What happens when my pet dies?

when your pet dies


Losing a family pet is a very distressing experience, and it can be difficult to think through what might happen and what you need to consider. If you’ve taken your pet to a vet, they will be on hand to help you with the practicalities, but if your pet has died at home, you may need to think through some of the next steps.  

Sometimes, and particularly if your pet was old or unwell, their death may have been planned or expected and you might have had some time to think about what you’d like to happen after the end of their life. This can help make the practicalities a little easier to bear. But there are plenty of options, so don’t feel rushed – take the time you need to consider what works best for you and your family.  

What should I expect? 

When your pet dies you might find it difficult to see them or handle their remains. You can usually have them collected from your home straight away or you can choose to keep them with you for a short period of time. If this is the case, you will need to transfer them to a cool room and arrange for them to be collected from you within 24 hours. There will be lots of feelings at play and it’s important to understand that you will need to grieve and make the decisions which are right for you. 

Losing your pet at home usually means you’ll need to contact your local pet crematorium or cemetery – depending on your preference. Your vet may be able to offer some suggestions if you need a recommendation or you can search the directory on our website. Whatever you choose you will likely be able to have your pet collected or take them to wherever they need to go yourself. If you do decide to take your pet yourself, you’ll need to think practically about moving them – you may want to tuck your pet into their favourite bed or wrap them in their usual blanket, or you might prefer to wear gloves and use a protective sheet. Once they have been moved you may want to spend some time with them at the crematorium or cemetery, and this is certainly possible as long as you chat through your wishes with whoever you’ve entrusted to help you.  

Saying goodbye – what are the options?

The most important decision you’ll probably need to make is whether to have your pet cremated or buried. If you choose cremation, you have the option of an individual cremation or a communal one, where a small number of pets will be cremated together. If you opt for an individual cremation, you’ll then be able to choose whether you want to scatter your pet’s ashes in your garden, another special place, or keep them with you at home.  

Time to grieve

Grief is a natural feeling if you’ve lost a much-loved pet. Remember to take the time you need to remember your pet and reach out for help and support if you need to. When the time is right there are a number of ways in which you can memorialise your pet, including keepsake items and urns, all of which can be personalised to help celebrate the life of your cherished friend.

Suggested reading

Where can I scatter ashes?
Are pets cremated individually?

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