It has been a while since I last wrote about Pet Cremation and funerals and a lot has changed in that time. My ginger, well mainly grey companion who laid at my feet whilst I tapped away at the keys is no longer with us, so unfortunately I know from firsthand experience exactly how painful losing a pet can be.
Even though I had researched and written about pet cremation and burials, the whole process was a bit of a blur. All I knew was that he was to be cremated and the plan was to scatter his ashes on our favourite beach. However the reality is somewhat different. Instead of being on the beach, Hugo is still at home with us, in one of those dog caskets as I can’t bear the thought of him being on a beach on his own and not with us!
Is that morbid? I may have thought so once upon a time but now, even though they are just dog ashes it still feels as though there is a part of him here with us. But it has made me realise the true impact the loss of a family pet can have on you which explains why people are spending far more money these days on Pet Funerals in general, be it a dog cremation or a cat memorial; in short pet funerals are now big business.
The one thing I did remember and ask my vet for in the blur of all the upset was to ensure that the pet cremation services they used offered individual pet cremation. It is sad to say that this is often not the case. Before you let your vet arrange the pet cremation services for you, it is worth checking what these entail. Some vets for example will arrange pet cremation on mass; the pets are picked up from the vets on a weekly basis along with other waste materials and disposed of. This obviously would not be suitable if you want your cat or dog ashes returning to scatter, bury or keep.
It’s also worth mentioning that the vet does charge extra for arranging the pet cremation so it may be cheaper if you arrange this yourself.
There are a wide range of pet cremation services throughout the UK now, some of which are registered with the Association of Private Pet Cemeteries and Crematoria (APPCC) so you can be sure the service your pet receives is in line with their code of conduct which includes the dignified handling of your pet.
These days the options available for pet funeral services are very similar to ours. You can choose to have your pet cremated or buried. You can say whether you prefer to have the ashes scattered at the crematorium in a memorial garden or a woodland setting, or you can opt for a more traditional burial.
Most Pet Crematoriums and Cemeteries offer onsite facilities of some form or other. Pet Crematoriums will either give you the ashes back in one of their pet caskets, which will usually be engraved with your pets name; or offer to scatter the ashes in one of their pet memorial gardens or a more formal grave setting with a headstone memorial.
A Pet Cemetery will often also offer the more traditional setting where the pet is buried in a coffin with some form of memorial marker, or woodland burial sites are also available where the pet will be laid to rest in a more natural environment. Of course in this instance any pet coffin used would need to be biodegradable, but your chosen pet cemetery should be able to advise you on that.
Pet Burial at home
When a pet dies by law it is allowed to be cremated or buried in accordance with government waste regulations, which basically means they must be buried within a licensed waste site. Don’t worry, this isn’t as bad as it sounds. Pet Cemeteries must be licensed under the regulations as landfill sites but they can also still operate as proper pet cemeteries.
The exception to all of this is that a pet is also allowed to be buried in the property it lived, therefore you are allowed to arrange pet burials in your garden, as long as they are not considered hazardous and a danger to health. In this instance the vet wouldn’t allow you to take your pet home.
If you wish to bury your pet in a coffin, many of the pet cemeteries or crematoriums can arrange this for you; you just need to ensure that the grave has two feet of earth on top of it if your soil is heavy, or three feet if it’s light.
Is your pet insured?
Whilst pet insurance won't help with the loss of your pet or any of the costs if they have died of natural causes, it could give you peace of mind knowing that should your pet become ill that the cost will be covered and with some plans help with the cremation or burial costs.