Not all pet crematoriums are the same or offer the same service, they are privately owned and are often run by families with a keen interest in animals. Some offer other pet services such as boarding kennels or grooming services. We’ve outlined the different possible options here so that you can make sure you understand exactly what you are committing to but services and prices do vary so it is always best to check before making a decision about your beloved pet.
The main types of pet cremation are:
- Individual Cremation with ashes scattered in a Remembrance Garden
- Individual Cremation with with ashes buried in a Remembrance Garden
- Individual Cremation with ashes kept in a Columbarium
- Individual Cremation with ashes returned to you or your vet.
- Communal/Companion Cremation
Individual Cremation : If you choose an individual cremation then your pet will be placed alone in the cremation chamber and then all the ashes will be collected carefully and handled individually. You can sometimes attend the cremation although it is not obligatory. Some also offer a chapel of rest where you can spend some time with your pet before cremation.
You should also receive a cremation certificate for your pets ashes which will have their name on it and guarantees that your pet has been cremated individually and that the ashes returned to you are your pets ashes.
Scattering Ashes in a Garden of Remembrance: Some crematoria have a remembrance garden where you can scatter the ashes, they often offer to put a plaque or plant a tree/shrub/plant to mark the spot at an additional charge. This means that you can go back to that spot and visit your pet, you might need to make an appointment or you may need to check visiting hours before turning up although some do allow visits whenever you wish.
Burying Ashes in a Garden of Remembrance: Some crematoria have a remembrance garden where you can bury the ashes in either an individual plot or group memorial plot, some crematoria also offer family plots where you can put two or three pets together. You can attend the burial although it is not obligatory.
You can have a plaque, headstone or plant a tree/shrub/plant to mark the plot for an additional charge. This means that you can go back to that spot and visit your pet, you might need to make an appointment or you may need to check visiting hours before turning up although some do allow visits whenever you wish.
You can choose to bury the ashes directly in the ground or in a biodegradable urn or casket, they vary in terms of time taken to biodegrade and the materials used, do have a look at our choosing an urn page for more detailed information.
You might want to check whether there are any annual maintenance charges for the upkeep of your plot/plaque/plant as if you don’t keep up the payment it can mean that your pet is moved from that plot.
Keeping Ashes in a Columbarium: Columbariums are an ancient way of storing ashes that dates back to Roman times. It is basically a storage wall that has spaces where you can store a set of ashes. It is not a cheap option but they are becoming more popular and some of the options are really very beautiful including inside historic churches or ancient long barrows.
Bringing the Ashes Home: If you decide to bring your pets ashes home the crematorium will usually put them in an appropriately sized scatter tube for you to take home or they will deliver to your house or your vet. A scattering tube will keep the ashes secure until you are ready to either scatter them or do something else, remember to keep the tube somewhere dry as they are not waterproof.
Communal or Companion 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.