuses on a little girl whose dog dies. She learns what it means when her dog crosses the rainbow bridge. Her sadness is deep but she manages her grief by focusing on the happy memories with her best furry friend.




tear soup

Tear Soup: A Recipe for Healing after Loss

A beautiful coffee-table worthy book about grief for all ages. This contribution is especially helpful for older children who have moved beyond the comfort picture books offer. It's an insightful look at grief that validates the unique way every person copes with the loss of a loved one. For kids who are ready to do a little soul-searching after their furry friend has died, this book offers sage advice and opportunities to heal along the journey.




goodbye bella

Goodbye, Bella

A gentle book that tugs at the heartstrings of readers who will relate to the pain of losing a dog. Charlotte spends the final days of life with her precious Bella, sharing quiet and tender expressions of affection. When Bella passes, Charlotte and her family commemorate their beloved pet by participating in all the activities they used to do together.



up in heaven

Up in Heaven

A truly touching story about Daisy, an elderly dog who has peacefully passed away in her sleep. She was old, frail and tired, so heaven is a welcome respite and new lease on life for her. The only problem is that her boy, Arthur, is left sad and devastated by her passing. After consulting with her doggy friends in heaven, Daisy finds a way to communicate with Arthur. She reassures him that she is happy and that adopting a new puppy may be just the thing to cheer him up.




remembering my pet

Remembering My Pet: A Kid's Own Spiritual Workbook for When a Pet Dies

For many children, the loss of a dog is their very first experience with death. How you help them cope with this loss will set the framework for handling grief for the rest of their lives. This workbook is an excellent tool for kids ages 7-13. Through various exercises and activities, children engage in positive tasks to help them along their journey. Writing journal entries, jotting down favorite memories, storing photos, and planning memorials are all part of the healing process.




murphy and kate

Murphy and Kate

A poignant story about a little girl, Kate, who grows up Murphy, her beloved dog, by her side every step of the way. They go through many developmental milestones together, like teething and learning to walk. As Kate matures into a teen, Murphy gradually slows down and eventually dies. Touching and tender look at a girl who grieves the loss of her best friend and companion.



fairy dog heaven

Fairy Dog Heaven

Whimsical, lighthearted story about all the fun dogs have in fairy heaven.  This short and sweet story will bring comfort to toddlers who are mourning the loss of a dog. Kids will love reading this book over and over again as they imagine the new, wonderful life their cherished pet is living in a most magical place.


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little boy with dog


Books About Dogs Crossing the Rainbow Bridge Can Help

There are many reasons why reading the best children's books about a dog dying can help your child overcome grief. It's important for kids to have their sad feelings validated by reading about others who have experienced the loss of a dog. Reading kids stories about sadness can open a conversation about feelings and start the healing process.

Children will learn about how they can keep the memory of their furry friend alive and things they can do to honor their beloved pup. Most importantly, kids will benefit from knowing that their pain and sadness will eventually fade. Talking to kids about personal beliefs about heaven can provide comfort as well.


boy with dog


When it is time to say goodbye to a special dog, kids will inevitably be filled with grief. It is really important to give them coping skills to handle their sadness. Reading stories about characters who are going through the same emotional journey is a good way open up a conversation about this difficult loss. Many of these titles talk about an afterlife where dogs live happily with other furry friends. This is sometimes referred to as crossing the rainbow bridge to a place where pups experience renewed life and brighter days ahead.    

girl with dog


 Browse Picture Books About Grief

Stories to Read When a Parent Dies

Tender Books About Loss of a Grandparent

Children's Books About a Sibling Death

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