Dealing with a cat or dog death: the options
Your local vet will be well placed to deal with cat and dog death and handling their remains, and if you wish for it to be handled by them simply place a call as soon as possible. Your vet should then be able to organise the collection and subsequent burial or cremation, according to your preference.
If you wish for your pet to be cremated, it is possible to organise this yourself rather than going through a vet. Cat or dog cremation is more costly than home burial, but gives owners a variety of options when it comes to memorialising their pet’s remains.
Crematoriums will return a pet’s ashes to their owner and these can be stored or scattered according to personal preference. Many owners choose to keep pet’s ashes in an urn or even store them in keepsake items, such as a piece of jewellery. Owners also often scatter their pet’s ashes in some of their favourite places or walks.
Remember that there are various options when it comes to cremation, including communal or private cremation. If you’re planning to use your pet’s ashes for a specific memorial, do bear in mind that although crematoriums do make an effort to keep ashes separate during communal cremations, this cannot be guaranteed.
The cost of cat or dog cremation varies between different crematoriums and the options that they offer. These options depend on a variety of factors, such as the size of the pet and whether a communal or private cremation is preferred. So, how much does it cost to cremate a dog or cat? Overall costs will generally run to over £100.
Some owners choose to bury their pet at home. This option reduces the cost of dead dog or cat disposal by avoiding expensive cremation costs and gives a final resting place to beloved pets, at home. If you’re thinking about home burial, it’s important to consider local laws. In the UK, it is legal to bury pets in a garden that you own. It isn’t legal to bury animals in the gardens of rented accommodation, any property that you don’t own, or in public places. If you choose to bury your dog or cat, check with your vet that their remains are not hazardous to human health before proceeding and choose a place away from water sources.
When burying a dog or cat at home, ensure that their grave is no less than three feet deep, to ensure that their remains stay covered. You may also wish to mark the burial site with a covering of stone, or even a potted plant.
There are some pet cemeteries and crematoriums around the UK that will provide burial services for pets. This is generally a more expensive option than cat or dog cremation, the final price being dependent on weight. Cemeteries may also require that remains be buried in a coffin or other container, which further adds to the overall cost.
Pet cemeteries will offer individual plots for pet burial and you may also erect a headstone or other memorial marker over the gravesite.
What to do when your pet dies is just the beginning of a process that can be very difficult for pet owners. For many, the passing of a beloved pet is similar to the death of a friend or family member and you should always seek support if needed.
Grieving a pet is always difficult, but there are certain things you can do to help you and your family get through the loss of a cat or dog.
When our cherished pet is no longer in our lives it can be devastating, whether you are coping with the loss of a cat, the loss of a dog, or indeed any other pet. However, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone.
The loss of a pet is an incredibly sad time for owners. Whether they pass away naturally or are put to sleep at the vets, it’s always a stressful and upsetting time. If your pet has been unwell, or is very old and naturally approaching the end of their life, you may already have plans in place for their eventual passing. However, even the best-laid plans can be disrupted by external factors or by grief. If you’re struggling with the loss of a dog or cat in the immediate aftermath, always ask for help from a friend, family member or veterinary professional.
What often adds to the trauma of the death of a pet is the uncertainty of how to handle their remains. Take some of the stress out of this period with this comprehensive guide on what to do when your pet dies and how to cope with the loss of a pet.
What to do when your cat or dog dies
When handling remains, always wear gloves and thoroughly clean any area that has been touched by the animal, as well as thoroughly cleaning any fluids that may have been spilt. It’s important to limit the spread of germs in the immediate aftermath.
You may wish to leave your pet at home for a few hours before organising a dead dog or cat disposal; in which case, ensure that the body is left in a cool room, for no longer than 24 hours. Be aware that rigor mortis—the stiffening of joints after death—will begin to set in after around three to four hours.
What To Do When Your Pet Dies…
Losing a beloved pet is difficult no matter the circumstances. Ideally, I think most of us would want to hug our pet when the time comes, speak softly to him, and ask him to wait for us on the other side (depending on your beliefs) until itâs our time to join him.
If this occursÂ with a veterinarianâs assistance, the veterinarian can assist you with the after care of your petâs body. But what happens if your pet dies at home and you are alone? First of all, go ahead and cry. Your heart is going to break no matter whether the death was anticipated or unexpected.
Then call a family member or friend to come over right away to help you. There is no need for you to go through this by yourself. Choose wisely, though, and call someone who is strong (mentally and/or physically) but who will also not scoff at you because you are devastated. If your help can come over within the hour, go ahead and sit with your pet until your friend shows up.
No matter what you decide to do with your petâs body, and weâll discuss those options next, as soon as your help shows up you will need to wrap the body. Unfortunately, death isnât pretty and decomposition begins right away.
Bodily fluids may leak from the body so put several potty pads or a large trash bag under the body before you move it. Just slide it under. The sooner you do this the better.
I save my petsâ collars; if you wish to do this take off the collar now and set it aside. Then gently arrange your pet on his side, curled up in a natural position. This will look more natural to you and will provide a bit of comfort.
Choose a towel, blanket, or a piece of your clothing that you would like to go with your pet and wrap him (and the trash bag that is under him) in it. Then place the body inside a trash bag. Tightly seal the bag.
If your pet was small, if you can put his wrapped body in the refrigerator that is best. If heâs too large, put him in a cool place such as on the cool concrete in the garage. This will slightly slow decomposition until you can make arrangements. You cannot wait long though.
In years past, pet owners buried their pets on their property. My grandparents had an area behind my grandmotherâs garden where generations of well-loved pets were buried, each with their own marker, some of which had been created by the kids in the family. However, few pet owners can do this today due to space and local regulations. Thankfully, other options are available, includingÂ cremation and pet cemeteries.
If you believe that once a pet has passed away the body is just a shell, you can call your local animal control. They usually have low cost (or no cost) services to dispose of deceased pets. You can also call your veterinarian. You will need to bring your pet to the clinic but then they can arrange for disposal.
Many pet owners prefer to have their pet cremated and have the ashes returned to them. If you do this, you can then keep the ashes or, if you wish, scatter them in a place that is special to you both. I do a bit of both by keeping half of the ashes and burying half and planting a rose bush on top. Itâs comforting to see Rikerâs Peace rose and Bashirâs Coat of Many Colors bloom each spring.
Your veterinarian will know of local pet cremation companies, contact your vet clinic for that information. Most cremation companies will come pick up the body, especially if the pet is large. However, you may be able to drop the pet off. They will contact you in a week or so to come pick up the ashes, usually in a nice wooden box.
Another option is burial in a pet cemetery. These may accept your petâs body or the petâs ashes after cremation. Again, your veterinarianâs office will know if this is available in your area or you can do some online search.
No matter whether your petâs death was anticipated or unexpected, the loss is still going to hurt. Our pets are members of our family and their absence will be obvious. Allow yourself to grieve.
Avoid those people who will demean your grief and keep close those who understand your feelings. Allow them to provide some sympathy and solace.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, contact a pet loss support group. There are many of these; some of which meet in person in local areas and some that are online. For a local group, contact your local humane society or your veterinarian for information. Online, search for pet loss support group or pet bereavement. On Facebook, there are several pages for this, including Pet Loss & Bereavement. Grieving is normal and takes time. Be patient and be kind to yourself.