Losing a dog can be a traumatic experience, causing your emotions to take over and leave you confused about what to do next. We’re here to support you in any way, which is why we’re explaining what to do if your dog dies at home at night.
What to Do if Your Dog Dies at Home at Night
When your dog dies at home at night, make sure to check if your dog has indeed passed away, preserve your pet’s body and have a plan in place for the morning. It may also help to have someone close to you such as a spouse, friend, family member or neighbor, that can be with you as you make these difficult decisions.
It’s not easy losing a beloved pet, especially in the middle of the night when you’re least expecting it. While it can be overwhelming, there are things you can do when your dog passes away at home in the unexpected hours of the night.
Evaluate the Situation
The first thing you should do is ensure your dog has truly passed away. It may feel strange at first, yet it’s possible that your pet may only have shallow breathing or still be sleeping.
- Check if your dog’s chest is rising and falling. Even the slightest movement can mean your pet is still breathing.
- Check for a pulse or heartbeat under your dog’s chest near the armpit. Your fingertips should easily feel a heartbeat.
- Monitor corneal reflex. A deceased pet’s eyes should not respond when you touch the eyeball.
- Monitor if the body temperature is lower than normal.
- Observe for fluid, urine, or bowel release.
Contact Someone for Help and Support
At this hour, it helps to contact someone for emotional support if you’re home alone or inform another adult in the home. That person may also help you care for your dog’s body, especially when you’re sad and grieving. You may call on a friend or family member to help you get through the night and make calls and arrangements in the morning.
Preserve Your Dog’s Body
Your dog’s body will begin to decompose and emit an odor immediately after death. Warmer temperatures can speed up decomposition. If possible, store your pet’s body in a freezer, cooler with ice, or if outside if the temperature is cool.
Here are some tips of how you can safely and respectfully preserve your dog’s body for cremation.
- Clean the body: A deceased animal’s body may release fluids from the mouth and also waste. Wear gloves as you clean your pet’s body parts.
- Position your pet’s body: Your dog’s muscles will become rigid around three hours after death. When rigor mortis happens, the joints will stiffen, which may make it difficult to reposition your dog’s body. Make sure to put your dog’s body in a curled-up position right away before storing in a cool place.
- Wrap the body: Place a towel or potty pad under your pet’s tail and mouth. You should also use a blanket or bed sheet to wrap the body.
- Storage: If possible, store your pet’s body in a freezer, cooler with ice, or outside if the temperature is cool.
Explain the Situation to Your Family
The dreadful situation of your dog’s passing may happen when you’re alone at home or while other family members are sleeping. The first few hours will be significantly harder, filling you with anxiety and uncertainty. If you have children in the home, it’s best to wait until morning when your thoughts are collected and you can explain to the rest of your family what happened in a clear and concise way.
Decide on What to Do Next
After securing your pet’s body and talking to Paws into Grace first thing in the morning, it’s time to decide what to do with your dog’s remains.
- Individual Cremation: You will have the option to have your dog cremated individually or communally. With an individual cremation, you will receive your pet’s ashes back in an Urn along with a clay paw print.
- Communal cremation: with this option, you will not receive the dog’s ashes back but instead they will be scattered at sea.
- Memorial items: After cremation and you receive your dog’s ashes, you can choose to use a bit of the ash in personalized jewelry, paperweights, marbles, keychains, or ornaments.
Who Should I Call to Pick up a Dead Dog?
If your dog passes at home and you’re unable or uncomfortable transporting them, you can call our facility so we can send a driver to your home. Our compassionate drivers know how to handle deceased animals with care and gracefully move them to our facility for cremation.
Can Dogs Pass Away in Their Sleep?
Yes, some pets can peacefully and naturally pass away while sleeping. However, this won’t happen in most cases, so ailing or severely injured pets may need euthanasia to assist in the transition.
What Should I Do With My Other Pets When Their Friend Passes Away?
If there are surviving pets at home, allow them to smell or get close to their friend one last time. They may act aloof initially, yet they will know and eventually understand what happened.
If your dog passes away at home at night, you’ll need to preserve the body until morning and make arrangements for cremation during business hours the next day. It can be emotionally and mentally taxing to push through with this. With professional guidance, Paws Into Grace can give your dog a loving and caring farewell.