What to do When Your Pet Dies Unexpectedly

A good friend is hard to find, but each animal finds a special place in our heart. While the beginning chapters of Lady’s remain a mystery, we wanted to give her a well-deserved rest in peace. Lady wandered the streets until strangers picked her up as a stray and brought her to the local shelter where she lived long-term until my family adopted her in the Spring of 2017. That is where the final chapter of her tale begins…

what to do when your pet dies unexpectedly

Lady: The Final Chapter

We weren’t in a rush to bring another creature into our pack, but on Mother’s Day, Charlotte (my six-year-old daughter) and I took a trip to the local animal shelter. We previously discussed the possibility of adopting another dog when the ‘right one’ came along. We’d visited local shelters like Wayside Waiffs and Prairie Paws Animal Shelter, but hadn’t found the right fit for our family- until that day.

Lady hobbled inside from a walk with a volunteer when we met her- at that moment we knew she was special. There was a sweetness about her. A kindness in her eyes that instantly drew our hearts in. We knew we may only have a couple years together due to her age, but the instant connection made our hesitation disappear. Lady deserved a loving home and we were going to give it to her. After a few more visits and a meet-and-greet with Winnie, our 11-year old dog, we welcomed Lady into our wolf pack.

what to do when your pet dies unexpectedly

Given Lady’s condition (she had trouble walking & bad arthritis), we knew the transition into a new household would take time. But hope is a seemingly magical thing which made Lady’s transition much smoother than we anticipated.

What to do when your pet dies unexpectedly

The day we adopted Lady, she had limited movement. Even navigating stairs seemed like an impossible task. Each day I carried her up and down our stairs so she could relieve herself and enjoy time in our backyard with Winnie. I came to terms with the fact that Lady was going to need extra care– but she surprised me.

Within a couple of weeks, the dog that could barely walk was running (literally running) around the backyard and climbing the stairs on her own. I truly believe that Lady needed the hope, love, and encouragement that only a loving family can bring. Lady found her forever home and we found a piece of our hearts that we didn’t know was missing – and summertime was wonderful.

what to do when your pet dies unexpectedly

Summertime brought freedom for our dogs to explore outdoors and relax on the lawn. Together, they spent a few hours a day taking in the fresh air. When I opened the door to call them in, both would come running as fast as they could to greet us. Lady wasn’t just a cared for member of our pack, she became my friend.

I found myself looking forward to my favorite parts of the day, when Winnie and Lady would run towards the house. I never envisioned the possibility of Lady being active when we’d first met, but little did the dogs know that I cherished those joyful moments just as much as they did.

what to do when your pet dies unexpectedly

Over the span of a few months, Lady became an important part of our pack- part of our family. Fast forward to the night of October 21st, 2017.

As it started raining, I rushed to the backdoor to call the dogs in – expecting to see them both run in, excited to come inside. That didn’t happen. Lady got up to come towards me, but collapsed suddenly on the lawn. I ran down the yard and helped Lady get back to her feet. As we tried to get up the stairs, Lady collapsed again and that’s when it hit me – Lady was going to die.

I honestly can’t tell you how I knew, but I could sense it. I knew what to do. My job was to make sure that Lady, my friend, was comfortable and loved in her final moments. The progression happened so quickly, there wasn’t time to think much about keeping her comfortable. By the time we got inside, her back legs had stopped working all together and her body was shutting down.

I brought her inside my bedroom and we said our goodbyes. As I petted  and soothed her, Lady kept trying to inch closer to me – all she wanted was love. I finally moved her on top of me as I laid with my back on the floor. Nothing prepares you for having someone that you love die in your arms. It’s one of the most difficult things I have experienced but it was exactly as it was supposed to be.

Lady passed away in the comfort of my arms, surrounded by the love she experienced in her final months on Earth. I am grateful we were a part of her journey, no matter how difficult it was to lose her. I don’t know how her story started or what adventures her early chapters brought, but I know her final chapter was beautiful, and I’ll never forget her presence in our lives.

The aftermath of losing Lady was challenging because it’s something that I have never been through before. However, the experience is something I want to share with your family if you find yourself in a similar situation.

What to do When Your Pet Dies Unexpectedly

After Lady passed away, I knew we needed to have a plan of action in place. Given the fact that it was late at night and on a weekend, I wasn’t quite sure how to handle the situation. When your pet dies unexpectedly, like ours did, here are some helpful steps:

-Evaluate the situation. Try to feel your dog’s heartbeat asses if they have passed. CPR on animals can revive them in instances where you are unsure.

-Call for help. This is not a situation you want to handle on your own. Call a friend or family member if you are alone- we all need support.

-Be Quick. It’s not fun to think about, but Rigor Mortius sets in 10 minutes to 3 hours after death. Taking the necessary steps as soon as possible is important.

-Wrap your pet up in a blanket, towel, or some type of cloth.

-If you have plastic bags to wrap around the bottom half of your pet, do it. They will sometimes release some of their bodily fluids after passing away.

-Place your pet in a box or container to transport them.

-Know your options. We utilized Pet Cremation Services, out of Martin City, who were wonderful to work with. We called early Sunday morning and brought Lady to their facility Sunday afternoon. Pet Cremation Services reviewed several options for our family and handled our delicate situation with special care. From group cremation, where they spread the ashes in their memorial garden, to options where you can keep your pet’s ashes after their gone, Pet Cremation will help your family find the right option for you. Your family can find details online or call 816-941-2009. Pet Cremation Services handled it amazingly- so gentle and kind. I cannot begin to tell you how comforting their support was in the aftermath of Lady’s passing.

My biggest piece of advice is to understand WHAT to do if this ever happens to you. It’s hard enough losing a beloved pet unexpectedly. Knowing the next steps will make it easier for you in moment. Knowing what I know now, would I decide to welcome Lady into our family again?! Absolutely.

Lady’s presence in our lives wasn’t just a gift to her, it was a gift to our family as well. She was a gentle, sweet, and kind soul that we are lucky to have known. Not only was she our family pet, but Lady was also our friend. We miss her every day. When you have the chance to love others, both people and pets, do it. You’ll never regret spreading kindness and love.

From my family to yours,


Halloween Safety Tips for your Furry Friends

Pet Halloween Safety
Great reminders & tips to keep your pets safe this Halloween.

Dress up Pup?

We all know that costumes for our pets are quite popular and absolutely adorable.  However, make sure that the costume is correctly sized and comfortable for Fido.  Avoid any pieces that may fall off and/or can be chewed on.  Small hair bows, clips, and hats can easily be taken off by their lonesome and often are small enough to become dangerous.  Attempt to make your pet familiar with the costume by having them wear it for a period of time before Halloween.  If it is obvious your pet is less than thrilled to be in a costume, it is best to call it quits on dressing up.  Never leave your pet unsupervised while her or she is dressed up for festivities.

Keep your fur-baby inside!

Dogs and (some) cats alike enjoy the fresh air of the great outdoors.  Once night falls and trick-or-treaters come out for candy, do not let your pup outside unsupervised.  Between the trick or treaters that may be cutting through backyards and the sidewalks being overrun with excited kiddos, opt to only take pets outside on leash with an adult for the night of the 31st.  We wouldn’t want any pets to be scared or uncomfortable when around some unfamiliar faces.  Always keep a collar and identification tag on your pets in case they do get out without an owner.

The front door: out of sight, out of mind

When it comes to the doorbell and lots of Halloween visitors, it is best to keep pets out of reach from the door where you’re handing out candy.  Put them in a room where they are comfortable and turn on the TV or radio to drown out at least some of the commotion for the few hours of trick-or-treating.  It is best to prevent the dog jumping on trick-or-treaters, or the kitty slipping out the door by having he or she entertained with a treat or toy in their secluded area.

Chocolate Labs can’t eat chocolate

In fact, it isn’t recommended for any dog to eat chocolate.  Do not share chocolate treats with any of your furry friends, and make sure your kiddos understand this too.  These sweet treats children are destined for on Halloween can be toxic to both dogs and cats and should never be in reach of their paws.  Keep candy on a high surface, and cover with a lid to minimize the smell.

Howl-o-ween Décor

It’s part of the fun to deck the house out in spider webs, pumpkins, and ghosts, oh my! But, be wary of decorations that include candles, long power cords, or glow-in-the-dark substances.  Candles and jack-o-lanterns are a Halloween tradition, however, keep them out of reach from wagging tails, sniffing noses, and stretching paws.  Avoid making the night even scarier by securing long power cords to avoid flying items and tripped pets.  Chemicals in glow sticks are poisonous to both humans and animals, so make sure they can’t be chewed on.

Happy Howl-o-ween! Enjoy and stay safe!

Brought to you by Isabelle Allen, iPetsKC team

4 Tips to Keep Your Pets Safe this Holiday Season

Holidays can be a bundle of fun for most of us, but they can also present quite a few dangers for our furry (and perhaps, non-furry) friends. One of our great writers, Darcy, has a few tips to keep our pets safe and happy this holiday season. Check it out!

4 Tips to Keep Your Pets Safe this Holiday Season

4 Tips to Keep Your Pets Safe this
Holiday Season


The Holidays are here and though they can be a time of merriment and love, it can also be a dangerous time of year for your pets. Here are some tips to keep your furry loved ones safe this year.



Food is a huge part of the holidays. Between baking gifts, hosting parties and receiving edible gifts from others- this is a yummy time of year. And all these treats can be as tempting for your pets as they are for us. Be sure you keep any harmful foods out of reach. Below is a list of foods poisonous to dogs and cats.

Signs that your pet may have eaten something they shouldn’t have include vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drinking, depression, lethargy, coordination issues, or tremors. If your pet is acting funny and you think they’ve ingested something dangerous, Blue Pearl is a 24/7 emergency vet hospital with several locations around Kansas City.

Foods not suitable for pets: Alcohol, avocado, chocolate (baking and dark chocolate are the most dangerous), caffeine, citrus, coconut, grapes and raisins, macadamia nuts, dairy, nuts, onions, garlics and chives, raw meat, raw bones or raw eggs, salt, xylitol and yeast dough.



Researching holiday decorations and pet safety is like a terrifying downward spiral into Murphy’s land where beautiful, sparkly and festive ornamentation became menacing monsters skulking in plain sight waiting to attack your beloved fur babies when your back is turned. I will try to give a thorough overview without you feeling like a construction paper tree taped to the wall is your only option.


Trees, tinsel, gift wrap, poinsettias, mistletoe, holly, and salt dough ornaments. These are the big hazards. Christmas trees- Try to keep your pets out of them. If you have a live tree, be sure to vacuum up any needles that fall so that no one eats them. Keep light cords tucked away. Tinsel- If you still use tinsel, keep it high. It is bad if ingested. This goes for that tinsel like string popular for gift wrap too.

From personal experience I can tell you, if your cat swallows some, DO NOT pull it out! It can cut and damage their throats and intestines. Cut it close to their mouth if they haven’t had much and again, call Blue Pearl. Poinsettias, mistletoe and holly are all poisonous to animals so be sure to put them where your pets cannot get to them. Finally, salt is very bad for dogs. Be sure to keep those handmade salt dough ornaments way high on the tree, or elsewhere because they can be fatal if ingested.



Whether you are hosting guests or you are the guest, you may want to consider boarding your pets. It is a busy time of year, and with people coming and going from your house, it can be easy for a pet to get out. Or, if your dog gets anxious with lots of people around or with a lot of noise, like mine does, sometimes it is easier on them to stay the night at a doggy hotel. If you will not be able to get home to them, due to drinking (please don’t drive) consider boarding, or asking a neighbor to check in.



As the temperature goes down, it gets dangerous for pets to spend too much time outside. Make sure you don’t leave your dog or their only source of water outdoors. If you don’t have a heated bowl it can freeze. Leaving your pets, even in the garage is not a good option. Please make a plan for your pets when figuring out your holiday activities.


Pets are a special part of the family and with a little planning they can have a happy and safe holiday season with you and the rest of your family. We at iPetsKC wish you and your pets a very happy holiday!