Should You Have Your Pet Buried or Cremated?

Pet burial and cremationDeciding whether pet burial or cremation is the best route depends on what’s best for you, your family, and your pet.

There are many things to consider including what resources you have access to, local regulations in your area, and what you are comfortable with. Below are some things to keep in mind when you are considering pet burial or cremation.

Burying your Pet:

  • Pet cemeteries can offer a comforting, sacred place to visit your pet’s remains.
  • Costs can range widely depending on the type of casket and degree of personalization.
  • Many areas do not permit home burial so check your local regulations.
  • Your pet must be buried deep enough to prevent wildlife from disturbing the grave.
  • If you bury at home you may not be able to take your pet with you if you move.

Having your Pet Cremated:

  • Cremation can be an economical alternative to burial.
  • Having your pet cremated doesn’t mean you can’t have a memorial.
  • There are many private pet crematories. Your veterinarian may offer the option of taking care of pet remains.
  • You can choose whether or not to have cremains returned to you.
  • There many unique and beautiful options available for storing pet remains and creating a lasting memorial.

Pet Cemeteries

Pet cemeteries are gaining popularity as a permanent resting place when home burial is not an option. Often, pet cemeteries offer full pet burial and cremation services, including facilities for holding a memorial service. You may also purchase a plot, casket, and grave marker, just as you would for a “two-legged” loved one. Most pet cemeteries can help transport your pet’s body from the place of its passing and many offer in-home veterinary services if you’ve decided to euthanize your pet. Full-service pet cemeteries also provide catering services for memorials for an additional fee.

When considering a pet cemetery, it is wise to do some research beforehand to ensure that you are engaging a service that operates ethically and within the local laws. The cemetery should be on “dedicated land” so that it is permanently zoned as a pet cemetery regardless of who owns it. Most veterinarians can provide you with information on local pet cemeteries.

Pet Cremation

Despite the growth of pet cemeteries, cremation is still the first choice for final disposition of pets. Many people choose to have their veterinarian make cremation arrangements for them but you can contact a pet cremation facility directly. An individual cremation assures that your pet’s ashes are not mixed with other animals and the remains can be returned to you or disposed of according to your wishes. It’s important to remember that since most of the body is made of water, the volume of ashes you receive is relatively small. Like a communal burial, a group cremation processes multiple pets. Given the mix of remains, this service does not normally offer to return ashes to pet owners. Many pet crematoriums will allow you to witness the cremation without additional fees.

The process of cremation is relatively straightforward. If you would like to learn more about how the process takes place we recommend that you visit our page on the cremation process. While this page is not written specifically with pets in mind, the process is essentially the same as it is for humans.

Pet Burial and Cremation: Other Options

Veterinarian Disposal of Pet Remains

Most veterinarians are equipped to dispose of pet remains. While this is a convenient option, many people find that the practice can make saying good-bye abrupt, which can inhibit healing from grief. Often just the process of making plans for pet burial and cremation can start the healing process. When your vet takes care of disposal you are not involved with any of the details.

Donating Your Pet’s Body to Science

It is possible to donate your pet’s body to science. Some Humane Society branches offer this service as do various universities and veterinary colleges. The programs are similar to those for the donation of human bodies with students benefiting from research performed on deceased pets. The animals are most often used for the study of anatomy. After the research is complete the animal is cremated.

To take part in a donation program, contact schools in your area. They can help you with the paperwork and give you the details on what you need to do when the time comes. Be sure to share your plan with your vet and bring relevant paperwork with you when you bring your pet for his or her final appointment. Typically, the donor will need to contact the school so that they can make arrangements to receive the animal.

Remember, your unique circumstances will determine what is right for you and your family when it comes to pet burial and cremation. There are no right or wrong answers, only what is right for you and your pet.

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