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Pets and Funerals: A Guide to Bringing Pets to a Funeral Service

by | Sep 27, 2017 | For Families

Cute puppy

At a funeral, you’ll find a variety of people who were connected to the deceased in different ways.

They could be family, friends, neighbors, caregivers, coworkers, or others who knew the deceased. But what about pets? Often, people consider their pets as family, so it makes sense to include them in a loved one’s funeral.

However, there are a few things to consider before bringing a pet to a funeral. Let’s go over these points to avoid any mishaps.

Possible Reasons to Bring Pets

First, let’s discuss the possible reasons someone may wish to bring a pet to a funeral. One reason may be if the deceased was the pet’s owner. The unconditional love and bond are irreplaceable, so it would comfort the deceased knowing that their pet attended. Plus, studies have found that animals mourn when their owner passes away.

Another reason may be if a funeral guest has a support animal. This could be a guide dog or an emotional support animal. Since funerals are an emotional experience, funeral guests may want their emotional support animal by their side.

Or, there may be a situation where a funeral guest can’t leave their pet alone at home. And if they’re traveling on a hot or cold day, they can’t leave their pet in the car.

Precautions to Take If Bringing a Pet

Before bringing a pet to a funeral, always check with the family and the funeral location beforehand. Whether it’s at a funeral home, church, or another location, ask them about their pet policies. Also, don’t forget to check with the cemetery if you plan on attending a graveside memorial service.

If you have a support animal, they’re most likely exceptions to pet policies. Especially since a lot of funeral homes also have their own therapy dogs to comfort those grieving. But even in these instances, it’s always a good idea to let them know beforehand.

If you’ve received the okay for bringing a pet, there are a few more things to keep in mind:

  • Consider other funeral guests who may have animal allergies. If possible, find out from the family beforehand if they know of anyone with these allergies.
  • Consider your pet’s personality and behavior. If they have a lot of energy, you may want to keep them away from the main areas if possible. It also may help to have a designated area for your pet.
  • Keep in mind any small children who may be uncomfortable around animals. Also, keep them away from anything breakable and of importance. To help prevent any mishaps, you should always keep your pet on a leash.
  • Make sure you clean up after your pet and have necessary supplies, such as food, water, a leash, and a collar. If you bring toys, make sure they don’t make noise and aren’t distracting to those grieving.

Alternatives to Bringing Pets

If the deceased’s family can’t bring their beloved pet, there are a few ways you can still include them. Or even if they are coming, these are unique ways to personalize the service and honor their special bond.

  • Include photos of the deceased and their pet in a Tribute Video.
  • Make a memento with photos of the deceased and their pet, such as a photo wreath.
  • Mention the deceased’s relationship with their pet in the eulogy.
  • Share a memorable story about the deceased and their pet.

If a funeral guest can’t bring their pet, there are a few options you can try:

  • Find a pet sitter in your area. For example, Rover is a helpful tool for finding pet sitters.
  • If you can’t find a pet sitter, ask a trusted neighbor, friend, or coworker if they can watch your pet.
  • If possible, find an affordable pet daycare center or kennel to watch your pet.

What are your thoughts on bringing pets to funerals? Share them with us in the comments!


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