3 Important Steps to Follow When Your Pet Passes Away
Photo: One of my client's dogs, named Sasha, who crossed the rainbow bridge at 13 years young.
Trying to cope with the death of any pet is extremely difficult and emotionally takes a toll on the whole family. It is equivalent to losing a family member for most pet owners. This will take quite some time to adjust to the loss of your pet. Knowing the necessary steps to take in this unfortunate, but inevitable situation, will greatly help!
Step #1 If your pet passes away at home, make sure to call someone immediately to be there with you that can handle your pet's body and possibly move it if necessary. This could be a family member or a friend, as long as you can count on them! You probably will not be in the right mind frame to be handling your pet at this time so its necessary to have someone to help you during this difficult time.
Step #2 Call your normal veterinarian if it is during regular business hours and you trust that your vet has your best interest. If it is after normal business hours or you prefer not calling your vet, you can contact a local pet cremation place that will also set up a pick up of your pet's body and let you know what you need to do.
If you are located in the San Gabriel Valley area there is a reputable pet cremation place that is open evenings, weekends and holidays, called:
At Garden's Edge Pet Cremation
511 S Palm Ave Suite #8 Alhambra, Los Angeles, CA 91803
Step #3 VERY IMPORTANT If you have to wait for your pet to be picked up or you decide that you want to bury your pet yourself please follow these steps and do not wait long!:
Wear latex gloves while handling the body. Upon death, bodily fluids are often released. You may wish to clean the areas around your dog's mouth, genitals and anus if fluid and/or waste has been released. Note that additional bodily fluids and/or waste might be released when the body is moved.
Obtain a blanket, towel or bed sheet that is large enough to wrap around the body. Also obtain a heavy duty plastic trash bag (double them up if the body is very large or if the bags are thin).
Arrange the body on the blanket, towel or sheet. Place the body on its side in a curled-up position, as if sleeping. This will not only offer a sense of peace; it will also make it easier to handle the body.
Tightly wrap the body in the blanket, towel or sheet. Then, slide the body into the plastic bag(s). In the case of a larger dog, this will be a two-person job.
Tie the bag into a secure knot. You may wish to double up on bags. If the remains will be going elsewhere, be sure to attach a label or tag with your name and your dog's name.
Remains should be kept in a freezer or refrigerator until burial, cremation or other arrangement takes place. If you are unable to store the remains in this manner and cannot get the body to your vet or a local pet aftercare company, a garage or basement may need to suffice. This should be for no longer than 4-6 hours, as the odor will become severe and permeate your home. Use of additional plastic bags is recommended if freezer or refrigerator storage is not possible.