Often when our pets pass, we think about burying them in our own yard, or at a local pet cemetery (if one exists in your area). However, these options are not always practical. If you’re in a climate with cold winters, the ground may be frozen and you may have to wait weeks or even months for the ground to thaw out enough to dig a gravesite.
Also, if you choose burial and don’t bury a pet far enough down into the ground, there’s a risk of having other animals attempt to dig up the remains, which can be traumatizing for you and your family.
If there’s a nearby pet cemetery to where you live, you can certainly go that route. However, if you prefer to have a memorial that is unique and special for your pet, cremation may be a good choice for you. And you wouldn’t be alone – over 90% of pets are cremated.
The availability of pet crematoriums and the services they offer often depend on where you live. Many areas of the country have local pet crematoriums that offer both direct services to the public and also contract with veterinarian clinics.
If you live in a rural area, it’s possible that the crematorium takes care of both humans and pets. However, even if they do this, most state laws require that they have two separate cremation chambers – one for people and the other for pets. Do a quick internet search or check with your veterinarian to find a reputable pet crematorium in your area.
There are two main ways families deliver their pet to a crematorium. The most common is through your local veterinarian. Most vet offices have frequent pickups from the local crematorium and will store your pet in refrigeration until that occurs.
Another option is to take your pet directly to the crematorium yourself. This is becoming more and more common and allows you to get comfortable with the crematorium staff and the process. It also gives you the chance to view the urns and other memorial options offered by the crematorium.
There are two main types of cremations performed for pets – communal and private. A communal pet cremation is the most cost effective cremation and involves having your pet placed in the cremation chamber with other animals. Since there are multiple animals being cremated at the same time, you’re not able to get just your pet ashes back, however many crematoriums will offer the option to get a portion of the overall ashes containing your pet and others.
With a private cremation, your pet is cremated by itself and you are able to get only their ashes back. This is a more expensive option than communal cremation, however, is becoming a more common choice among families looking to do a memorial with their pet’s ashes.
Certain pet crematoriums also offer partitioned cremations. With this, your pet is cremated with another pet or pets, however, the areas are partitioned off so you only get your pet’s ashes back. Because more than one pet is being cremated at the same time, this can be a less expensive option than a private cremation but more than communal pet cremation.
There are virtually endless pet urns and memorial options available to you. What you decide to do with your pet’s ashes and their memorial is up to you and there is no right or wrong answer. You may want to keep them in an urn at home, have a portion or all of their ashes made into jewelry, or scatter the ashes outside at one or more special places to your or your pet.
Below we highlight some of the more popular pet memorial options: