How Much Should a Pet Cremation Really Cost?

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Our pets are family. More and more in the western world, we as pet owners are learning to incorporate our pets into our end-of-life plans, ensuring they’re well taken care of when we’re gone.

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Likewise, pet owners are becoming more conscientious about what happens to our pets when they pass away. When you’ve just lost a beloved pet, the last thing you want to worry about is the cost of cremation. It’s a good idea to inform yourself about cremation ahead of time so you’re ready when the time comes. 

As hard as it is to think about, knowing about pet cremation can help ensure you pay the right price, as well as receive the very best services. Below, we’ll help you understand the average cost of pet cremation and how much it should really cost. 

What’s the Average Cost of a Pet Cremation?

Not all pet cremation providers charge the same price. But there is an average price for pet cremation that should be close to what you pay. 

The average cost of private pet cremation is about $150. That cost applies to both cats and dogs (very large-breed dogs may cost more). Pet cremation costs vary based on the type of cremation, as well as the service provider. 

Private vs. communal cremation

Most pet owners would prefer their pet be treated like any other member of the family. When it comes to cremation, that means paying a fee for private service.

While private pet cremation costs $150, many veterinary offices also offer communal cremation for an average cost of $70. With communal cremation, you won’t receive ashes back, and your pet will be cremated alongside others. 

If you’re offered cremation by your veterinary office, make sure to specify that you want private cremation rather than communal cremation. If you can’t afford the added fee, your veterinary office may be able to set up a payment schedule. 

You can also utilize healthcare credit services--many of which offer no-interest payments for up to a year for veterinary services. Ask your veterinary office if they accept any pet-care credit services. 

Vet Office vs. pet crematorium

Another factor that can impact the cost of your pet’s cremation is the cremation service provider. If your pet passes away at the veterinarian’s office, the vet will offer cremation. The veterinarian’s office has an ongoing contract with a local pet cremation provider. 

If your pet passes away at home, on the other hand, you have the option of bringing your pet directly to the crematorium yourself. 

The veterinary office might charge a small fee for transportation to and from the crematorium, but the price should remain about the same. The main difference is that at a pet crematorium, you might be presented with more options for urns and other memorial items. 

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Other Costs to Consider Before, During, or After Cremation

A pet cremation itself can be relatively inexpensive, often costing under $200. But there are other, associated costs that you might end up paying, too. We’ll outline those below so that you can go forward well-informed. 

Cremation viewing 

Some pet crematoriums allow family members to observe their pets undergoing the cremation process. 

While this would be too painful for many pet owners, some would prefer to see how the crematorium treats their pet’s remains. Observing your pet’s cremation may help ensure they’re given a respectful cremation service, but it’s not always offered. 

Pet cremation providers who do offer viewing will usually charge more for cremation. That’s because they must put other work aside for the time it takes to cremate your pet. They’ll likely stop other cremation processes, taking place in other cremators, for the time being as well.

An urn or cremation jewelry

If you want to keep your pet’s cremains at home or bury them, you’ll need an urn or storage container. 

A standard pet urn usually costs around $50. You can opt for something more elaborate or personalized, which will raise the price. If you're interested in a special urn for your pet, consider a company like Foreverence, which specializes in unique, customized urns.

In addition to an urn, you might choose to purchase cremation jewelry containing your pet’s cremains. Cremation jewelry comes in two types: jewelry that acts as a tiny wearable urn, like this urn pendant necklace, and jewelry that is actually made of the ashes themselves, like a cremation diamond

The price of the wearable-urn type of cremation jewelry is typically much lower than the cremation-jewel type. 

If you're looking for something more solid and tangible, companies like Parting Stone create beautiful, handheld cremation stones to help someone grieving keep their loved one close by.

Pet burial

You might choose to bury your pet’s cremains. You can typically bury the ashes, inside an urn, in your own yard if you own your home. Otherwise, you can purchase a plot at a local pet cemetery. The cost of a pet cemetery plot averages around $300 to $500. 

If you bury your pet’s cremains, either at home or in a cemetery, you’ll also want to invest in a durable gravestone to mark your pet’s final resting place. Stones vary widely in cost based on the material, shape, size, and engraving. 

An upright headstone can cost well over $300, while a simpler gravestone typically costs $100 or less. You can find tasteful pet grave markers for as little as $20.

Flower paper or burial tree 

If you bury your pet’s cremains or scatter his or her ashes at home, you may consider flower paper or planting a tree. Many veterinarians’ offices and pet crematoriums offer flower paper as an addition to cremation service. Flower paper usually costs only a few dollars. 

If you’d like to plant a tree in your yard instead, you’ll typically need to purchase a sapling from a local nursery. A tree sapling is much more costly than simple flower paper, but it will also serve as a more durable memorial to your beloved pet. 

When you plant the flower paper or tree, simply mix some or all of your pet’s ashes with the soil. Water the paper or the new tree, and tend it accordingly as it grows. 

Memorial or funeral

Many pet owners want to honor their deceased pets’ lives, just as they would any other family member. A pet funeral or memorial is the perfect way to do so. This can even be done virtually, with a platform like GatheringUs.

If you’re scattering your pet’s ashes, bringing them to sea with a biodegradable urn, or planting them along with a tree or flowers, the memorial can center around that event.

Your pet’s funeral can include just your close family, or you may invite over friends and other loved ones. Consider inviting other pets who often played with yours. Pets may not understand the meaning of a funeral or memorial, but they’ll appreciate some extra attention after losing one of their beloved playmates. You can even provide some treats and toys as memorial service favors.

A memorial can be simple or more elaborate, which means they range in price. If you serve food and drinks at your pet’s funeral, be prepared to spend more. 

Is Pet Cremation Expensive? 

Pet cremation is generally very affordable. However, it’s important to keep in mind that there are different types of pet cremation. As mentioned above, there is private cremation and communal cremation. Although private is more expensive, it’s well worth the investment if you want to receive your pet’s ashes back.

With any type of pet cremation, a crematory worker will be handling your pet’s remains. It’s important to make sure you’re comfortable with the crematory, and that they’re highly reputable. If your pet passes away at the vet’s office, you can ask as many questions as you’d like about the cremation process. Make sure you ask for private cremation and understand exactly how your cherished pet’s remains will be treated. 

Looking to learn more about pet burials? Read our guides on how to plan a pet's funeral service.


Sources 

  1. Pierce, Jessica. “Pet Cremation.” Psychology Today. 11 January 2012. www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/all-dogs-go-heaven/201201/pet-cremation

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