As a pet owner, you need to be ready to make choices for how you want to honor your beloved pet when he passes from this life and into the next. Your options include home burial, burial in a pet cemetery and cremation.
Home burials are a common and inexpensive option for disposing of the remains of a recently departed pet. You can perform a home burial by digging a hole that is between 2 and 3 feet deep and placing your pet inside of it, then refilling the hole with dirt. You can bury your pet in a biodegradable container or purchase a more traditional pet coffin.
Before you perform a home burial, check your local laws to make sure that burying your pet on your own property is legal, and see if there are any specialized laws that you have to follow. If you do not own the property you want to bury your pet on, you will also need to get permission from the owner of the property.
Cemetery burial is an option for those who do not want to bury the pet on their own property or who are unable to for various reasons. Generally speaking, this is the most expensive type of pet burial. The benefit of a pet cemetery is that the grave will always be maintained and you will not have to worry about what happens to your pet's remains if you ever leave or sell the property that you live on.
Pet cemeteries generally have specific guidelines that they require for every pet burial. Many offer burial packages similar to what are offered for human burials. These packages typically include the cemetery plot, the casket and a memorial or marker.
When a pet is cremated, his body is burned to ash at between 1,400 and 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the body has been burned down to ash, the ashes can either be disposed of by the crematorium or returned to you. Pet crematories typically offer several different types of cremation services for pets. The type of cremation you choose will affect the price of the service as well as the purity of your pet's ashes.
- Private Cremation means that your pet is the only pet being cremated at the time the procedure is being performed. The primary benefit of this type of cremation is that you can be certain the ashes that are returned to you from a private cremation are those of your pet and only your pet.
- Individual cremation occurs when your pet is cremated on an individual tray in a crematorium that is also being used to cremate several other pets at the same time. Individual cremation is generally less expensive than private cremation but your pet's remains will become mixed with the remains of the other pets that are being cremated with him when the ashes are processed.
- Communal Cremation is performed when a number of pets are the cremator alongside your pet. There is no effort made to separate the remains and ashes are not normally returned to the owner. If you do get ashes back from this procedure, the ashes you get back will contain the ashes of other pets. There is also no guarantee that the ashes you receive will contain a substantial percentage of ashes from your pet.
- Boston: Grieving Pet Owners Find Comfort at Pet Cemetery
- The Association of Private Pet Cemeteries and Crematoria: Key Questions About Pet Cremation and Pet Burial
- Hartsdale Pet Cemetery: Hartsdale Pet Cemetery FAQ's – Frequently Asked Questions
- Tulsa Pets Magazine: Legal Issues After The Loss of A Pet
- American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: What To Do When Your Pet Has Died at Home
- Cremation Resource: How Much Does Cat Cremation Cost?
- National Funeral Directors Association: Cremation FAQ
- Cremation Resource: How is Cremation Done
- Paws to Heaven: Frequently Asked Questions
Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.