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What to Do If Your Dog Dies at Home?

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

Dog Died at Home

The last thing you want to think about is what you will do if your dog dies at home. However, if you have an aging or sick dog, you may need to prepare yourself for the possibility. Even if your dog is not sick or aging, something could happen where you would need to be prepared to handle this situation. So, what are you supposed to do? What are the next steps?

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What to Do If Your Dog Dies at Home

1. Assess the situation

owner holding dogs paw
Image By: fongbeerredhot, Shutterstock

The first step is to ensure that your dog has truly passed away. You can do this by feeling their pulse and listening for breathing sounds. If there are none, you can rest assured that your dog has passed. If you feel like you need to try CPR, you may do so, but you should look up how to perform pet CPR beforehand, as it is slightly different in animals than in humans.

Once you have assessed and determined that your pet has died, you can call your veterinarian to assist you in taking the next steps.

2. Handling Pet Remains

There are several options for how to handle your pet’s remains. You can choose to cremate them or bury them either yourself or through a service. Regardless of which option you choose, if you do not plan to or cannot do anything immediately, it’s important to store your pet’s remains because decomposition will begin shortly after your pet’s death.

In order to properly store your pet’s remains, you will need to use gloves, a towel, a blanket or sheet, and a large plastic bag. You can follow the steps to store your pet as follows:

  1. Put on gloves before preparing the body.
  2. Place your pet on their side on the towel, blanket, or sheet.
  3. Wrap your pet in the fabric tightly .
  4. Place the large plastic bag in the fabric and tie off securely.
  5. Store the bag in a freezer or refrigerator until it’s time for the burial or cremation.

You will need to make arrangements fairly soon after your pet’s death, as the odor can permeate your home.

3. Burying Your Pet at Home

pet gravestone
Image Credit: Daria Marukova, Shutterstock

If you opt to bury your pet at your own home, there are certain considerations to make. First, ensure that local laws allow you to bury your pet because some do not. Second, remove any non-biodegradable materials like plastic before burying. Third, bury them at least 3 feet below the surface in an area unlikely to erode.

You can choose to bury your pet in a casket, but make sure that the casket is made from biodegradable materials, like wood.

Although this process may seem difficult to even think about, it is important to prepare yourself for the possibility of needing to know this information. If you need more advice, contact your veterinarian or a local service. If faced with this situation, make sure you have a friend or family member who can help you carry out your plans if you feel too emotional to handle them yourself. Even as you are preparing yourself for this possibility, take the time to enjoy your pet while you still have them, and do not let the fear of death keep you from savoring their present moments of life.

Featured Image Credit: ThePixelman, Pixabay

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