Once your pet has passed away – whether at home or at the vet, on their own or through euthanasia – there’s the question of “What do I do now?” Planning for these decisions ahead of time will help ensure your pet is receiving the proper aftercare that you desire.
Spend as much time with your pet as you need.
You may wish to sit with your pet until you feel ready to let them go. If you’re at home and have other pets, allow them to come close and investigate what’s going on. When animals are aware that their friends have died, it often prevents future confusion; they won’t worry where they are or whether or not they’re coming back.
Storage and transportation
In practical terms, there’s the issue of what to do with the body. If you’ve chosen in-home euthanasia, or you’re at your vet’s office, they will most likely provide that transport service, or you can call a pet cremation facility that may provide a pickup service.
When a pet passes at home, you need to consider whether you want to – or are physically able to – transport them for cremation. Maybe you have a large breed dog that you can’t lift, or you would prefer not to participate in this part of the process. If it’s after hours or you’re unsure what to do, you can wrap your pet in a blanket and keep them in a cool area until next steps can be taken. If it’s too difficult for you to handle your pet (physically or emotionally) call a friend to help, or to do it for you.
If you’ve already made arrangements with a cremation service, now is the time to call them. Even if you have no plan in place yet, you can call your vet or a cremation service to see when you can arrange something.
Some people may wish to bury their pets rather than have them cremated. If you live within city limits, be sure to check with local regulations to see if it’s even a possibility, and contact the “call before you dig” service to mark gas, water and power lines. If you live in the country, you have more choices in where you can lay your friend to rest. Maybe there’s a favorite area of the garden, or under a special tree. Bury them at least 3 feet deep, and be sure to use materials that will break down over time, like natural cloths, cardboard, or wood; not plastic.
Some funeral homes and cities maintain pet cemeteries, where you could purchase a plot for your pet.