What to do if
your pet dies

It’s normal to experience grief and sadness when a pet dies. For many of us, pets are family members, so their death is a time of grieving. Like any death, there are practical decisions that need to be made regarding what happens to your pet after they have passed away. It’s also important to acknowledge the emotional toll losing your pet has on you, your family and other pets in your home.  

10 Tips on Coping with Pet Loss

Grief support after pet loss

If you are still very sad for months after a pet’s death,
it might be useful to get professional help.

Grief Counselling for Pet Owners

David Foote is a veterinarian and counsellor who works with pet owners dealing with grief over pet loss


Call 13 11 14

Care Line

What happens at AREC after my pet dies?

If your pet is gravely ill, one of our staff will get in touch and give you the option to come in and be with your pet. Owners can visit their pet and say goodbye, both before and after they die.  We will offer to take a paw print of your pet so you have a special keepsake. Our staff will talk to you about your preferences for burial or cremation.

pet dies grief support

Burial & cremation options

Body donation

Donated animals give vets valuable learning experiences that help improve medical care

In the same way human doctors develop vital skills by working on donated bodies, vets gain valuable experience examining the bodies of real animals. Typically, vets will practice diagnostic imaging, surgical and emergency procedure training so they have the skills and confidence to take action.

Our vets are deeply grateful and keenly aware of the privilege it is to work with a donated animal. You can rest assured that donors are treated with the utmost dignity and respect, deserving of their meaningful life and the contribution to future welfare they make.


If your pet is a suitable donor, we will gratefully accept them into our program. We hold your pet for a maximum of 6 months and will cremate your pet with the option to return ashes to you.


Your pet may be a suitable donor if: 

  • They are a patient of AREC
  • Donation occurs within 24 hours of death
  • They are free of diseases that are transmissible to humans or other animals
  • The registered owner gives consent

There is no cost for donation or cremation. If you have personal requests such as a special urn or box, those will need to be ordered and paid for separately.

If your pet has died, one of our staff will talk to you about body donation. If you choose to donate your pet, a team member help you complete a consent form for donation and answer any questions you may have.