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How to Ensure Your Pet is Taken Care of After You Pass

Submitted by Sarah Kessler

RVTs and veterinary professionals may find this information helpful when speaking with clients

The death of a cherished pet affects almost everyone, eventually. Rats, mice, reptiles, dogs, and other animals all age faster than people.

As a pet parent, you may be ready to lose your animals before they end up losing you. But what might happen if you get sick or pass away before your companion?

There are many things you can do to ensure your pet is taken care of after you pass away as a caring pet owner.

The greatest thing you can do for them is to make sure they continue to receive high-quality meals, toys, and endless cuddles. As cherished family members, pets deserve to be cared for in the future.

To help you get started, we’ve included a few ideas below.

Identify an emergency caretaker

Choose at least one, and ideally two or three, trustworthy friends or family members who could look after your animals while you’re away. These aren’t necessarily the ones who will take your pets in as their own forever. Instead, they’ll take care of your animals until they find new, long-term residences. Make sure to select those who are totally capable of handling the task.

As an alternative, the emergency caregiver could care for your pets in your home you while you’re away. They need to reside close by and be able to carve out time in their schedule in case of an emergency.

If something were to happen to you, the emergency pet sitters you select would agree to take care of your animals in an emergency. They should be able to access to your house and have detailed instructions for pet care.

Give them your veterinarian’s name, the best method of payment you have for any planned veterinary care, and any plans you have for finding a permanent home for your animals.

Enlist Your Friends and Family

Invite your friends to make similar arrangements for their pets as you plan for your pets’ care after your passing. Asking a friend to look after your pet temporarily can be made simpler by planning ahead together. In exchange, you can provide the same assistance that they provide to you.

You can make a document outlining each person’s responsibilities for emergency pet care if you’re in a group of three or more friends. It should also indicate any permanent arrangements for your pets, as well as each person’s veterinarian information.

Create a Written Notice

As soon as you’re aware of your emergency carers, make a wallet-sized alert card. Anyone who looks in your wallet will notice the card and know who to call if something were to happen to you.

The same card can also be displayed prominently in your home, such as on your refrigerator.

The names and contact information for your emergency pet caregiver(s) should be included on the emergency notice. Along with the name and contact information of your veterinarian, it should also contain instructions on what to do with your animals right away (such as placing your dog in her kennel with food and water, for example).

Select a Long-Term Residence for Your Pets

You’re in luck if you have a friend or relative you can completely rely on to take care of your pet or dogs. It’s possible that this individual is the same as your emergency caregiver, who looks after your pet right away when you pass away. They might be someone altogether different, such as someone who is too far away to serve as an emergency caregiver.

Consider how the person has interacted with your pets in the past before selecting a permanent caregiver or guardian for your animals. Examine their views on pet care and euthanasia to see if they coincide with your own.

While you can leave instructions for your pet’s care after your passing, you have little influence over the choices that caregivers make after you’re gone. It’s crucial to pick someone who shares your ideals for providing care.

Rehome Pets After You Pass Away

You can offer your temporary caregiver instructions to find your animals’ new owners if you don’t have the ideal person to adopt them permanently.

Finding the ideal home might take weeks or months, which is an added responsibility. If you decide to use this approach, make absolutely sure your emergency caretakers are prepared to go above and above.

As an alternative, you might donate to a “pet retirement home” or animal sanctuary to make sure that they would care for your pet when you pass away.

But first, make sure you visit and believe in the company. Inquire about their pet care practices and what might happen to your pet if the group ran out of money and had to close.

Add Your Pets to Your Will

Together with your friends and family, you can commit in writing or verbally to taking care of each other’s pets in the event of a death. However, until it is stated in your will, nothing is final.

Listing temporary caregivers in your is not required. They’ll have to intervene before anyone has a chance to carry out your instructions. However, you must include the ultimate adopter of your pets, as well as any other bequests you make in your will.

Adopting a Pet from a Deceased Owner

As was already noted, collaborating with friends and family can make drafting a care plan for your pet easier. You might find yourself temporarily or permanently caring for a friend’s animal companion along the way.

To ensure that you and the pet’s owner are on the same page regarding the pet’s care, you should have a lengthy conversation. If the person passes away before you get the chance to inquire about the pet and how to care for them, you will have to make your best effort.

Sarah Kessler is a writer at, an end-of-life planning website with free resources and information on how to estate plan and honor loved ones’ final wishes.

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