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What to Do When Your Dog Dies at Home

It is an unfortunate reality that as pet owners, there is a very real possibility our furry friends could die while at home.

Most of us don’t know what to do when your dog dies at home in Sydney, Australia.

We’ve compiled some important information to help you know what to do when your dog dies and how to handle the situation.

What should You Do When Your Dog Dies at Home

Consider Your Situation When Your Dog Dies at Home in Australia

The very first thing you need to do is take a breath and make absolutely certain your dog has passed. Feel for his heartbeat.

If you feel a slight heartbeat or pulse, you may want to try CPR (how to perform CPR on a  dog) or other first aid.

If you are unsure, take your dog to the nearest open vet. Even if you are certain, you can still take your dog to the vet for them to assist you with what to do when your dog dies at home.

Ask Someone for Help With Your Dogs Body

It is often best not to be alone during this time—unless that is your preference of course.

It is a good idea to call someone you trust to help you makes decisions about what to do when your dog dies and to support you, especially emotionally.

It may be difficult for you to be able to handle the body and you may need someone to help you with that in particular.

When Your Dog Dies at Home in Australia Contact Your Vet

You vet can likely assist you with what to do when your dog dies if your pet passes during office hours.

From assisting you with crematory services or a mobile vet service that can come to your home to pick up your pet’s body, or even for storage while you make decisions about aftercare services, your vet likely has good information for you about what to do when your dog dies.

What to Do When Your Pet Dies at Home, step by step guide

How to Properly Handle Your Dog’s Body After Death

This is a difficult thing think about, but if your dog dies at home, it is necessary. You have to handle and store your dog’s remains properly.

Because your dog’s body begins decomposition immediately upon death, it is vital you or your friend or relative that is helping you, understands how to handle the body.

It is important to note that the temperature affects the rate of decomposition—the hotter it is, the faster the body will begin to smell and attract insects.

You are probably familiar with the concept of rigor mortis after death, if not, it is when the body’s joints stiffen and become immovable. This can begin within 10 minutes of death and last up to 72 hours.

Steps for Preparing Your Dog’s Body for Cremation and Burial

First, put on gloves, disposable plastic gloves if you have them. Wear Leather or rubber boots, Wear them at all times while handling your dog’s body.

When your dog dies and all the muscles in his body relax, his bodily fluids may be released. This is normal. As you move him, they may also be released.

You will need a large blanket or towel—enough to wrap around dog’s body.

You will also need one or two plastic bags.

You will then pace his body on the towel or blanket and position him as if he is sleeping. This makes it easier to move the remains and may be more peaceful to see him in this position.

Wrap his body in the blanket or towel very tightly. Then place his remains in the plastic bag(s).

Secure the bag closed in some fashion—tied or taped.

Label the bag with both yours and your dog’s names.

You will need to be able to store his remains in a few

Contact Your Local Australian Council

Sydney NSW requires pet owners to notify you local council of your dog’s death within 28 days.

However, if your dog is considered “restricted, dangerous, or menacing” then you must contact your local counsel within 24 hours.

You may notify your local council by telephone, email or letter. You may be required to provide documentation from a vet if your dog is restricted or declared dangerous.

What to Do When Your Dog Dies Home

Grieving the Loss of a Pet

Grief over the loss of a pet is a normal human reaction. Often it can be more difficult to cope with than losing a human loved one.

Grief over a pet can be difficult for other people to understand as others have a tendency to feel you should be able to just “move on.”

Children can have an especially difficult time understanding the death of a pet. It is very important to be open and honest with them.

Talk to friends or family. If you still need help, please contact the following places:

Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement – 1800 642 066

Lifeline – 13 11 14

Griefline –  1300 845 745 (12 PM to 3 AM)

Kids Helpline – 1800 55 1800

Burial of Your Dog in Australia

You need to check with your local government before your bury your dog on your property as some areas may not allow it. You may need to bury your dog at a local pet cemetery.

If it is allowed, you will need to remove your dog from the plastic bag and any other materials that are non-biodegradable. If you would like, you can bury your dog in a casket so long as it is wooden or cardboard.

You need to bury your dog’s remains at least 3 feet deep.

You can memorialise your dog with a headstone, rock or a plant.

What to Do When Your Dog Dies at Home

There are many things to consider when your dog dies at home. Many decisions have to be made and your dog’s body has to be stored quickly and properly.

It can be emotionally distressing and calling a friend or relative to help you is often a good idea. They can help you make decisions about what to do when your dog dies at home.

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