Pets.ca - Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 

-->

Freezing dead pets

marko
August 30th, 2007, 04:06 PM
This came to me by email and these questions DO come up so here goes: I'm emailing the OP back this thread URL so if anyone has suggestions...

Hello

Will you please tell me if it's safe to store a dead pet such as a small dog, a cat, a rabbit, etc. in a home freezer which contains food for humans? I've heard tell of people who have done this until they could properly bury their pet.

Is it safe to do? Does the food get contaminated?
How long could someone keep a frozen animal in the freezer for before it's no longer safe?Thanks for answering. Very Curious

First off, to the person that emailed the question - my condolences on your pet loss :sorry: :rip: If you are having a hard time you may wish to join our forum where many of us have gone through this tragedy and can offer you support.

Now onto your question,

I know people who have done this - but they removed ALL food from the freezer and had family members hold the food while the pet was frozen.

Any other input or opinions from members?

Thanks as always,

Marko

otter
August 30th, 2007, 05:43 PM
It's pretty common place around here for people to freeze their pets before they are able to bury them, especially in the winter when burial can take some time. As far as i've heard food is often left in the freezer, just make sure the pet is VERY well wrapped before freezing and the final wrapping is something soft (like a blanket or comforter) to protect other wrappings.
Just make sure everything stays frozen (no power outages etc.) and all should be well.

Sorry for your loss...:rip:

mummummum
August 30th, 2007, 06:45 PM
I would suggest: the pet be well wrapped in heavy plastic, the joins taped with a solid bonding tape (ie. Duct tape), then placed in a sturdy container (like a Rubbermaid storage) with a reliable seal. This is to ensure against contamination of other items in the freezer and the freezer itself in the event of a power outage or freezer malfunction. The pet can remain this way indefinitely provided there are no power outages or freezer malfunctions. When burial is possible, do so from freezer to gravesite, do not allow the pet to thaw.


Please send along my condolences. :candle:

punkyamberlea
August 30th, 2007, 07:01 PM
I dont know how safe it would be since some animals pass bowels after dying. You could see if your vet will hold it for you. We do for people in the winter and charge like $5 a month (we only do it for clients) Amber

mummummum
August 30th, 2007, 07:06 PM
You mean they have a bowel movement, not that their bowels are expressed out their anus right? If the animal urinates or defecates upon death, their caregiver need only to clean up the animal using universal precautions.

wdawson
August 30th, 2007, 08:02 PM
thats just gross......i'm not eating anything out of that freezer.....hmmm my friends cat did go missing a while back......but he found it:laughing:

Frenchy
August 30th, 2007, 09:09 PM
You could see if your vet will hold it for you.

I think it's the better thing to do. :sad:

punkyamberlea
August 30th, 2007, 09:56 PM
You mean they have a bowel movement, not that their bowels are expressed out their anus right? If the animal urinates or defecates upon death, their caregiver need only to clean up the animal using universal precautions
I ment they have bowelmovements, if a person "packages"(not really sure how to put it, some dont know that can happen.

mummummum
August 31st, 2007, 01:30 AM
I think it's the better thing to do. :sad:

But in some locations it's just not possible ~ there either isn't a Vet or the Vet has no storage capacity. It's quite common if you live in a rural or isolated community up North and your animal dies in the winter.

TMac
August 31st, 2007, 05:07 PM
But in some locations it's just not possible ~ there either isn't a Vet or the Vet has no storage capacity. It's quite common if you live in a rural or isolated community up North and your animal dies in the winter.

That's where cremation comes in handy. Frozen pet next to the steak? :yuck:

mummummum
August 31st, 2007, 07:42 PM
Sooooo...you're in the dead of winter, no Vet never mind cold storage, certainly no crematorium... and it's not gross to toss Fido on a bonfire?

CyberKitten
August 31st, 2007, 09:06 PM
Actually, scientifically, a dead animal should not be placed in the freezer!!

If one has to preserve an animal before burial or cremation, s/he should completely and thoroughly cleaned as any body would be post postmortem, placed in a tight container and then be placed in a refrigerator.

The problem is that freezing an animal results in the animal's cells rupturing when thawing. This makes many things more difficult, including burial and certainly a necropsy becomes more difficult and can be inaccurate.

The sooner you can get the animal to your veterinarian, the better, However, the body will likely stay in fair condition for a day or two in the refrigerator if you cannot get him/her to the vet immediately. If you know that you cannot present the animal for necropsy within a reasonable period of time (usually 3-4 days is the maximum for maintaining quality in the refrigerator, depending upon how autolyzed it was prior to refrigeration), then you may have to freeze the animal but it freezing is a destructive process.

I know I would not place a dead body of any kind in my fridge - and when my bunny died, he was placed downstairs in the basement where it was cool until we could bury him on a woodlot I own - the others all died when the vet was available. You have to think of what the animal died of - what about infectious diseases, cancer cells, blood.... the list in endless.

That said, I know people in pathology who place their sandwich in the fridge next to specimens and they are in better medical shape than me. Of course, there, specimens that are infectious or with problems are are in special areas.

I suppose if one had no other choice, one could move all the food to the top of the fridge and move the food to the bottom. Or if you live in a northern climate - like me - and it is winter, place the body in a cold outdoor garage - somewhere where no one or no animal can get at it granted - in an encased c;losed container!!!

And yeah, this is a question I'd prefer not to consider at all actually. But I am aware that emergencies occur.

mummummum
August 31st, 2007, 09:14 PM
The dog was not going for necropsy CK, only burial. That is why I structured my answer the way that I did.

CyberKitten
August 31st, 2007, 09:46 PM
Sorry mummummum, I was just answering the main q - did not have time to read all the answers and was not meaning to be critical, Sometimes I am too scientifically minded for my own good, sigh!! I guess I see death so much that I sometimes HAVE to see it that way, sighhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

BMDLuver
September 1st, 2007, 09:36 AM
Well, I'd suggest no one eat at my place then if you're bothered by a dead animal in the freezer.:eek: Many times we have had little one's, a couple of days old, during winter time, who did not make it. We wrap them in a soft blanket then put them inside a plastic bag until the ground has thawed and they can have a proper burial spot in the perennial gardens with a stone placed over them for no animal to try and dig. Cremation is ridiculously expensive and just not an option for many who rescue orphan animals to consider doing regularly.

CyberKitten
September 1st, 2007, 02:05 PM
BMD, have you ever considered asking a funeral director for assistance where you are a non profit? I ask because growing up, one of my neighbours operated a funeral home and I used to babysit there (You obtain a very unique perspective let me assure you). I always asked him when we found or had a cat or kitten that had died in the winter and he would save the body for burial in the spring in his funeral home. This was a personal kindness but I wonder if the services in your area would do the same thing? You could cite my example...

The only difficult part was driving by the funeral home and knowing a beloved pet was there but of course it was the same when my grandfather died in the winter (well, Nov but too late for burial) and he was there for the winter. They have specialized equipment - really a large cold area. (I am much too nosy for my own good, sigh!)

It's just a thought!

I say you gain a unique perspective because if you recall that horrible shooting by Marc Lepine in Mtl - all those women!!! - I was watching TV with this guy's kids and the youngest one, maybe 7 pr 8 at the time, was in a different space than I was. I was watching the news coverage thinking how sad and how horrible, those poor women - etc and he while sad as well could not help but observe 'Oh look, they have Rosewoord caskets!" in a tone that was almost reverent - Rosewood apparently is very expensive. I would not have noted this, obviously!! This kid is now an undertaker himself.

glitterless
September 5th, 2007, 12:50 AM
I've had to keep my pets outside in a shed over the winter. Burial (even for humans) is just not possible up here in the winter.

I haven't tried the fridge yet... don't think that would go over too well. I usually just move pets off to the cold cellar of the basement if burial won't take place for a day or two. Unfortunately I did find a stool sample in the fridge once while looking for a snack! :yuck: I learned to steer clear of brown paper bags after that incident!

rainbow
September 5th, 2007, 02:58 AM
I would suggest: the pet be well wrapped in heavy plastic, the joins taped with a solid bonding tape (ie. Duct tape), then placed in a sturdy container (like a Rubbermaid storage) with a reliable seal. This is to ensure against contamination of other items in the freezer and the freezer itself in the event of a power outage or freezer malfunction. The pet can remain this way indefinitely provided there are no power outages or freezer malfunctions. When burial is possible, do so from freezer to gravesite, do not allow the pet to thaw.


I agree this is the best and safest way to freeze the pet. And, also, please pass on my condolences as well. :rip: :candle: