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When a Pet Dies: What Happens and How Pet Insurance May Help

when a pet dies


The death or impending death of a pet can be difficult for almost anyone to endure. Often, one isn’t just losing a cat or a dog but a beloved friend or family member.

For some, the end of a pet’s life is expected and may even be planned. Others may be faced with the unexpected death of a pet due to an accident or undetected illness.

Regardless of how a pet’s life comes to an end, one is often faced with difficult questions and decisions, such as how to make their pet’s death more comfortable, what happens when a pet dies, and how to cover related costs.

When it comes to end-of-life expenses, careful research and comparisons using can help pet owners find the best insurance plan to lessen the burden.

Understanding the Death of a Pet

On many levels, the death of a pet can be difficult for people to understand. Adult pet owners may have trouble comprehending the unexpected death of a beloved companion or the intensity of their grief.

Children, depending on their age, may have difficulty with the concept of death in general or with understanding why a pet that may have seemed healthy and happy is no longer around. For people who do not have pets or deep attachments to them, they may not understand how a person can feel such sorrow and even depression over what they see as only an animal.

Although some people are unable to relate to the emotional attachment that many have with their furred, feathered, or scaled pets, there are ways for those who do mourn the loss of their pet to better understand if not fully alleviate their sorrow.

When it comes to children, parents can help by discussing what it means for something or someone to die and explaining that the animal was sick or elderly.

It can be helpful for children to understand that their pet is no longer in pain, tired, or afraid. In the event of an accidental death, children should understand that they are not at fault.

For adults, seeking out grief counselors or support groups can help them better understand and deal with the loss.

Preparing for a Loss

In some cases, the death of a pet can come unexpectedly, while others have the opportunity to prepare for the impending loss. For example, when one is aware that their pet is dying, they are able to consider their options, such as pet hospice or, if their pet is in pain, euthanasia.

Euthanasia allows them to determine the time and, in some cases, the place of their pet’s death. For example, some may choose to have their pet put to sleep at home where it is surrounded by things that are familiar.

If euthanasia is not an option, one should take steps to make their pet as comfortable as possible and to ease any distress or discomfort that it may have. A veterinarian can help by prescribing pain medication if necessary and by offering tips on how to provide comfort suitable for the animal’s particular situation.

A warm bed and favorite toys or objects can also prove comforting in a pet’s final days. Parents also have the opportunity to talk with their children and prepare them for the upcoming loss.

When preparing for the death of a pet, one should also make arrangements for the remains.


When a pet is no longer able to enjoy a good quality of life due to a terminal illness or age, its owners may consider ending its suffering by terminating its life in a quick and humane manner via euthanasia.

But where and how are pets euthanized? This can take place in a pet hospital or veterinary clinic, where owners may choose to be present or absent for the procedure.

Some may also consider having it done at home in an environment that is familiar and comfortable. This can lead to the question, “ How are pets euthanized at home?”

Whether in the home or at your veterinarian’s clinic, the procedure is similar. Pets are administered a tranquilizer that calms and relaxes them.

This is followed by a lethal injection that renders them unconscious and stops the functioning of the brain without any pain or suffering.

When comparing pet insurance companies with our help, it is important to check their covered benefits, as this will show which providers offer coverage for euthanasia and which do not.

After a Pet Dies

When a pet dies, the initial next step depends on the circumstances. An unexpected death leaves most pet owners at a loss. Amid their anguish, they must also properly take care of the body. If a pet dies at home, one should call their local vet.

The vet may be able to store the body or provide the number for a pet cemetery. If the death occurs over a holiday or in the middle of the night and there is not a 24/7 service available to pick up the body, it must be properly stored to prevent odor associated with decay.

Because this happens quickly, the body should immediately be put in several bags and placed in a freezer or refrigerator. If this isn’t an option, put the bagged body in the coldest area in the home, such as a basement or garage, as the cold will slow decomposition.

Pet owners will also need to make a decision regarding aftercare. Options include cremation, burial at home if the law allows, or burial at a pet cemetery. Not all pet owners choose to bury or cremate their pet, however.

In these instances, it may be possible to make arrangements for local sanitation services to pick up the body. For specifics, one should contact their city’s sanitation department for information and guidance.

After the arrangements have been made, it is important for people to expect and allow themselves to grieve. There are various ways to express grief after a pet dies.

This expression may differ from one person to the next, as some may cry, while others may feel better talking or writing about their feelings. Talking to people who understand the loss of a pet is often helpful, and support groups are also available.

Even planning a small memorial service with family can prove to be helpful, and it is often a good way for children to say goodbye.

Burial and Cremation

Several aftercare options are available, with cremation and burial being two of the most common. Your veterinarian can go over these options with you and answer questions such as, “How are pets cremated?”

When burying a pet, one may choose a pet cemetery, or some may decide to bury a beloved pet on their property. Before doing the latter, check state laws to ensure that one is legally able to do so.

“How are pets cremated?” is a natural question for people who are interested in this popular aftercare service. One may directly ask this question of a memorial care service provider or a veterinarian.

Generally, cremation is a process that uses extreme heat to reduce the body of one’s pet into dried bone fragments and dust. The fragments are then crushed to a fine ash.

This process can be done communally, or one may have their pet individually cremated, often at a greater cost. A percentage of this cost, depending on one’s insurer and policy, may be reimbursed, which can offset the expense and make it more affordable to properly say goodbye to one’s pet.

Pet Insurance Can Help

At, we want to help prepare you for the eventual death of a pet by giving you the tools needed to insure it.

While not all of the top insurance providers cover services such as burials and euthanasia, you can use our site to determine which offer these benefits and to what degree.

Our comparison charts, overviews, customer reviews, and free quotes make it simple to find the right price and plan that can help you save money during a difficult time.

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