When most people decide to get a pet at home, they factor in many things like cage training, housebreaking, and overall behavior, but not what to do in the event of death.
Losing a pet is very difficult, no matter the situation and circumstances surrounding the death.
Ideally, most pet owners want a chance to bid their dogs goodbye and have one last memory before it’s time to let go.
If your pet dies in the presence of a veterinarian, he can help you with the after plans and care of the pet’s body, but what should you do when it happens at home?
Losing a dog can be extremely sad, and it is a very upsetting and stressful time.
If your pet is old or has been ill for a while, it could be approaching the end of its life.
As such, it is advisable to start making plans to prepare for the eventual demise.
This, however, doesn’t mean that it’s possible to prepare for the death of a loved member of the family.
There are some external factors and grief which make this a very challenging time.
If you are struggling with losing your pet in the immediate aftermath, ask for help from a family member, a veterinarian, or a friend.
What You Do When Your Dog Dies At Home
The first and most natural thing to do would be to cry, so go ahead let the pain out because your heart will break whether the death was expected or not.
If you have other pets in the house, allow them to smell their friend, this way, they’ll understand what happens when they don’t see the dog around anymore.
It can be hard to deal with the loss of a pet when emotions are high and when you are overwhelmed with sorrow and grief.
It is essential to ascertain that the pet is dead, as strange as this sounds.
A dog owner can think the dog is dead when the dog is breathing shallowly or transitioning to death.
If at all you feel your dog is distressed, consider euthanizing after consulting your veterinarian.
You may opt to call for veterinarian or professional services to help dispose of the dog’s remains, but what if these services aren’t available?
When a dog dies, its bowls release, even if not immediately, and the body is usually very upsetting to witness, especially for its owners.
There is twitching caused by death’s natural spasms and the release of bodily fluids and gas.
These are, sadly, not signs of your dog getting its health back, so it’s advisable to let your dog go naturally.
If you start feeling overwhelmed, it’s better to let someone else handle the remains, as it helps even mentally.
Depending on what time and season it is, it might not be possible to dispose of the remains of your dog immediately.
The cremation centers and veterinarians might be closed for business, or it may be in the middle of the night or the warmer seasons when decomposition is rapid.
When handling the body, wear gloves to keep off the spreading of germs and bacteria while being aware of stiff joints, making it hard to move the body.
No matter what you decide to do with the body, as soon as you get the necessary help, wrap the body in a sheet or a blanket.
Death is not a very pretty sight, and body decomposition begins almost immediately.
Bodily fluids start to leak from the carcass, so wipe off any fluids surrounding the area to avoid contamination.
You might want to save the dog’s collar before gently putting the dog on his side and in a natural position.
Don’t leave your dog outstretched; positioning helps during transportation and also for burial purposes.
If it isn’t possible to dispose of the remains immediately, store them in a cool place till an arrangement is made for disposal.
Call The Veterinarian
Veterinarians usually have a long-standing relationship with pet cremation centers.
If you lose your dog at home, call your veterinarian for pick-up service or drive your dog to the vet office.
There are two options after this, have the body cremated and let the vet dispose of the ashes, or have the ashes returned to you for a proper farewell.
Depending on your financial situation, you can choose the former, which is less expensive, or the latter, which is a better way to commemorate your dog.
If you are too emotional to handle the loss, going to the vet might not be the best decision.
It would be more logical to say your farewell at home and have someone else handle the disposal if you are too emotionally flustered.
Visit Your Local Cremation Center
If you don’t want to deal with a trip to the vet, go directly to the cremation center to help make your dog’s ashes memorial.
Cremation centers are quick for pick-up of deceased pets, and there are locally available, so no much stress.
Cremating dogs is very popular these days, and even though an expensive option, it is a very sentimental and memorable way to say goodbye.
In the event of cremation, you get to choose how to handle the ashes.
Some store the ashes in traditional urns, others spread the ashes in some particular place, and others wear the ashes in beautiful cremation bracelets or necklaces.
You can have your pet buried in a pet cemetery after the cremation, and your veterinarian can help with pet burial and cremation centers.
Bury The Body
Among the three options, burying your dog’s body is the least costly, but it is very time-consuming.
Besides, burying your dog means that you have to personally handle the remains, which can take an emotional toll on you.
The body remains should be preserved in a freezer till burial day, and if this isn’t an available option, the use of plastic bags is also okay.
Sentimental dog owners and families will prefer this option to have a proper sendoff for a special friend.
It’s vital to ensure that local laws in your residency allow you to bury your pet on your property and follow the township or city ordinances.
The body should be removed from any plastic or non-biodegradable material before burial and placed in a cardboard or wooded casket if you choose to.
The body should be buried, 3 feet deep, at a location that isn’t likely to erode or get dug up accidentally.
If you want, you may place a headstone at the dog’s grave for commemoration.
Give Yourself Time To Grieve
Whether the death was anticipated or unexpected, losing your dog can be traumatizing and a very unsettling time for their owners.
Their absence will be undeniable, so allow yourself some time to grief and keep away from people who demean your grief.
If you have anyone who understands your loss and feelings, allow them in for solace and sympathy.
There are pet loss support groups you can join too, both local and online, if you feel too overwhelmed by the situation.
Most people don’t know how to handle what’s left of their dog, which is what frequently adds to the trauma and grief.
It’s critical to decide whether to cremate or bury the dog to decide what next.