What Should I Do If My Dog Passes Away in My Home?

German Wire Hair

It's understandably distressing if your dog dies unexpectedly at home. It's never easy to lose a cherished pet, but if your dog dies unexpectedly at home, you'll need to act quickly and make some decisions, such as transferring your pet to a cemetery or Crematory.

We understand that handling your dog's sudden death can be hard to do when emotions are high, so follow these few steps to support you in handling your dog's death.

Assess the Situation

Are you certain your dog has died? If you're unsure, take your dog to the next open veterinarian for assistance. Feel your dog's heartbeat to see whether he has a pulse or if he has gone into cardiac arrest. If you believe your dog is still alive, you should try CPR or another sort of first assistance.

If you are certain that your dog has passed away, the easiest scenario is typically to take your dog's body to the veterinarian for assistance.

Contact Your Veterinarian

If you call during regular business hours, your veterinarian can walk you through the process. They may also be able to connect you with someone who can transport your pet's body (like a pet crematory or mobile vet service). In rare situations, your veterinarian's clinic may be able to hold your pet's body for a day or two while you decide whether to have your pet cremated or buried. Your veterinarian should also be able to put you in touch with a local cremation or burial firm. Most veterinarians, fortunately, have a working connection with at least one local firm that provides these services.

Call for Help

It could be preferable if you don't have to be alone at this difficult period. If at all possible, contact a close friend or family member who can provide emotional support and assist you in dealing with your pet's remains in a practical yet sympathetic manner. If you don't believe you'll be able to manage your pet's body physically or emotionally, enlist the help of someone you trust.

Handling the Body

It's not pleasant to discuss, yet you may need to deal with your pet's body. If you intend to bury your pet personally but are unable to do so immediately away, the body must be carefully kept. If you want your pet cremated or buried by a firm that won't be able to collect your pet's remains straight away, you'll need to keep the remains correctly. If your pet dies in the middle of the night or on a holiday, this might be the case. For these kind of situations, several pet crematories offer a 24-hour phone service. The most important thing to remember is that the deceased pet's remains must be dealt with as quickly as possible.

The harsh reality is that an animal's body begins to degrade as soon as it dies. The body will soon emit a terrible stench that will attract insects. The rate of decomposition increases as the temperature rises. Rigor mortis, or joint stiffness, usually occurs between 10 minutes to three hours of death and can persist up to 72 hours. The temperature will influence this procedure once again. Before rigor mortis sets in, the remains should be appropriately treated.

How to Handle and Prepare Pet Remains

  • Wear gloves while handling the body. Upon death, bodily fluids are often released. You may wish to clean the areas around your dog's mouth, genitals, and anus if you notice fluid or waste. Additional bodily fluid and/or waste might be released when the body is moved.
  • Obtain a blanket, towel, or bed sheet that is large enough to wrap around the body. Also, get a heavy-duty plastic trash bag (double them up if the body is very large or if the bags are thin).
  • Arrange the body on the blanket, towel, or sheet. Place the body on its side in a curled-up position, as if sleeping. This may offer a sense of peace and also make it easier to handle the body.
  • Tightly wrap the body in the blanket, towel, or sheet. Then, slide the body into the plastic bag(s). This will be a two-person job if the dog is large.
  • If possible, tie the bag into a secure knot or tape it closed. You may wish to double up on bags. If the remains will be going elsewhere, be sure to attach a label or tag with your name and your dog's name.
  • Remains should be kept in a freezer or refrigerator until burial, cremation, or another arrangement takes place. If you are unable to store the remains in this manner and cannot get the body to your vet or a local pet aftercare company, a garage or basement may need to suffice. This should be for no longer than 4 to 6 hoursĀ as the odor will become severe and permeate your home. Use of additional plastic bags is recommended if freezer or refrigerator storage is not possible.

Burying Your Dog's Body

If you wish to bury your dog on your property, see if local laws allow this. Certain areas prohibit the burial of pets, especially in cities.

Before burial, remove any non-biodegradable items from the corpse (such as plastic). If desired, the body might be put in a wooden or cardboard coffin. The depth of the burial should be at least 3 feet. Choose a spot that will not degrade or be dug up again by accident. You may choose to honor your beloved pet by placing a headstone or other monument on his or her grave.