What to do with a dead dog

The death of a beloved dog is a very difficult and painful time for any pet lover, but when it happens suddenly, away from the help of a veterinary professional it can be even harder to figure out the right steps to follow in order to correctly dispose of your pet.

It may happen in an accident, over-night, from a sudden illness or poisoning, or simply from old age, but immediate action must be taken in order to properly dispose of the remains and prevent odor permeation.

Firstly, you must check and double check that it is truly dead. It may be having a seizure or be in cardiac arrest and urgent vet care can save its life.

If you are sure that your pet has indeed passed away, clean away any secretions and bodily fluids, and wrap the body tightly in a blanket, making sure that it is in a fetal position. This is important to do before it becomes stiff from rigor mortis. Once it’s wrapped in a blanket, put the body in a black bag and tie it tightly.

Immediately after you have done this it is a good idea to get in touch with your vet’s office. They can talk you through a more detailed process for handling the remains, send someone to help you or pick up the body and keep it in their “pet morgue” until you make a definite decision as to what to do.

Most vet clinics can connect you with local pet cremation services, who in most cities have 24/7 service. They will give you further instructions as to how to store your pets body until they can come and pick it up.

You can also choose to bury your dog. Make sure you do this on your own private property as burying dead animals on public property is forbidden in most places. A burial ceremony can help you with the grieving process and is a touching way of saying goodbye. Choose a place that is not likely to be disturbed and dig a hole at least 3 feet deep. If you don’t dig deep enough the smell of a decomposing body can escape from the earth and attract wild animals. Take your pet out of the plastic bag (do not bury it with non-biodegradable objects like plastic) and place it in a carboard or wooden box to buried in.

Saying good bye to your best friend will be a very emotional time for you, so make sure you have support. Don’t go through it alone, call a friend or family member that can accompany you and help you make rational decisions during the whole process.

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What to do with a dead dog

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