Pet Cremation Services: Guide to prices and what to expect

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Pet Cremation Services

Unlike human deaths, pet death numbers are not collected by any official body and therefore we rely heavily on estimated figures from private pet insurance companies or pet crematoriums. Last year (2014) it was estimated that 1 in 2 households had a pet and that the pet population was comprised of 9 million dogs and 7.9 million cats*. And whilst we don’t have any official figures a Guardian article in 2003 estimated that around 1.5 million cats and dogs die each year and of those only 300,000 are buried in the garden, 100,000 buried in a pet cemetery, 100,000 are cremated individually and the rest are cremated as a group†.

The prices of pet cremation services vary quite significantly depending the size of your pet, where you do it, how you do it and which type of casket, if any, you choose, which is all up to you. Not all of the crematoria give price information on their websites so we contacted a number of them and here are the findings:

Burial in a Pet Cemetery between £300 to £750

Ashes Burial in a Cemetery or Crematorium £150 to 350

Individual Cremation with ashes scattered in a Remembrance Garden between £70 to £180

Individual Cremation with ashes returned between £35 to £250

Communal Cremation from £25 to £120

Burial

You can choose to bury your pet in a pet cemetery but many cemeteries, crematoria or woodland burial grounds offer an ashes burial service. If you do choose burial then the cost will vary depending upon of type of urn/casket that you use and whether you choose to mark the spot with a headstone, plaque or plant/shrub.  Some cemeteries also offer family plots where you can put two or three pets together. You can attend the burial although it is not obligatory.

A simple cardboard burial box is a cheap option ranging from £15 and should be completely biodegradable, these are often included in the price.  You can also choose from a wide range of urns or caskets, a simple small wooden casket costs from £65, a bamboo one around £85 or you can choose more ornate ones or bespoke options and often the caskets can be engraved.

You will also need to check whether there are any annual maintenance charges for the upkeep of your plot, these range from £30 to £50 a year and if you don’t keep up the payment it can mean that your pet is moved from that plot.

Obviously you can choose to bury in your own garden which is completely legal (as long as you own the property), free and, if the figures are correct, by far the most popular decision.  The only downside is if you have to leave the property it can be quite distressing to leave them behind.

Individual Cremation 

If you choose individual cremation then the cost will depend on whether the ashes are scattered in a remembrance garden, placed in a columbarium or returned to you or your vet. You can attend the cremation at some crematoria, and some also offer a chapel of rest where you can spend some time with your pet before cremation. You should also receive a certificate with your pets details confirming individual cremation.

Some crematoria and burial grounds will offer a plaque in their gardens where the ashes are scattered or on a wall of remembrance in their gardens.  If you choose to have the ashes placed in a columbarium you can have a plaque put up in the niche with the ashes.

If you are taking the ashes home you can have them returned to you in a casket or urn. A simple scatter tube is a cheap option starting in price at around from £12.50 and these are often included in the price.  You can also choose from a wide range of urns or caskets, if you are going to bury the ashes at home then a biodegradable urn is a good option as it will break down over time in the soil. If you are going to scatter the ashes in a favourite place or walk then a scatter tube is a great choice. If you want to keep them at home then most crematoria offer a range of display urns or caskets which start in price at around £35 for a small wooden casket. You can choose to bring your own casket and there are more ornate ones, urns made out of different materials such as ceramic or metal or there is a wide range of bespoke options. Caskets can often be engraved at an extra cost.

Communal Cremation

This is where your pet is cremated with other pets and then either buried or scattered by the crematorium. Some crematoria will offer a plaque in their gardens where the ashes are scattered or on a wall of remembrance in their gardens, there are additional costs for this.

If you want to have your pet picked up from either yourself or your vet all of the crematoria and burial grounds that we spoke to were very happy to do this but there were additional charges dependant on distance from the site, how quickly you wanted them to do it and if it was outside of their working hours.

The important thing to remember is to ask for a quote, make sure you know what is included in the price and whether the price quoted includes VAT.

*PFMA Census

† I’ll spare you the legal terminology here, it’s dreadful.

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