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What to do when a pet dies unexpectedly

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Many of my customers encounter the situation that their pet has suddenly passed away and they were not able to make prior arrangements for a burial. They often have the pets at their home and need to secure them immediately so they can hold the funeral. Based on many of these discussions with our customers, here are a few suggestions.

The easiest option is to choose cremation for your pet. The crematories can usually pick up a pet quickly and hold the pet until they are able to perform the cremation. The pet is than returned in a container about 5-7 working days later. If you prefer not to cremate, there are other options when holding a pet for a burial. You should easily find a local crematory in your local yellow pages, internet search or a call to your Vet.

The best option, if you have a Veterinarian, is to ask them to hold the pet in their cold storage until final arrangements can be made. Nearly every Vet will have such facilities and are typically more than happy to help, especially if they have been caring for the pet already. This will give you time to purchase a casket or make arrangements at a pet cemetery.

If your pet is small, like a cat or small dog, keeping them in a home freezer would provide a few days to obtain a casket or make arrangements. The pet should be wrapped well in plastic and all other food should be removed. This really should only be done if you have a spare freezer. I’m not sure I would do this myself but I have had customers successfully use this method.

A few customers that have lost pets in the dead of winter, when the ground is frozen solid, have wrapped their pets and sealed them in either a non-biodegradable Pet Casket or a store bought plastic storage container. They would then be kept in an unheated shed or garage until the spring. Pet owners that were not comfortable keeping them in the house freezer used this method for their larger animals. An actual Pet Casket is the preferred method as they provide an air and watertight seal that will preserve the pet better than a store bought container. No matter how cold the winter is, it would not be advisable to remove the pet in the spring and to just bury the sealed pet casket or container.

And by no means should a pet be kept in a home, sealed in casket or not, it could be a significant health hazard to you and your family. Please do not take that risk.

Well, I hope we could provide some options when faced with this type of situation. If you have another option, please let us know and we’ll pass it along.