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What to do when a pet dies

For many people, pets are an integral part of the family. Losing a pet can be as painful as losing a human loved one.

When a pet passes on, there are some essential steps that need to be taken to ensure that the body of the deceased pet is handled in the right manner. Concurrently, there are also a range of optional services you can engage to send off your pet in the manner that you deem most fit.

Handling of the deceased pet’s body

Burial or Disposal without cremation (only for small pets)

According to NEA, only small pets like ornamental fish, birds, and hamsters can be disposed together with general waste. No specific size criteria is listed.

Enclose your deceased pet securely in an opaque plastic bag before disposal in general waste collection points or burial. Do note that burial of a deceased pet can only take place on private compounds as burial in public locations is considered illegal under Environmental Public Health (Public Cleansing) Regulations.


According to the NEA, larger deceased animals should be brought to commercial animal crematoria (although no specific size criteria is listed).

Types of cremation:

  • Private cremation: Deceased pet is cremated in a private chamber. Ashes can be returned to the owners.

  • Communal cremation:

    • With partition: Deceased pet is cremated together with other pets but with the presence of partitions. Ashes of each individual pet can be collected and returned to the owners.

    • Without partition: Deceased pets are cremated in a common chamber. The ashes are mixed and individual pet ashes cannot be returned to the owners.

Administrative Matters

Cancellation of Pet License (for dog owners)

First, obtain the deceased pet’s death certificate from the vet or the cremation certificate/receipt from the animal crematoria.

Next, login to the Pet Animal Licensing System (PALS) to cancel the dog licence.

Claiming Pet Insurance

Insurance can help to offset some of the costs incurred from seeking medical treatment during the final days. Do keep a record of all relevant financial documents and take note of the claim period offered by the insurance company.

Do note that although most pet insurance plans offer benefits for accidental death of a pet, not all insurance plans offer benefits to cover the expenses incurred after a pet’s natural death (i.e. costs incurred for funeral, cremation).


The death of a pet can have a profound effect on their owners.

If you or someone you know requires additional support after the loss of a pet, here are the support options that you can consider:

  • Counselling centres that offer pet bereavement therapy

  • Social media support groups

  • Before Beyond support group on Discord (

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