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What to do when a pet dies

Do not panic. Following a death, small changes may occur with your pet’s body. Big changes do not happen immediately, so you do have time to gather your thoughts and options.

  • Place a towel or blanket under their body so that your flooring is protected. Pets will normally void their bladders (and sometimes bowels) upon their death.
  • Elevate your pet’s head with a towel or pillow. There may be fluids in their throat and/or stomach and keeping the head elevated will keep these fluids from exiting their mouth or nose. Be careful when moving your pet to keep their head elevated.
  • Keep your pet uncovered if you can. Your pet will start to cool to the room temperature around it. The warmer it remains, the faster the deterioration of the body. Smaller animals cool quicker than larger animals. Covering the pet should be used with caution, as blankets/towels can retain heat. If your pet is outside, where living insects are apparent, please cover the head to protect the eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Involve children. We often want to shield children of this experience, but when we grieve together openly and honestly as a family, it is often healthier for all involved. We will be happy to give you information that will assist you with this option.
  • Involve other pets in the home. This is an emotional time where all are involved. They will smell the pheromones that are released following death. Pheromones are chemicals that they can detect but we cannot and they will trigger the other pets’ understanding of the death.
  • Determine next steps. 
    • Are you going to bury or cremate your pet? 
    • Do you want a private cremation (cremated alone in the chamber), an individual cremation (most often through the veterinary clinic—you receive the cremated remains, but pet is in a segregated area of the chamber with other pets)  
    • communal cremation (cremated with other pets)?

Call Loyal Companion Pet Cremation, Inc. (717) 698-1970 to schedule a time to

  1. bring your pet to us or
  2. have us come to get your pet (within normal working hours).

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