How To Plan And Protect Your Dog After You’re Gone


Dogs offer their unconditional love, companionship, and loyalty. They enhance our lives in so many ways and ask so little in return. And yet, they’re completely dependent on us to provide for their well-being and basic needs.

During our pets’ lives, we do all we can to ensure that these needs are met. But have you thought about what would happen if you were no longer there to provide for these needs? It may be uncomfortable, but it’s important to think about pet care after your death.

Unfortunately, many pets are surrendered to animal shelters when their loving owners pass away. That’s why taking the time to plan for your pet in the event of a serious illness or death is one of the necessities of responsible dog ownership.

So, what kinds of plans and considerations should you have in place to make sure your canine companion is cared for if something were to happen to you? Whether your situation is temporary or will require permanent rehoming, this guide will make sure you have your pet’s bases covered.

Immediate Care Needs

It’s important that you have a plan in place for immediate care in the event of an accident or sudden hospitalization. Many of us have family members who are willing to step in as a long-term guardian for our pet. However, they may need time to travel or make other arrangements in order to take over caregiving responsibilities.

If a boarding situation is likely, it’s wise to plan for that in advance.

It’s also important to have a plan for someone that has access to your residence who will be aware of your health situation and be able to step in immediately to meet the basic short-term needs of your canine companion.

Keep a list of all of your pets along with the contact information for your emergency pet guardian in your wallet. Be sure your close friends, vet, and relatives also have this vital information.

Your immediate care person needs to be prepared with the following:

  • Access to your home or residence (key and/or security codes)
  • Information on care including appropriate food (including amounts), treats and medications
  • Veterinary contact information
  • Up-to-date records
  • Contact information for a permanent caregiver that you’ve arranged in advance
  • Contact information for pet sitting and/or dog boarding services that you may use
  • Money for short-term expenses such as food or supplements

If you don’t know anyone that is willing or able to take immediate action in the event that your dog should need emergency short-term care, you may want to consider doing some research on your local dog kennel options.

In The Event Of An Emergency

Most communities have dog boarding services. In fact, some vets offer this service as well (although often at much higher rates). These days, dogs often enjoy the company of supervised play with other pooches for a fun-filled day of frolicking at summer camp style doggy daycare facilities across the nation.

Sometimes situations can change, so having a primary and a backup plan is a good idea.

What you need to be aware of, however, is that these facilities often require meeting prospective visitors in advance of an overnight stay.

In addition, they may require specific vaccines, such as Bordetella, that your dog may not have. Look for a facility that won’t pressure you into doing anything you’re not comfortable with.

If a boarding situation is likely, it’s wise to plan for that in advance. Schedule an appointment to tour the facilities and get your dog onboarded into their system. Make sure they’re ok with what you feed and will stick to it (ie if you feed raw, make sure they’ll follow that).

Let friends and family know which service you decide to use so they know what to do in the event of an emergency.

Of course, even if you arrange for emergency boarding in advance, be sure you have informed someone that will be in the loop who can make the necessary arrangements, including transport. It’s wise to also make sure they will have the funds necessary to cover the boarding expenses until your permanent caregiver is able to take over.