Losing a beloved furry friend is difficult. Knowing what to do afterward in terms of the dog funeral (if you choose to have one) and the disposal of the body is even more of a challenge. How do you ensure your pet is put to rest properly? While many people choose to bury their dogs, it’s also not uncommon to have a pet cremation.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- How Does a Dog Cremation Work?
- How Much Does a Dog Cremation Usually Cost?
- Are There Any Additional Fees or Costs Associated With Dog Cremation?
- How Do You Find a Pet Crematorium Near You?
- How Do You Store, Scatter, or Lay to Rest a Dog’s Cremains?
A pet cremation, believe it or not, is very similar to human cremation. This is a low-cost option for disposing of your pet’s body, and you keep the ashes, known as cremains, which you might wish to keep in an urn or scatter.
Your veterinarian is a great resource for learning if this is the right option for you, but this guide will also walk you through the dog cremation process and cost.
How Does a Dog Cremation Work?
While nobody wants to think about losing their furry friend, it’s important to know what to do when your dog dies. Cremation is a straightforward process that allows you to put your dog’s to rest without the high cost of a burial. Let’s discuss how dog cremations work, so you know what to expect.
The cremation process
How does a pet cremation work? As mentioned earlier, it’s very similar to human cremation. In fact, you might use the same crematorium as you would if a family member died. The process begins with you or your vet bringing the pet’s body to a crematorium or funeral home.
A quick online search is all you need to find a pet cremation place near you, but your vet can also provide recommendations.
From there, the body goes into an oven-type space. The temperature rises to up to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit, and this breaks down the animal’s body over a few hours. All that remains is ash and bone fragments. Any medical or metal items are taken from the remains, and everything else gets ground into a fine dust.
Different types of cremation
A lot of people don’t realize that there are different types of cremation. There are three main types available, and there’s no “right” choice. These usually vary based on cost, so choose the option that fits your budget and needs.
- Private - A private cremation is when your pet is cremated on its own. If you want to keep your pet’s ashes and you don’t want them mixed with other animals, this is the best option. It’s also the most expensive since it’s the biggest use of crematory resources.
- Communal - A communal cremation is the most common. Multiple animals are often cremated at once, and their ashes mix together. If you don’t plan to keep your pet’s ashes or cost is a concern, this is a good choice.
- Partitioned - Finally, partitioned cremations are a mix of the two above. While your pet won’t be cremated on their own, there is an effort to space out the animals so the pet has their own ashes.
How Much Does a Dog Cremation Usually Cost?
Most people choose a dog cremation over a burial since it typically costs less. The average cremation cost for a pet is between $50 and $150. The overall price depends on your market, the size of your pet, and what type of cremation you choose.
Another thing to consider is whether or not you’ll add any additional services. You might decide to host a memorial, ceremony, or another remembrance event. These are all increasingly common, but they come at a cost. You’ll also need to consider the cost of an urn if you choose to store your pet’s remains.
How do you learn more about what prices are available near you? The best way is to shop around. Crematoriums and funeral homes must give quotes over the phone. Your pet can recommend several options, and you should contact each for a price estimate. It’s normal and expected to shop around a bit for something that fits your budget.
Are There Any Additional Fees or Costs Associated With Dog Cremation?
Losing a pet is hard enough, but dealing with the administration and fees afterwards adds to this heavy burden. It’s important to familiarize yourself with any added cost so you’re prepared mentally and financially. While the most well-known fee is for a pet cremation ($50-$150), this isn’t the only cost. Other fees to think about are:
- Medical care: If your pet needs any medical care at the end of their life, this adds to their final expenses. The cost of dog euthanasia, for example, starts at $50 and goes up to $100 depending on the size of your dog.
- Urn: Another important cost is the urn, a container used to hold your pet’s ashes. Urns aren’t as expensive as caskets, and dog urns are typically cheaper. They start at $20 and go upwards from there depending on the size and material.
- Memorial: Some families find comfort hosting a small memorial service for their beloved pet. While optional, this often costs $100 or more.
- Remembrance products: Purchasing keepsakes that remind you of your pet can be part of the grieving process. These products vary from collar holders to photo albums, and they start at just $10.
- Headstone: If you choose to have your dog’s urn or cremated remains buried, you will need to pay for a headstone or grave market. These start at $50 depending on the size, engraving, and material.
- Scattering tube: Lastly, it’s common for families to honor their pet by scattering their ashes. A scattering tube is a secure way to hold these ashes until you’re ready to hold a scattering ceremony. It costs around $20 or more.
While many of the fees above are optional, they are a common part of a pet’s legacy. From paying outstanding medical balances to purchasing a memorial marker, consider what fees apply to your specific situation.
How Do You Find a Pet Crematorium Near You?
Because pet cremation isn’t something most people think about often, it’s normal not to know where to begin. Luckily, it’s a straightforward process. Follow these steps below to determine your next steps.
Do all vets offer cremation?
First, there’s a common misconception that vet offices offer cremation on-site. This isn’t practical, and it’s very rare. Most of the time, vets coordinate with local funeral homes and crematoriums to have the bodies of pets transferred with care.
At these qualified centers, pets are cremated using the same chambers and tools as humans. That being said, your vet is still a great resource. To know how to find a pet crematorium near you, read through the clear steps below.
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1. Contact your vet
Before you do anything else, contact your pet’s vet. If your dog passed at home, let your vet know what happened. Inform the vet that you’re interested in a cremation, and you’d like their guidance. Even if your pet didn’t die under their care, they can still offer services.
If your pet did pass while under your vet’s care, they will begin working with you to coordinate their cremation or burial. Your vet will talk to you about different options, and you can work with them directly.
2. Ask for a recommendation
Many local crematoriums offer pet cremations. However, this might not always be clear on their website. While you can certainly call specific crematoriums and ask, it’s much easier to go through your vet. When you call your vet, ask them about which local crematorium they recommend.
In most cases, the vet will handle this process for you. They might request you bring the deceased pet to them, because they typically coordinate the transportation and care of deceased pets themselves.
3. Explore pricing options
Once you’ve received your recommendations, either decide on the right fit or do your own research. You can ask directly about pricing, and this is typically very black-and-white. When you determine what’s right for you, follow your vet or the crematorium’s next steps.
4. Complete the proper paperwork and follow up
Last but not least, complete any paperwork through your vet or the crematorium. This is typically a quick process. There are not as many steps as there are in a human cremation, so you should be finished quickly.
Once the pet is taken by the vet or crematorium, they will update you about when to return for the cremated remains. This can take anywhere from a day to a week, depending on the crematorium’s timeline. Once you receive your pet’s ashes, you can choose how you’d like to honor their memory.
How Do You Store, Scatter, or Lay to Rest a Dog’s Cremains?
After the cremation, you have the option to take your pet’s ashes with you. Many people store the ashes as a way to remember their dog. Others use them in a ceremony or service. Here are some ideas for what to do with your pet’s remains to honor their memory.
Cremation or memorial jewelry
Memorial and cremation jewelry allows you to keep with your dog close. Some cremation jewelry, such as urn rings and necklaces, let you put your pet's ashes into a small vial or chamber that's attached to a chain, ring, or another piece of jewelry.
Some people opt to put the ashes in urn jewelry or create a memorial diamond out of their pet's ashes. For example, companies like Eterneva allow you to send in your dog's cremated remains and choose the color and cut of the diamond. From there, you can set the diamond on an existing necklace or new necklace, ring, earring, or bracelet.
You can also solidify your loved one's cremains into 40 to 60 cremation stones, which you can divvy up however you'd like, with Parting Stone.
Dog cremation urns
The most common option is to place the ashes in an urn. There are a number of pet urns available, and you can even make one yourself. An urn is a great reminder of your pet’s legacy and life. It might be a focal point of a dog’s funeral or a dog eulogy reading, or it’s just a nice way to feel close to your pet.
Many people store their pet’s ashes with other mementos. They might keep them next to Fido’s collar, leash, or favorite toy. Either way, this is a touching tribute to a beloved dog.
Scatter the ashes
Another option is to scatter the ashes. If your dog loved a particular place, scattering their ashes there is a way to bring yourself some peace after their passing. It’s common to spread ashes in a forest, on the beach, or any other place that has sentimental value.
However, before you spread your pet’s ashes, be sure to check local rules. Some locations, especially private property, don’t allow the scattering of ashes. Consider the places that meant the most to your pet. This might make the perfect final resting place for their memory.
Bury the ashes
You might also choose to bury the ashes. This could be within a dog cemetery, your dog’s favorite place, or even your own property. However, check local laws before burying any ashes. There are often laws about where remains are allowed to be buried, even if they’re cremated remains.
By burying the ashes, you might have the option of placing a marker or headstone on the grave. This gives you and your family a place to return to and feel at peace with your deceased pet. Whether you create a small stone with the dog’s name or a full-size headstone, this is a great way to honor your pet and feel close to their spirit.
Don’t keep the ashes
Finally, you don’t need to keep the ashes after the cremation. The crematorium likely asks whether or not you plan to keep them, and it’s perfectly acceptable to say no. There are other ways to cherish your pet’s life without keeping the ashes. For instance, many people keep their pet’s collar or favorite toy. These are also great sentimental reminders.
If you’re not comfortable keeping the ashes or disposing of them yourself, the crematorium has the ability to do this for you. Many scatter the ashes at pet cemeteries or other outdoor places.
Dog Cremation Alternatives
If you’re not sure whether cremation is right for your pet, there are other options. Many people give a lot of thought to this process, and it’s okay to choose something that feels right to you. Here are other common options that are likely available in your area:
- Burial - Burying a pet is a way to feel closer to their memory since their body rests within a traditional graveyard or other outdoor space. In many places, you can even bury the dog on your own property. A pet cemetery typically charges a fee for the plot, but this allows you to have a headstone or other marker.
- Taxidermy - Though less common, taxidermy is an option to keep your beloved dog close to you. Taxidermy is a way of preserving your pet to keep it in your home for years to come. To learn more about this, talk to a taxidermy specialist near you.
- Ask your veterinarian - Finally, if you’re not sure what steps to take and would rather someone else handle it for you, the vet can likely do this. The vet is familiar with arranging the disposal of the body, and they are qualified to handle these steps on your behalf if you find yourself not knowing what to do after the death of your dog. If your pet passes away under the vet’s care, they typically handle these things for you as well.
Laying Your Pet to Rest
It’s never easy to say goodbye to a beloved pet. Dogs truly are man’s best friend. They’re by our sides when we need them most, and grieving their death takes time and patience. If your pet passes away, know what steps to take next.
Cremation is one of the most common ways to dispose of your pet’s body respectfully and quickly. It’s also budget-friendly, allowing you to focus on overcoming your feelings of sorrow and pain. Cremation gives you several options for peacefully saying goodbye to your furry friend. From keeping the remains close in an urn to scattering them in your pet’s favorite place, choosing cremation is a great option if you find yourself in this difficult situation.