If Your Pet Passes Away at Home: A Practical Guide

  • What should I do if my pet passes away at home?
    • If your pet is small enough, you should wrap its body in an old towel, sheet, or blanket. “Shrouding” absorbs fluids, keeps pests away, and helps you handle your pet’s body calmly and with dignity. With a large pet, slide a towel or sheet under its head and another under its tail. Try to keep the body cool while you make arrangements.
  • I think my pet has passed away, but how can I be sure?
    • Touch the corner of your pet’s eye – there should be no response. With a few hours, the body will also cool and begin to stiffen.
  • Is it all right to touch my pet after it has passed away?
    • In most cases, yes. Stroking and holding your pet’s body will help you say goodbye. DO NOT handle your pet’s body without rubber gloves if it has passed away from an animal attack – you risk exposure to the rabies virus.
  • Can I bury my pet?
    • Yes, you may bury your own pet on your own property anywhere in Erie County, including the City of Erie.
  • How quickly do I have to get my pet’s body taken care of?
    • Try to remove your pet from your home within 12 hours. If the weather is cold, you may put its wrapped body in your unheated garage or the trunk of your car until you can make final arrangements.
  • Why is there blood coming from my pet’s nose?
    • This is normal. It’s like getting a nosebleed in dry weather. The respiratory tissues are very fragile.
  • I need more time to make my decision. What can I do?
    • We can hold your pet’s body in our morgue.
  • I want my pet cremated, but I wasn’t expecting this expense right now.
    • We understand your concern. We will work with you to make payment arrangements.