Cremation Options for Your Pet

When a beloved pet passes away, pet owners face a number of decisions. Pet cremation is a traditional option for the disposal of a pet's remains; this choice also allows you to keep your pet's ashes in a memorial or to scatter your pet's ashes in a favorite location.

Choosing Pet Cremation

Some pet owners would like to bury their pet at home, but this can prove difficult due to local health department regulations, and in the event of a move, the pet's remains are left behind. Pet cemeteries provide a suitable resting place but can be expensive. Thus, pet cremation services are selected by a growing number of pet owners as the best choice for the disposal of their beloved companion.

Pet Cremation Considerations

There are several options from which to choose when planning an animal cremation:

  • Private cremation, in which only your pet is placed in the cremation chamber
  • Viewing cremation, a private cremation where family and friends are in a viewing room during the cremation
  • Individual cremation, in which your pet shares the cremation chamber with other pets, but is kept separate so you receive only your pet's remains
  • Communal cremation, in which your pet is cremated with other pets but not kept separate, and remains are usually not returned to the owner

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The costs associated with animal cremation vary according to the type of cremation service selected and the weight of the pet. As an example, the cost of dog cremation would be higher for a Great Dane than for a chihuahua, and a private cremation would be more expensive than a communal one.

Pet Urns and Boxes

After the cremation (with the exception of communal cremation), the pet's ashes are returned to the owner, usually in a plastic bag placed in a temporary pet urn or box. Many pet owners choose to memorialize their beloved pet in special pet cremation urns or decorative wooden boxes. These come in a variety of options and can be purchased from the crematorium, a pet supply store or an online vendor.

Often, pet urns and boxes are designed to not only store the pet's remains, but also act as a memorial to the pet. For example, some dog cremation urns are shaped in a statue of a dog, or a dog cremation box might have a slot on the cover for the dog's photo. A more recent development in pet memorials is cremation jewelry, in which some of the ashes are compressed into a stone and set in a necklace, ring, bracelet or pair of earrings. This allows pet owners to carry a small part of their beloved pets with them whenever they want.