What to Do When your Dog Dies at Home

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Last Updated on March 14, 2024 by Aftab Tariq

What to do When your Dog Dies?

What to do when your dog dies? is a question many pet owners may face. The average lifespan of a dog is around ten to twelve years.

This means that most owners will face the painful experience of losing their beloved pet. It’s never easy to lose a pet, but knowing what to expect when your dog dies can bring some comfort.

If your dog passes away at home, you’ll need to make arrangements for what to do with the body. You’ll have to decide if you want to handle it yourself or have professionals take care of it.

Coping with Pet Loss: Essential Steps

To handle the loss of your dog and navigate the necessary steps with care, follow these guidelines:

1. Contact Your Veterinarian: When your dog passes away, your vet’s office should be your first point of contact. They can provide guidance on what to do next, even outside regular business hours. If they cannot assist directly, they may be able to recommend other services or professionals who can.

During business hours, your vet’s office may offer temporary storage for your pet’s body while you make decisions regarding aftercare.

2. Transportation and Handling: If you need to transport the body yourself, but feel uncomfortable driving, consider asking a friend or family member for assistance.

Prompt action is important, especially in warm weather, as decomposition can begin rapidly. Keep the body as cool as possible during transport to mitigate decomposition.

3. After-Hours Assistance: In the event that your dog passes away at night or during a holiday when your regular veterinarian is unavailable, reach out to an emergency veterinary facility for assistance. They can provide guidance or connect you with services that can help during these hours of need.

4. Remembering Your Pet: Losing a beloved pet is undoubtedly difficult, but it can be helpful to reflect on the cherished memories you shared together. Take comfort in the happy times and the bond you had with your dog.

By following these steps and seeking support from your veterinarian and other available resources, you can navigate this challenging time with care and compassion.

Call for Help

When your dog dies, it can be a really tough time, so it’s good to have someone with you. Try to call a close friend or family member who can give you emotional support and help you deal with your pet’s body in a kind manner.

If you’re not up to it, choose someone who can handle your pet’s body for you, both physically and emotionally.

Handling the Body

Talking about it might not be pleasant, but sometimes you might have to deal with your pet’s body. If you’re planning to bury your pet yourself but can’t do it right away, you need to store the body properly.

The same goes if you want your pet cremated or handled by a company but they can’t take the body immediately, especially if your pet passes away at night or on a holiday. Some pet crematories offer 24/7 phone service for these situations.

The most important thing is to handle the remains as soon as possible. After a pet dies, its body starts to break down right away. It begins to smell bad and attract insects.

The warmer it is, the quicker this happens. Rigor mortis, when the body becomes stiff, usually starts within 10 minutes to three hours after death and can last up to 72 hours. Temperature also affects this process. It’s best to handle the remains before rigor mortis sets in.

Guidelines for Handling and Preparing Pet Remains

Here are some essential guidelines for handling and preparing pet remains:

  • Arrange the body on the blanket, towel, or sheet, lying on its side like it’s sleeping. This can make it peaceful and easier to handle.
  • Wrap the body tightly in the blanket, towel, or sheet, then put it into the plastic bag(s). If the dog is big, you may need help with this.
  • Tie the bag shut securely or tape it closed. Attach a label or tag with your name and your dog’s name if the remains are going elsewhere.
  • When handling the body, wear gloves to protect yourself as fluids may come out after death. Clean around the mouth, genitals, and anus if you notice any fluids or waste. More fluids may come out when moving the body.
  • Find a big blanket, towel, or sheet to wrap around the body. Also, get a strong plastic trash bag, and use two if needed, especially for larger bodies or thin bags.
  • Keep the remains in a freezer or refrigerator until you can arrange for burial, cremation, or other aftercare. If you can’t store the remains properly, keep them in a garage or basement for no more than 4 to 6 hours to avoid strong odors. Use extra plastic bags if refrigeration isn’t possible.

Burying Your Dog’s Body

If you want to bury your dog at home, first check if it’s allowed by local laws. Some places don’t permit pet burials, especially in cities.

Before burying, remove any non-biodegradable materials like plastic. You can use a wooden or cardboard box for the body if you want.

Dig a hole at least 3 feet deep. Pick a spot that won’t easily wash away or get dug up again accidentally. You might want to put a marker or headstone on the grave to memorialize your pet.

If anyone wants to learn more about pets, they can read our articles at harpersatelier.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Check if the Pet has Passed Away?

Look for signs of pulse or breathing, especially since animals can appear very still during sleep.

What Should I do After Confirming the Pet’s Passing?

Contact your vet right away and let them know your plans, especially if you’re thinking of using Patch & Purr for cremation.

How Can I Protect Surfaces While Handling the Deceased Pet?

Place a towel under the pet’s tail and mouth to prevent any mess.

What if the Pet’s Legs are Stretched out?

Gently fold them closer to the body to make it easier to handle.

Should I let other Pets Near the Deceased Pet?

Yes, it’s helpful to let them sniff to understand what’s happened and start the grieving process.

Where Should I keep the Deceased Pet to Keep it Cool?

Avoid warm places and put the pet in a cool, dry spot like a garage.

Is it okay to Handle the Deceased Pet Alone?

It’s better to have someone with you, especially since it can be tough emotionally.

How Should I Handle Larger Pets after a Few Hours?

It’s best not to move them alone, especially after 3-4 hours when their body stiffens.

Where Should I Put the Deceased Pet to Avoid Staining?

Don’t leave them on carpet or furniture; instead, place them on a cold, non-porous surface like a stone floor in a garage or utility room.

Who do I Call to Pick up a Dead Dog?

You can call your local animal control, a veterinary clinic, or a pet cremation service to arrange for the pickup of a deceased dog.

What to do if Dog Dies at Home at Night?

If a dog dies at home at night, keep the body cool and contact a 24-hour veterinary service for guidance. Arrange for pickup by animal control or a pet cremation service if needed, and consider your preferences for burial or cremation.

What to do When your Dog Dies and your Sad?

When your dog dies and you’re sad:

  1. Allow yourself to grieve.
  2. Seek support from loved ones.
  3. Consider creating a memorial.
  4. Practice self-care.
  5. Cherish the memories

My Pet died and I Can’t Stop Crying?

It’s normal to feel overwhelmed with sadness. Allow yourself to grieve, seek support, and consider creating a memorial. Remember to take care of yourself during this difficult time.

What is the Dead Dog Disposal Cost?

The cost of disposing of a dead dog can vary. Cremation usually costs between $50 to $300, while burial services might range from $100 to $500, including expenses like caskets and plots. Prices can vary, so it’s best to check with local pet services for accurate pricing.

My dog Died, but I Want him Back. What Can I do?

While we can’t bring your dog back, you can cherish memories and honor him by creating a memorial or volunteering at an animal shelter in his memory. Take care during this difficult time.

My Cat Died What do I do With the Body?

When your cat dies, consider contacting a veterinarian for advice on burial or cremation. Vet clinics offer cremation services, and you can also contact a pet crematorium. Create a memorial to remember your cat. Take your time to grieve and decide what’s best for you.

What to do When your Dog Dies in the House?

When your dog dies at home, contact a veterinarian for guidance, respectfully handle their body, decide on disposal options like burial or cremation, honor their life with a memorial, and seek support from loved ones.

What to do When your Dog Dies and you Have Another Dog?

When one dog dies and you have another, comfort each other, maintain routine, watch for distress, consider closure, and when ready, think about a new companion.

What to do When your Dog Dies at Night?

If your dog dies at night, stay calm, wrap their body, consider options for burial or cremation, seek emotional support, and create a temporary resting place.

Where Can I Take My Dead Dog for Free?

Contact local animal control or animal shelters for free disposal services for your deceased dog. Some veterinary clinics or universities may also accept deceased animals for research or educational purposes at no cost.


Coping with the Death of your Pet

Aftab Tariq

I am a dedicated content writer with more than five years of experience, particularly skilled in the art of storytelling. My writing journey commenced during my college years, where I pursued journalism and unearthed my talent for creating captivating narratives.

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