What Do I Do When My Dog Dies at Home?

29 Jan 2011 | by | Posted in: Wag Wiki



Question: What Do I Do When My Dog Dies at Home?

Answer:  A lot of owners, when waking to find their pet has passed, are flummoxed by grief, and within minutes, have to face the question of "what to do now". Obviously the body cannot remain in the home, and immediate burial in the backyard might not be a possible option for various reasons.

Who to Call

If you wish to retain control of your dog's remains (for later burial, or cremation), your first call should be to your veterinarian's office. It's possible they may be able to send somebody out to collect the remains if you, yourself, are not capable of transport. If the vet clinic is not available to pick up remains, call your local animal control. It's more than likely they will be capable of removing the body from your home, but be sure to find out if you will still be able to control the method of disposal. If you have a pet cemetery nearby, most offer pick-up services as well as traditional burial services. If not, call a mobile friend.

In extreme circumstances (you sat most of the night with your sick dog and he expired in the wee hours of the morning, or it's a holiday, etc.), you may be faced with handling the remains yourself.

What to Do With the Body

•Clean him up. Wash around his mouth, anal and genital areas. When a dog dies, all the muscles are relaxed, which may result in a leaking of body fluids. Wash any blood or excrement off before storing the body.
•Position him if possible. If rigor mortis (stiffening) has not yet set in, position his legs so they are tucked in, like he was curled up, to prevent breakage.
•Wrap him up, in a blanket you wish to have him buried in, or any blanket you are willing to sacrifice.
•Place the blanket-wrapped body in a large plastic garbage bag, tie it tightly, and place in the freezer, to prevent further decomposition and accompanying smells.

It takes approximately six hours in 15 degree Celsius weather for a body to start to smell. The smell can quickly permeate an entire house once it starts. Hotter weather/atmosphere will speed the decomposition. Remember, you may have to store the body for any number of days until you can have it properly taken care of.


I'm not sure if this article is applicable to the indian audience.

In the case of your pets demise within the premises of your residence, what you can do is identify a burrial place(cremation is most unlikely), I know people who've done it in their own lawns. Be sure the pit is 3-4 feet deep at the least. spread some salt on the dog before you begin filling the pitt back in. I'm not sure what the salt does but it manages to keep other animals from digging the spot up( perhaps it disguises the smells of decay).
In 2009 september I lost a dog, without losing any time I got the watchman to assist me in digging this pit (vets advice apparently abt the pit n salt etc), got it over with within the hour; sad business.

By: Ravinder | 29 Jan 2011

Mr. Ravinder,

Gave a gr8 honour to you pet, hats off buddy only few of them do that.

By: vijith | 29 Jan 2011

Sorry for you loss Ravinder...and i think you did the best final rites for your dog uncle lost his GSD few months ago and he took his dog to the hospital where the actual cremetion was done..

By: Vivek | 29 Jan 2011

ah so cremations do happen! never knew that

By: Ravinder | 30 Jan 2011

Krishna Subramaniam
Hi All,

My suggestion is to treat your pet like you would treat others in your family when they die.You just cannot dig a grave in your backyard or call someone and have them go ahead with burial. You have spent these many years with your pet..It have always guarded you and have always given you that unconditional love which on one else can give. It has always ensured no harm befalls you. My friend's dog died and the first thing we did was to look out for Dog Cemetry. PFA has come up with great initiative and they have dog cemetry. You can reach out to them. They would help you get transport OR you can take your own transport. They would have readied everything for you , they would cater to your needs such has cementing, Your dog picture engraved on the stone slab, the name and other details engraved. In the future , in remebrance of your dog you can go there and spend sometime and you can also go there anytime you feel like. I sincerely feel that's the right way to cater to your dog's burial if you have loved your dog, played with it, cried for it and longed for it. Yes, Money will cost and it will cost close to 10-12 K based on your requirement, but thats a lot less compared to what your dog has given you in his life time. So pls ensure you dont call the municipality or corporation or even dig up the grave in your backyard or else where, pls call the Dog Cemetry in your city and do the needful.


By: Krishna Subramaniam | 09 Feb 2011

Vibha R Shetty
The suggestion by Krishna is really informative. But my question is what do people from small towns do(for I too live in one), for there is no PFA or any other organisations to help during that vulnerable situation. I have lost 2 of my dogs in the years gone by and other than burying them in my back yard there were no other options, for i hate the idea of the muncipal corporation taking my dog away as though it were garbage. The idea of spreading salt over the body by Ravinder, will surely keep in mind. Yes it is sad, but over the years and so many dogs one has to do what has to be done.

By: Vibha R Shetty | 10 Feb 2011

Well to each his own... different strokes for different folks. I won't mind burying my pet within my backyard if I had one, it won't bother me I'd never give it another thought. I know as long as my pet is alive I mean to give it a fulfilling life which is more important.

By: Ravinder | 10 Feb 2011

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