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Is Pet Cremation the Right Option for You?

Author Mark Greer

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Is Pet Cremation the Right Option for You?

Because our pets are members of our families, pet loss is a tragic event. Many pet owners find themselves unprepared when their pet ages or becomes ill. If you are in one of these situations, or if you've recently suffered the sudden loss of your pet, you may be wondering if pet cremation is the right option for you. Allow me to answer several frequently asked questions regarding pet cremation so you can make a confident choice in the matter.

Why Should I Choose Pet Cremation?

When your pet is cremated, his/her remains are returned so that you may place them in a pet urn. This allows you the ability of keeping your pet close should you and your family relocate. It also offers the flexibility of burying some ashes or scattering some ashes in your yard or your pet's favorite place while keeping the rest in a pet urn.

Is Cremation Just for Small Pets?

No. Cremation is available for pets of every size, from birds to horses.

How Do I Locate A Pet Crematory?

Your veterinarian can usually recommend a crematory or you may find one in your local telephone directory.

What Does the Process of Pet Cremation Involve?

Cremation is performed using a special furnace called a cremation chamber. The process requires extreme heat (usually 1500 – 1600 degrees Fahrenheit) along with evaporation in the chamber to reduce the body to its basic elements, which are referred to as cremated remains or cremains. Also commonly called ashes, the cremains are in fact bone fragments, which are reduced further in size until they resemble a sand-like substance.

Are There Different Types of Cremation?

Yes, and because there are different types, you'll want to confirm your preference with your vet or crematory. You'll need to consider which one of the following methods best aligns with your wishes.

Private Cremation – A pet is placed in the chamber alone, with no other pets. Upon completion of the cremation, the pet’s cremains are removed from the chamber, processed and returned to the owners for transferring to the pet urn of their choice.

Viewing Cremation - The owner, family and/or friends are permitted to be present in a viewing room during the cremation. This option is not available at all crematories so you'll want to confirm availability prior to making arrangements if this is your preferred method.

Individual Cremation – Pets share space in the cremation chamber with other pets. Each pet is separated from the others in the chamber so that their cremains can be returned to the proper owners.

Communal (Mass) Cremation – Multiple pets are cremated together. This option does not allow for separate cremains. The pets' ashes are not returned to the owner. It is common practice for these cremains to be disposed of commercially.

How Can I Be Sure I'll Get My Pet's Cremains?

Your veterinarian can supply the contact information for crematories he/she has a relationship with. Using a reputable crematory can assure you and your pet are both treated with respect.

How Do I Transfer the Ashes To A Permanent Pet Urn?

Your pet's cremains will usually arrive in a temporary urn sealed in a plastic bag. The ashes are bagged to prevent accidental loss should the pet urn be dropped or damaged. The bag also helps to prevent damage from moisture. It is preferable to transfer the entire plastic bag of cremains into the permanent pet urn.

If you find it uncomfortable to place the ashes into the permanent urn, family members, friends, or your veterinarian can likely provide the support you need by helping to complete the transfer for you. Most permanent pet urns are not complicated to open having a simple panel with just a few screws.

While pet loss is always a difficult experience, knowing your pet will remain close to you can be enormously reassuring. By understanding the various aspects of pet cremation, you will be prepared to make a choice that will bring you comfort and peace.

Mark Greer is President of Angel Ashes, offering unique pet urns that provide a lasting tribute for your cherished friend. If you're considering pet cremation, visit us at Our selection includes tasteful wood urns, our signature angel urns and others.