What is pet cremation?
What is pet cremation is a totally normal question to ask. We often find it difficult to talk about loss in many cultures. It can lead us to feeling confused and not knowing what to do or where to go for help. This guide is here to help. What is the cremation process? What things do you need to be aware of. And how to make the best choice for your pet, you, and your family.
How does pet cremation work?
The pet process is almost the same as a human cremation. You or your vet will need to take your pet to a pet crematorium. The staff will remove any metal items, such as the buckle in their collar. They will then and place your pet in a cremation chamber. This chamber will be heated to 760 °C – 982°C.
How long does it take?
It takes around 1 to 2 hours, depending on the size of your pet, to turn them into ashes. As soon as it is cool enough staff will remove them from the chamber. They will place the ashes in either a scatter tube, box or plastic urn so that you, or your vet, can collect it.
How much ashes will I receive?
The amount of ashes will depend on the size of your pet. A rough guide is around 3.5% of their weight before being cremated. You can see our guide for dog breeds here. The ashes are usually grey or white in colour and can be fine or coarse grains depending on which pet crematorium that you choose.
Should I choose individual or communal/companion cremation?
It is important to understand the differences between the two types of cremation that the pet crematorium, or your vet, will offer you. Individual cremation is like human cremation, only one body in the chamber at a time. The cost is higher as the care and length of time is greater. A communal or companion cremation is when several pets are placed in the chamber together. This is the lowest price option.
There are lots of other options available and it is important that you ask your vet or the crematorium for the service that you want. You can see our in-depth guide to all the different services here.
Your choice may depend on what you want to do with your pets ashes. If you want to scatter a token amount somewhere then a communal cremation may be a good option. It will be lower in price and at least some of your pet’s ashes should be be returned to you. If you only want your own pet’s ashes then you should opt for an individual cremation. You can check with your vet and/or the pet crematorium about their quality assurances procedures and whether they are a registered member of the Association of Private Pet Cemeteries & Crematoria.
How much does it cost on average?
The average cost in the UK for a communal cremation is around £40 to £75. This depends on which vet you use or pet crematorium you choose. The price is often included in an end of life care package with your vet. Prices for an individual cremation start at around £65 for a small pet such as a rat or lizard, and rise to several hundred pounds for larger pets and for additional services such as attended cremation, type of casket and /or burial at the garden of remembrance. Again you can see our complete guide to the different types here.
Although price can be a good indicator of the level of service it is not a guarantee. You should always ask your vet or the crematorium exactly what the service involves. It is a good idea to visit before you decide and check that you are happy that it will work for you and your pet.
I am currently researching pet crematoria and will be publishing my results over the next few months so do check back regularly or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a specific enquiry. I am always happy to help if I can.