Your pet is your constant companion. Our pets occupy a huge part of our lives, they are interwoven into every daily routine and into the very fabric of our family and home.
Sometimes, we are able to plan for our pet’s passing with a solemn goodbye at our vet’s office and other times a sudden illness or accident takes them from us.
No matter how they leave us, losing your best friend is devastating. But when a pet dies in the care of their vet, we can usually rely on our vet to help us manage the difficult realities of what comes next.
But when your pet dies at home, it may be something you were not prepared for. If it happens at night or on a holiday or weekend, not only are you dealing with the sudden shock, disbelief and grief of their loss but you are also confronted with feelings of anxiety and panic because many of us aren’t taught about how to manage the process of taking care of our pet’s physical body when they die.
First of all, it’s OK to be confused as well as sad and scared. They are still your pet and nothing is going to change immediately. You do not have to panic. When your pet dies at home it is not an emergency. This is a good time for you to collect your thoughts, feelings, reach out to friends or family and make an aftercare plan.
It’s OK to take some time to say Goodbye
When your pet dies at home, you can use this time to memorialize your pet. You can take an hour or the rest of the day. Wrap them in a blanket. Write them a letter. Light some candles, take photos. This is your time with your pet and it’s perfectly normal to want a few extra hours.
Absolutely use this time to reach out to a pet cemetery, a friend to help you for a home burial, or to one or two local pet crematories to ask questions and make plans.
If you want a day, take a day. Research ways to keep your pet safe and cool at home during this time.
Take an ink or clay pawprint. Clip a small piece of fur or a whisker as a keepsake. Be sure you are ready for your next step.
Make a list of questions you might want to ask your aftercare provider.
Research your transportation options
Once you have decided where you would like to bring your pet, if you are not doing a home burial, you will usually have two options:
- You can bundle your pet up in a blanket or in a box and transport them to their final resting place or crematory.
- You can usually pay the cemetery or crematory to transport your pet from your home to their facility.
- Do not allow someone to talk you into a decision you are not comfortable with. You always have a choice.
- Ask questions. When you call your local pet cemetery or pet crematory, ask as many questions as you need to until you are comfortable. Be sure to ask if your pet can be accompanied by a favorite toy or blanket. Ask if they are a local facility. Ask about memorial products such as paw prints, fur keepsakes and more.
- Some crematories allow the family to witness and participate in the cremation process. This is usually an additional fee and done by appointment only.
When your pet dies at home, you have options for their care. At Baltimore Humane Society, your pet will be treated like family and you will be supporting our nearly 100 year old life-saving mission.
Choosing Baltimore Humane Society makes your pet’s final goodbye a lasting, real tribute because it will help us save the lives of the thousands of pets who pass through our doors each year.