How Much Does Pet Cremation Cost

gray urn

Losing a pet is akin to losing a family member, so it is only natural to want to take good care of your pet after it passes. There are many options available to memorialize your pet, and it can be challenging to choose while suffering from agonizing grief. It is essential to take care of business, too, like wondering how much does pet cremation cost. 

Unfortunately, once a pet passes away, you do not have much time to decide what to do with your pet’s body. Many families choose cremation, but there are other options available. None of the options are easy choices because it hurts to say goodbye to a beloved pet. 

Cremation is a common choice because it is affordable, and families can do unique things with the remains to keep their beloved pets in their homes and near their hearts. 

The Cost Of Pet Cremation

Pet cremation cost varies in different locations and ranges between $50 and $200. If you live in a big city, the cost will be higher. Towns with several veterinarian offices or crematoriums will have lower prices. How much does pet cremation cost will also depend on the options you choose. 

The price will be lower if you choose to have your pet cremated with other pets. But, you will not be able to get the ashes back if you select this option. Pet cremains (the ashes of a cremated pet) usually weigh at least five pounds, and larger pets can weigh much more than that.

What To Expect?

statue of a dog in a pet cemetery

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Pet owners have every reason to be concerned about what happens when their four-legged family member is cremated. Understanding the procedure does not take away the grief, but it makes it easier to reach a state of closure.

If your pet passes away at the veterinarian’s office, then the first step might vary slightly. These steps are assuming that your beloved pet passes away at home.

Speak With a Veterinarian or Cremation Expert  

If your vet’s office does not cremate animals, the staff should be able to recommend somewhere that does. The employees will explain the steps and options they provide. Since many families are grieving, the pet care team will provide more detail than you expect to hear so you can fully understand the different options for cremation and the preparation of the ashes. 

Make an Appointment

Once you have made your decision about your pet, the veterinarian’s office or crematorium will ask you to make an appointment. This is where you will drop off your pet and say your good-byes. 

What Happens in the Cremation Unit?

dog died at the couch beside pink ball

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After you have said your good-byes and given your pet’s body to the staff, they will prepare your pet’s body for the cremation unit; the machine that cremates your pet’s body in temperatures that range between 1400°F and 1800°F or 760°C and 982°C.

These hot temperatures will burn the body, and only ashes and non-organic material will remain. Sometimes pieces of bone remain in the ashes. At this point, the ashes are coarse, not powdery like the ashes you might see in the movies when families spread their loved one’s remains.  

What Happens After the Body is Cremated?

Once the staff removes the pieces of bone, staff members will remove non-organic material, which can include things like microchips. If the team doesn’t personally separate the items, they will use magnets to take any remaining objects out of the ashes. 

Then, the staff takes the ashes and tiny bone fragments so they can be crushed into the fine dust that people expect to see after a cremation. This makes everything uniform in size.

What the Crematorium Returns to You

Once the ashes are crushed into the fine dust, the staff will put into a container. Usually, the team will put cremated remains in a nondescript container like a tin, plastic bag, or small box. You could ask for something specific, or bring your own.

How Long Does the Process Take?

After your drop off your pet, the cremation process takes a few hours. Most veterinarian offices or crematorium will give the remains to you a few hours after you have dropped off your beloved pet.  

You Have The Ashes, What’s Next?

woman washing out pet ash

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Once you receive your pet’s ashes, the next step is to decide what to do with them, which is another aspect of how much does pet cremation cost. If you choose to purchase an urn or personal jewelry to hold your pet’s ashes, you can expect to spend an additional $ or more over the cost of the actual cremation. 

Memorial Shrines

Some families like to design a memorial shrine for their pets. They choose to put their pet’s ashes in a vase, like this urn with paw prints on it, or this attractive box with space for a photograph. 

These pet shrines often have photos of the pet along with unique items, like a favorite collar or leash. Some families also put their pet’s favorite chew toys in the shrines. Those keepsakes can be placed in a display case to protect them from sun and dust damage.

Make an Appointment

Once you have made your decision about your pet, the veterinarian’s office or crematorium will ask you to make an appointment. This is where you will drop off your pet and say your good-byes. 

Jewelry

Another option for memorializing your precious pet is to place some of the ashes in a necklace. These lovely pieces of jewelry have small hearts or other small, decorative receptacles on them. 

Spreading Ashes

There is also the idea of spreading ashes somewhere that you and your pet loved spending time together. If you do decide to do this, you should check to see if it is legal to spread ashes at a park or along a trail. You should be able to find details online at your local government’s website. 

Burying the Ashes

Some families will bury the urn or box that holds their pet’s ashes. Some communities have cemeteries dedicated to pets. If your local area does not have a pet cemetery, then you could bury the urn in a special place in your backyard or along a trail where you often went for walks together. 

If you do decide to bury your pet’s ashes, you could memorialize the location with a marker. You might need to check with your local government to learn about any regulations or ordinances regarding burial and markers.

Alternatives To Cremation

cemetary with flowers

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There are alternatives to cremation, and some families prefer to memorialize their pet differently. These options are more costly than cremation, and they are all respectful ways to manage your pet’s dead body. 

Burying Your Pet

Many families choose to bury their pets, which can be an expensive option. However,  it can be significantly less costly if you decide to do it in your yard. Most communities do have ordinances about burials, especially with the depth and the necessary containers. 

However, if you live in a rural area, there shouldn’t be any issues with burying your pet in your yard. If you live in a city, you will probably have to choose a pet cemetery for the final resting place for your dog or cat. 

If you do choose to bury your pet in a cemetery, you will have to buy the plot and a casket. You will pay at least $ for the container and at least $$ for the burial plot. You will also have to pay for the marker, which could cost at least $. You could spend over $$$to bury your pet in a cemetery in a big city. 

The price could drop to nearly zero if you have your own space for burial. But, if you do it yourself, you will have to dig the hole, place your pet in it, and fill it back up. The process can be emotionally overwhelming for pet owners as well as physically challenging. However, burying your pet gives you a place to visit when the need arises.

Using a Taxidermy Service

Hunters will memorialize their successful expeditions by preserving the animals they’ve killed using a taxidermy service. In the past, pet owners did the same thing with their deceased dogs and cats. It may seem morbid to do this, but taxidermy is actually growing in popularity.

Using a taxidermy service to preserve your pet as a life-like statue might not be for everyone. Those who do choose it appreciate having a beloved pet permanently at home. It is not cheap to choose taxidermy, especially if you seek out an expert. You could spend well over $$ for this service.

Portraits and Photographs

Of course, there is no rule saying that you must take your pet’s ashes home with you. They can stay at the crematorium. If you have your pet cremated with other pets, then you will not have anything to take back. 

Some pet owners prefer to have a beautiful portrait of their dog or cat in a prominent place in their home. Some artists specialize in drawing or painting pets. Some will come to you and draw your pet at your home, while others use a photograph for inspiration. A unique portrait can help you memorialize your beloved pet in an extraordinary way. 

Another option is to have a photography session for your pet. Professional photographers can capture your pet’s temperament, and you can save those photos in a book or framed pieces.

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