Our pets are every bit a part of our family as humans are. As with any of our loved ones, when we lose a pet, we grieve our loss and we want to make sure we create a proper memorial so we can be reminded of all the joy they brought into our lives.
For some, this means cremating the pet and memorializing the ashes. If this is your choice, this guide can tell you everything you need to know about animal cremation services.
Burial vs. Cremation
Often when our pets die, we think about burying them in the yard, or at a public pet cemetery. However, these options are not always practical. If you live in a climate with very cold winters, you may have to wait months for the ground to thaw enough to dig.
Also, if you don’t dig far enough down, you run the risk of having other animals try to dig up the remains, which can be traumatic for your family. Lastly, if you move to a new house, what becomes of your beloved pet’s grave?
If you live in a town that has a public pet cemetery, you can certainly go that route. But if you’d prefer to have a memorial that is just for your pet, cremation may be the way to go.
Who Performs Pet Cremations
Pet cremation services often depend on where you live. Many cities have pet crematoriums that contract with veterinarian clinics.
If you live in a very tiny town, it’s possible that the crematorium takes care of both humans and pets, but they likely have two separate designated areas for them. Check with your vet to see who they use.
Do I Have to Drop Off My Pet At a Crematorium?
If you have to have your pet euthanized and you choose to have it cremated, your vet will arrange to have your pet transferred to the crematorium.
But cremation isn’t just for euthanized pets: if your animal dies at home, you can choose to have it cremated. Many vets offer mobile services – they can come to your home to pick up your pet for cremation.
Talk to your vet to see if they offer this convenience.
The Cremation Process
There are generally two types of cremations available for pets: private or communal. In a communal cremation, your pet is cremated along with other animals. Because there are several animals, it’s not possible to get your pet’s ashes back.
In a private ceremony, your pet is cremated alone, so you are able to get the ashes afterward.
Some cremation centers offer an individual, or partitioned service. In this case, your pet is cremated along with other animals, but each animal is partitioned off.
You may ask for your pet’s ashes, but know that if you choose this process, it’s possible you’ll get some remains from other animals mixed in with your pet’s ashes.
The cremation process follows these basic steps:
- The animal’s remains are incinerated using high heat. The amount of time it takes depends on the size of the animal.
- The remains are inspected for metal objects; any that are discovered are removed.
- Large pieces of bone that did not incinerate are pulverized to a fine dust resembling ash
- For animals in a private cremation, the cremains are then placed in their storage compartment. Your cremation center may allow you to provide an urn, box, or other enclosed container that they are to use to inter your pet. If the crematorium does not accept urn or you’re still looking for the perfect resting place for your pet, the cremains are usually poured into a plastic bag. The bag is placed in a box and delivered to you.
Memorializing Your Pet
What you do with your pet’s ashes is up to you: you may want to keep them at home, make them into jewelry, or scatter them outside. You can also choose to add them to your family’s predestined memorial place.
If, for example, your family plans to be cremated and interred in a cemetery or a spreading forest, your pet can also be laid to rest there, so they can remain with their family.
If you’d like to learn more about spreading both your family’s and your beloved pet’s ashes in a memorial forest, contact Better Place Forests by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 1-888-958-7674.
Written by Brad Milne
Co-founder & COO of Better Place Forests