Pet Death

I sit a couple of very old dogs. It has crossed my mind what to do if they pass away while I’m there.
When should I tell the owners? ASAP and possibly ruin a holiday, just before they return home and lie in sit communications. (I generally give a daily update)
Should I discuss it with the owners?
What to do with the body? Freezer, vet, or backyard.
Has anybody faced this situation?

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It’s important to discuss this potential scenario prior to the sit. I have brought it up gingerly with HOs but usually only to ask if the vet is aware of their wishes in the event of a life-threatening situation. I have also asked if the HO wants to be informed if something dire happens where there is no possible remedy. Whenever I have asked, the answer has always been yes, they want to be notified. It’s such a delicate topic. I’m glad you brought it up here. You have made me aware of the importance of having a very frank discussion with the pet owner, not just a quick, now let’s change the subject kind of thing.

I want to add that I provide an Absent Owner Pet Treatment Authorization form that I ask the HO to complete. This was suggested in the past on the forum. It has a place for the pet’s medical/surgical history, allergies, meds and the amount of money the HO is willing to spend for veterinary treatment. There is also a space for credit card info. If their vet has has that info on file, I tell them to leave it blank. If not, I am thinking of having them place that info in a sealed envelope that will only be opened if it’s needed.

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This has been discussed previously & on the thread- Death of a pet on your watch

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As Mars says, always best to have a conversation about this possible scenario before the owners go on holiday. I’m sure that most pet owners would want to be informed if their pets were seriously ill or died.

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Hi @Mike52 -Here is a link to the previous discussion on this topic you may want to take a look at

Death of a pet on your watch - Sitters Questions, Advice & Chat - TrustedHousesitters Community Forum

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Thank you. I have now seen and read that post.