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?


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.


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


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