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Deciding how to handle the remains of your pet is not easy. It’s highly personal and may depend upon where you live, how much you can afford to pay and what your family members want to do. There are two basic choices for disposition of a pet: cremation and burial. However, there is not one right answer, so it is best to consider both options before deciding how you want to memorialize your beloved pet.
The process of pet cremation is basically the same for pets as it is for humans. Some veterinarians can handle the basic cremation of your pet—but this approach will not allow you to properly memorialize the experience. Instead, there are qualified pet cremation providers who can create a special experience for you and your family members.
In most cases, pet cremation is the more affordable option. A burial in a pet cemetery requires payment for a plot, a casket and any preparation of your pet’s remains. In comparison, the cost to cremate your pet is much more economical, even when purchasing an urn to contain the ashes.
While pet crematoriums differ in their offerings, there are a few basic cremation services from which to choose: private, semi-private or communal.
Private cremation is the costliest, as it is only your pet in the cremation chamber. With this option, you may be able to be present. Afterwards, you are given your pet’s ashes and you can do with them as you please. Many people scatter their pets’ ashes in places that they loved, while others keep them in beautiful urns to display in the home.
Semi-private cremation is available at some facilities. Multiple pets may be cremated at a time, but in partitioned areas. Your pet’s ashes are kept separate as much as possible, but it is conceivable that the included animal’s ashes may mingle together. Semi-private cremation is slightly less expensive than private cremation, but it still assures that you get your pet’s remains.
Communal cremation is the least-expensive option and is the process in which multiple pets are cremated together. The owners do not get the ashes back and instead, the facility disposes of them. If you feel strongly about having your pet’s ashes, you may not want to choose this option. However, if you want someone else to handle disposing of your pet’s remains and you can’t afford a private cremation, it is a viable choice.
This is often considered the more traditional option and provides the choice to visit a physical burial site. The cost of a pet burial depends on whether your city allows the burial of pets on your property or whether you have to purchase a plot in a cemetery. It is important to find out your area’s regulations before laying your pet to rest in your backyard. There are other options for burial if you find that you cannot bury your pet at home.
Pet cemeteries are becoming increasingly popular, especially in cities. Many of these facilities offer the option to hold a memorial service where you can look back on the good memories you shared with your pet. You may be able to purchase caskets, plots and markers from these facilities and you’ll end up with a place to visit when you want to remember and honor your pet’s life.
Talk through the options with your family before choosing how you want to say goodbye to your late pet. Whether you decide to cremate or bury your pet, you will be giving him or her a proper send-off.