When a much-loved pet dies, it can be as painful – and overwhelming – as any other bereavement. And just like any other bereavement, it can also be a comfort to know that your pet is in good hands when it comes to arranging a cremation. So, what do you need to know to choose between the pet cremation services near you, and what can you expect?

Here we’ll cover all your frequently (and not-so-frequently) asked questions about pet cremation. How it works, how to find a good service, timings, and even some tips on what to do with your pet’s ashes afterwards. Let’s begin.

This guide will cover:

 

What do pet cremation services do?

There are different kinds of pet cremation services around – some specialise in dog and cat cremation, others cater for a wider range of animals. Most offer the following essential types of support:

  • Collecting your pet from your home, or the vet
  • Respectfully cremating your pet at their facility
  • Returning the ashes to you, or scattering them in their memorial garden

Depending on the pet crematorium you choose, you may also be able to request:

  • Visiting hours at the pet crematorium, to say goodbye
  • An individual pet cremation, not communal (more on this below)
  • A service at the pet crematorium
  • Burial of your pet’s ashes in a pet cemetery
  • An memorial book entry or web page for your pet
  • Hand delivery of the ashes
  • Your choice of ash casket or urn

When trying to decide between the different local pet cremation services, it’s a good idea to call ahead to check which of these options they offer, and whether they cost extra.

Some pet crematoria are more like pet funeral services, and will act much like a funeral home for humans, giving you a range of personalised options. Others are more like a pet disposal service: they’ll cremate your pet and scatter the ashes cheaply, without needing any input from you.

 

How long does pet cremation take?

This depends on the size of your pet. For a small animal like a rabbit, it can take as little as half an hour. Horse cremation and the cremation of larger dogs can take two to three hours.

After the cremation, the cremated remains will be left to cool and then processed into the finer fragments we think of as ashes. These are in fact fragments of bone.

 

What is an ‘individual’ pet cremation?

An individual pet cremation is when your pet is cremated by themselves: they are the only pet in the cremation chamber, and the ashes scattered or returned to you only belong to them.

The alternative is a communal pet cremation. This is usually a slightly more affordable pet cremation, but your pet will be cremated alongside others, and the ashes will mingle.

When you’re deciding where to cremate a pet, you’ll notice that some crematoria don’t mention whether the cremations are communal or not. These crematoria are usually communal, so the ashes you get back might not be from your pet alone. It’s always a good idea to call ahead and check.

Do they do communal cremations for humans? Human crematorium chambers are built with room for only one coffin. People are always cremated individually, except in rare circumstances such as when the family requests that a mother be cremated with her child. You can find out more about the cremation process in general here.

 

Does the size of my pet mean I can’t organise an animal cremation?

It’s easy enough to organise a cat or dog cremation near you, but what about larger or smaller pets?

Horses can be cremated, but not all animal cremation services offer it due to the size of their cremation chambers. Businesses that do offer equine cremation can be very basic and no-frills, so it’s important to call ahead and ask about their pet cremation process to be sure your horse will be treated with respect.

Animals as small as guinea pigs can be offered individual cremations with the ashes returned. Smaller animals, like mice, can still be cremated – and one crematorium has even cremated a tarantula – but given the size of their skeletons, it may always not be possible to get any ashes back from a small pet cremation. It’s best to ask the pet crematorium about this if having the remains is important to you.

 

How much do pet cremation services cost?

The cost of a pet cremation in the UK depends on two things:

  • The size of your pet
  • Whether it’s an individual or communal cremation.

Individual pet cremations cost between £70 and £450, while communal low cost pet cremations tend to be between £30 and £250. However, it’s worth checking what’s included in the price when comparing the options for pet cremation near you, as the different pet crematoria have very different approaches.

You can use the prices below as a rough guide to what you can expect to pay for a private pet cremation:

Pet Individual pet cremation Communal pet cremation
Guinea pig cremation £70-95 £30-45
Rabbit cremation £95-120 £50-60
Cat / small dog cremation £115-155 £60-75
Medium sized dog cremation £150-175 £70-80
Large dog cremation £170-260 £90-130
Horse cremation £450 £170-250

 

How do I find good pet cremation services near me?

Now that you know a little more about pet cremation services’ prices, how do you go about choosing the right one? Here’s a quick guide:

  1. Think about what you need to grieve properly. Would you like a service, or time with your pet at the crematorium? Or is the cremation itself enough? Do you need the ashes back, or will it be okay if they’re scattered for you? Does it matter to you if the pet cremation is individual or communal? Make a list of the things you need from a pet cremation service.
  2. Find and make a list of pet crematoria in your area. It’s easy enough to find businesses offering pet cremation in your area online these days. Your vet may have a recommendation, but bear in mind that vets often have specific crematoria they work with (usually offering communal cremation) and take a commission for referrals.
  3. Check reviews. If someone has had a bad experience with a pet cremation service, they’ll often post an online review. It takes a few seconds to check and can save you from issues later on.
  4. Call for quotes and check services. Get a quote from each of your local pet crematoria and make a note of the the services they include in that quote (aside from cremating your pet). Check these against the list you made for step 1 before making your choice.

If you would like to hold a funeral service for your pet, it’s a good idea to visit the places that offer animal cremation near you before choosing one to check out the room for the ceremony.

 

What do pet ashes look like?

If you’re feeling a little anxious about getting your pet’s ashes back, it might help to know what you can expect.

Pet ashes are actually small fragments of bone. As such, they’re usually a pale grey colour. The consistency is like grit or very fine gravel, rather than a powder.

 

What to do with your pet’s ashes

It can be hard to decide what to do with a cremated pet’s ashes

  • Scatter or bury the ashes in your pet’s favourite area in the garden
  • Keep the ashes in an urn or in your home – for example, in their usual napping spot
  • Bury the ashes in a pet cemetery, so that you can visit even if you move
  • Scatter the ashes on your dog’s favourite walk
  • Scatter the ashes into a river or lake, or by the sea
  • Keep a token amount of the ashes in a piece of jewellery
  • Commission a custom-made urn that looks like your pet

 

We hope you’ve found this guide to pet cremation useful! If you have any questions, pop them in the comment box below – we’re here to help.

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