What Do Vets Do With Dead Dogs?

This will depend on the wishes of the pet owner. Usually, the vet can place the body of the pet in a container. Then, he or she may take it to the owner’s car. If they don’t have a car, the vet will just hand the container to the pet parent. The other alternative offered by the vet to the pet owner is cremation. If the pet parent wishes so, the vet will make the arrangements or connect the deceased pet owner to a cremation service provider. The dog’s owner may or may not be called for the cremation service. If they feel unsettled, the vet will organize the ashes and hand them over.

If the pet is to be laid to rest, the vet will wash and sterilize the dog’s body. Then they will close the dog’s eyes with glue. The body will then be boxed and given to the family. The family of the concerned persons will take care of the burial, and out of respect, they may hold a ceremony to offer their goodbyes. A funeral can only be held if the house is a standalone building with a yard and if the regulations allow it. Cremation is the option given for big animals and families who live in apartments. If there won’t be a burial or a cremation, a vet will strongly advise against disposing of the body improperly because of sanitation issues.

This article will focus on the treatment of dead dogs. Since dogs are dear to us and mean a lot, it is best to know how to act, react, and cope with their loss when it comes. If you are a dog owner, this read will help you set your mind ready for the eventuality. Keep reading.

Losing Your Dog At Home: What You Should Do

What if your furry canine friend collapses and dies in your house? How are you supposed to work your way around that kind of situation? The loss of your dog is something difficult to wrap your head around. If the dog is put to sleep or leaves to the next world at the vet’s, they will help handle the body. However, the body of a dead dog needs you to make a few decisions and steps immediately. I recognized that trying to make those steps will be difficult because of heightened emotions.

Situational Assessment

It will help if you are sure that the dog has lost its life. At that moment, you may be experiencing a feeling of denial. If that is your story case, take your pet to the nearest vet soonest possible.

Before you proceed, check if the dog for a pulse. If you find that it absent, it could be that a cardiac arrest has occurred. If you think your dog still has some life in itself, you can try CPR or some first aid. If you are certain that the dog has left, you should head to the vet.

Reaching Out To A Vet

If the dog died during regular business hours, the person on the other end of the call will help you to know the steps you should take. They could give you an option of bringing someone to pick up your pet’s body, such as a mobile vet service or a pet crematory. In some situations, the vet’s office will keep the body for a few days as you talk to your family about the aftercare arrangement. Depending on the send-off style you choose, the vet’s office may connect you with a company in the area that handles burials or cremations. The good thing is that these experts have a connection with these businesses that offer send-off services.

Get Someone To Come To Your Aid

Since this time is a difficult one, you should get someone to be with you and comfort you. Get someone close to you – a family member or a friend. They should be a person that understands the depth of pet-human relationship. I say so because some people are disconnected from pets, and they might make condescending or tactless statements.

The person you choose should be ready to help you handle the dog’s remains practically and compassionately. Also, they should be prepared to make you feel better.

Taking Care Of The Body

This may be the most challenging step in this entire period. As the primary pet owner, you will have to handle the body. Do not spend a lot of time thinking about what to do. Choose between burial and cremation and do what the vet guides you to do.

You shouldn’t delay because a dog’s body starts decomposing as soon as death happens. As you may already know, a decomposed body will give off a foul smell and attract flies. If you live in a location with high temperatures, the body will deteriorate faster than in a cold place.

A phenomenon called rigor mortis, or the stiffening of the dog’s joints, will start happening within 10 to 360 minutes after its death. It lasts for as long as three days. Like decomposition, this phenomenon is affected by temperature. The remains need to be handled before rigor mortis kicks in.

The Practical Bit Of Handling And Preparation Of The Remains

Here are the tips and info you should follow and have when handling the remains of your beloved pet:

1. Don some gloves before you even touch the body. When the dog dies, its body starts secreting some fluid. All the openings on the dog’s body will have some fluid leaking. So, have some shampoo and a cleaning brush to clean the anus, genitals, and mouth. If you move the body, be aware that some waste or fluid may be released.

2. Get an extensive piece of clothing, like a bedsheet, blanket, or towel. Ensure that it is large enough to cover the entire dog. On top of the clothing piece, get a plastic trash bag – the heavy-duty kind.

3. Carefully pick the body and place it at the center. The dog should be lying on its side and placed in a fetal position for a sense of peace.

4. Then wrap the clothing all around the dog. Then, slide the body peacefully into the trash bag. If the dog is huge (like the Great Dane), two people need to do the job.

5. Then, get some tape and tie the opening of the bag. Alternatively, you can tie a secure knot. You can slide the bag with the body into another more oversized bag for extra security. If the dog’s remains are headed to a particular destination, you can label the bag or add a name tag to it.

6. Now, the remains should go inside a refrigerator or a freezer until the time of cremation or burial comes. If you don’t have space or the facilities to store the remains, you can see a local company’s service that deals with the pet aftercare business. The last option would be to place the dog in your basement or garage. Do not put the body for more than 6 hours there. If you do, prepare to deal with an odor that will be so severe and permeate all the corners of your home.

Going The Way Of A Burial

Before you mark out and dig a grave in your property, you need to check if the local authorities allow it. If you live in a city, it is likely that there are laws prohibiting pet burials.

If you are cleared, you need to remove the body from the plastic bag (it is non-biodegradable). You can place the body in a cardboard or wooden casket. As you dig, the grave’s depth can be anything between 5 and 3 feet, and its location should be somewhere remote and not in an erosion-prone area. You can use a marker on the grave, such as a headstone, to give the pet memorialization.

In And Around Pet Dog Euthanasia

Our pets bear a lot of significance and meaning to us, and we wouldn’t want them to leave. Nonetheless, death is inevitable, and when it comes, we should be prepared emotionally and practically.

For most of this article, we assumed that the dog died a natural death and looked at the post-death care. This section focuses on an equally sensitive subject – pet euthanasia. Also, it addresses the grief that comes after a pet dies. Read on to get emotionally beneficial information.

Setting Up And Organizing The Euthanasia Procedure Appointment

If you feel like your pet has had its best days and is living a painful life, you can go for euthanasia or mercy killing. You can organize for the procedure to be done at the vet’s or in your home.

The traditional route (or at the vet) requires you to inform the vet’s receptionist to schedule an appointment for you. It would help if you got a time where the vet is not in a hurry with other duties, surgeries, or meetings. While booking the appointment, you can consider placing it as the first thing the vet does in the morning or the last he or she does at the end of the day.

It won’t be easy to get a time of your liking because the vet and their staff know how difficult the decision can be. Remember, these are the people who treat animals in the same way doctors treat humans. Trust that they understand your emotional situation.

If you are going for euthanasia for the first time, mention that to the vet. Tell them that you would like to know how everything goes on during the procedure and what to expect. Like a surgeon to a patient, the standard procedure for the vet is to give you the details of the procedure in simple and clear words. If you find that unsettling and can’t discuss it in person, get the vet on the phone and let them talk to you. Actually, you should get all the information you need before you even book the appointment. That will tell you if you are ready and willing to be there and witness as life is seeping out of the dog’s body or not.

Your Presence Or Absence During The Day Of The Procedure

Since the vet has informed you of the shape and form of the procedure, you need to know if you will be there to witness it or not. Many vets recommend that the dog’s owner be there as the euthanasia solution is being administered.  Some clients who have missed their pet’s euthanization have said that they regret it. This is because the pet was going through a crucial time in its life, and they weren’t there for their furry canine friend. For them, missing the procedure created a sense of guilt that is difficult to deal with. As much as the procedure may be unsettling for you, you need to think about yourself as a friend in need, and the spirit of the dog will say that, at that time, you were a friend indeed.

It may be unbearable to witness a dog that you had shared so many memories with pass on. While death may not be a comfortable thing, you need to take courage. The animal hospital staff and the vet who conduct the procedure don’t find it very easy themselves. The point here is that you shouldn’t rely on your discomfort to make the presence-absence decision.

As the solution is administered and you see the dog settling down forever, you may be inclined to cry. That is a perfectly normal thing to happen, and you shouldn’t hold yourself back. You may find the animal staff and the vet crying because they have not normalized the procedure. For them, every day is a different day.

If you feel terrible and want to break down in private, you may ask for some alone time. Take the chance to cuddle with the pet one last time as you grieve. This should relax most of the tension that may have formed inside of you.

When The Appointment Day Comes

Before the appointment comes, ensure that you call ahead. This will ensure that you know about any delays. When you get to the clinic, ask the receptionist to notify the doctor that you are ready. You will then be directed to let the pet into the exam room. They should not make you wait for too long in the exam room.

For the vet to make the euthanasia solution administration, they need to get a vein. The solution to be used acts painlessly and quickly, but it has to go into a vein. In such a case, the pet needs to be confidently calm. If the pup is jumpy and cannot settle down, your vet may ask for your permission for sedation. If they make the request, have it in mind that the mission must be accomplished peacefully and humanely. The euthanasia procedure cannot be carried out if the pet is fractious, defensive, or uncooperative.

The Part Where The Solution Is Administered

Most solutions used for mercy killing are combinations of chemicals that trigger painless and quick nerve transmission termination and complete muscle relaxation. If the nerve impulses are numbed, they will not be conducted. This implies that there will be no movement, sensation, or thought. The solution used is not available to all vets but to the licensed ones only. Any vet administering it should have a special certificate before purchasing it.

When the vet is ready to administer the solution, they may put an IV catheter to ensure that there is an open port leading to the vein. This means that both injections – the sedative and the solution – can go into one port, and the vet won’t have to poke the pet many times. You don’t have to worry about how the dog will feel – the solution is designed to be stress-free and painless.

Many times when pets are being euthanized, their parents usually hug them or hold their paws. This will help the pet to feel supported as they will be confused about the entire procedure.

When the solution is injected and 12 seconds elapse, the pet will slightly take a deep breath, grow weak, and fall into a deep sleep. It will become completely unconscious and take some breaths and movements. Then, everything ceases. If the pet is sicker and older, it will stay up for long before the state of unconscious breathing lapses.

When The Procedure Is Done

If you were not part of the procedure and want to see the ‘sleeping pet,’ you should ask the vet to close its eyelids. Seeing the eyes of the deceased pet may trigger an emotional breakdown. So, it is better that you don’t look into them.

Since the next thing is either burial or cremation, you need to know how the pet will get to its final destination. The staff at the vet’s office will give you a container. As you move away from the clinic, I suggest that you get a close friend or family member to get you home. It may be a little challenging to concentrate, especially if you’re in the driver’s seat.

Post-Euthanasia Situation

As explained before, you will need to have a plan after the passing on of the pet. If you go for cremation, do not be surprised at the quantity of ash you will be given – they may be too small. This should remind you that many living creatures are, for the most part, made of water. 

When the vet connects you with the cremation service providers, ask them all the questions you can. Excellent and warmhearted service providers will give you respectful and courteous answers. The advice is that you need to make plans with the cremation service providers before you even get the pet through the procedure.

You may want to save a puff of hair from your pet to remember it. This is neither unreasonable and unusual, and whoever is dealing with the body will ensure you have it. If you are going to get the pet buried, you may want the casket to have a rose, a few photos, or a letter to the pet. All these expressions are emotionally unhealthy and are okay.

As you are wrapped up in the burial or cremation processes, remember that your friend and companion passed away. If you can, do anything and everything to make the transition and separation as easy as it can.

Post-Euthanasia Emotionality – The Feeling Of Grief

Like many other pet owners, you will likely experience a strong and never-ending sense of painful grief after the pet passes. There is nothing more personal than the feeling of grief. It may be challenging to find support from family and friends who do not comprehend how bad a feeling it is to lose a pet.

Some close friends may tactlessly ask you to get another pet. This implies that you shouldn’t listen to everyone. Not every person has a connection with pets, let alone grieving parents. Other people may see your mourning as an overreaction, tending to criticize your grief. This should tell you that you need to be prepared. You loved your pet, and it was important to you. So, you don’t have to be sorry about feeling the way you think.

Pet Loss Support Groups

As you grieve, you may be inclined to get someone to talk to – someone who comprehends or attempts to understand your feeling. The pet’s loss can even trigger the memories of other loved ones who left the world. This may lead to a cycle of helplessness, sadness, and depression.

It would help if you contacted some counseling and grief support groups who work on pet loss counseling. Also, you can get groups of the same kind online. You can choose a caregiver to take you through the grieving process and listen to your feeling regarding the passing of your dog.

The one thing a bereaved pet owner must never do is feel ashamed. You are overreacting for feeling sadness and loss over a resting pet, and more, you are not alone. When you share your story, you will meet other people who will accept and relate to your story.

Ensure that you get all the information you need to ensure that the road ahead will be okay. The idea is to work towards a place of acceptance. As you head there, know that it may take longer than you expect.

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