“If there is a heaven, it’s certain our animals are to be there. Their lives become so interwoven with our own; it would take more than an archangel to detangle them”- Pam Brown.
Losing a pet is a painful experience that nobody can ever be ready for. We never want to think about it, but we know that it will come around sometime because dogs have shorter life spans than humans. If you are dealing with the soul-crushing experience of losing your dog, please accept our sincere condolences.
The saddest part is that even amid this bleak moment, you still have to handle a few time-sensitive matters. Start by figuring out what to do with the body, and cremation is probably one of your options. Some of the reasons that make cremation a popular choice are that it is convenient and affordable. Let’s look at the average costs of this service and what it entails.
Understanding Dog Cremation Costs
The cost of cremating a dog can vary widely; from $30 to $250. The price depends on the cremation method and the size of the pet. You may also have to pay for extra costs such as pick up services and special urns. Cremation could be a personal choice or a recommendation by your veterinarian.
Factors That Determine Dog Cremation Costs:
- Cremation method
There are three general methods of cremation:
1. Private dog cremation
Here, only you and the pet will be in the cremation chamber, so, there are minimal chances of the remains being mixed. Once the cremation process is completed, the service provider will pulverize the ashes and give them to you. This method attracts the highest cost.
2. Individual dog cremation
It is considered a “semi-private” method. Several pets are cremated ay the same time, but the animals are kept in separate chambers. So, there is a possibility of cremation remains mixing but not a high one. The exact method varies from one crematory to another, and so does the cost. However, individual cremation is generally cheaper than private cremation but expensive than communal cremation.
3. Communal pet cremation
If you are looking for a cost-effective way of cremating your dog, then you should opt for the communal pet cremation because it is the cheapest. The method involves cremating several animals at the same time. Since all the animals are kept in one chamber during cremation, it is not possible to give the dog remains to the owners. Therefore, the crematory disposes of the ashes. Some crematoriums scatter the remains in a garden or field that is dedicated to this purpose.
Cremation Costs by Size
The general rule is that the larger the dog, the more you will spend on cremation expenses. For example, a Labrador owner will pay more for his pet to be cremated than a Pomeranian. The logic is that large pets take up huge spaces in the chamber, take more time to cremate and longer to process.
The specific price will depend on where you take your pet to be cremated. Some group weights into classes, such as 10 to 20lbs or 30 to 50 lbs. In other words, there isn’t a specified standard for the exact pet weight ranges. That is why you ought to call many pet cremation providers to get quotes before settling on a particular crematory.
Additional Cremation Services That Could Affect Your Dog Cremation Cost
- Transfer fees
The price of cremation, whether private or communal, does not include the cost of transferring the dog from the veterinary clinic or home to the crematory. Sometimes the vet may work out a contract with the crematory on pick up charges. Whether or not such a relation exists, you will have to pay for the transport of the body to the crematory. Most service providers can come to your home and pick your dog at an additional charge, which ranges between $50 and $75.
- Viewing fees
If you wish to be present during the cremation, you may have to cough some more money because some crematoriums charge viewing fees. Most people are of the idea that witnessing helps in the healing process.
- Cremation Urns
If you opt for private cremation or individual cremation method, you will undoubtedly require a container to put the ashes. You don’t have to buy an urn, but many pet owners decide to choose to get one in honor of their furry friends. You will find an array of urns from the cremation service company. They vary in price, quality, and specifications, so, you are sure to find one that suits your needs.
Once you have the remains, you are at liberty to decide what to do with them. If you choose to bury, then you might fancy a memorial marker. It can be a large garden stone or a simple granite plaque. You can also go for the conventional upright memorial marker.
- Mausoleum niches
If you reside in a populated area, you can consider laying the ashes of your dog to rest in a mausoleum or niche. Therefore, you ought to pay for the area you will be burying your beloved canine friend.
- Burial Plots
Some crematoriums and cemeteries offer packages that include burial plots. The cost relies on the size of the space you wish to place the ashes. However, you may have to pay for the marker separately.
The Dog Cremation Process – What to Expect
Many dog owners are hesitant about the pet cremation process, which is understandable because it is a relatively new option compared to burials. That is why you ought to familiarize yourself with the process so that you know what to expect.
- Start by contacting a local crematory
You can make this call when your dog passes away. However, if your pet has been suffering from a severe illness or is of age, you can make inquiries in advance. This will save you the agony of planning for your dog’s cremation while grieving.
The staff at the crematorium will take you through the procedure and explain the different available options. For instance, there are several types of cremation and ash preparation procedures. After you make your decision and schedules an appointment, you can pay for the staff to pick your pet from the vet’s office or your home.
- The staff will place your dog in the cremation unit
Depending on the type of cremation you chose, your dog may be placed alone in the chamber or with other pets. The staff will turn on the machine, and it will attain temperatures ranging between 1400 and 1800 degrees Fahrenheit. Such temperatures have the effect of vaporizing the pet’s body, leaving behind dust and small bone pieces.
- They will remove inorganic materials from the ash
Before handing over the ash to you or sprinkling it in the garden (depending on the type of cremation you chose), the staff will remove inorganic materials from the ash. This includes things like collars, microchip implants, and surgical pins. Some crematories do this by hand, while others use magnets to expedite the process.
- The pieces of bone are crushed further
The small pieces of bone are ground to obtain a uniform texture of the ash.
- The remains are put in a container and returned to you
If you had chosen a private or individual cremation, the staff will place the ashes in a pot and hand it over to you. As for communal cremation, the ashes are disposed of off as agreed earlier, probably in a garden. The type of container they put the ashes depends on personal preferences and the particular crematory. If you hard purchased an urn, you can ask them to put the remains in it.
The cremation process is often over in a few hours, and you can pick the dog’s remains on the same day.
Dog Cremation FAQ
Q: Should I cremate my dog?
A: Choosing to cremate your dog is an ideal option, particularly for grief-stricken owners. When you cremate your pet and place the ashes in an urn, you have a physical reminder of your furry friend. Surprisingly, this can offer more comfort than one could ever imagine. Sometimes cremation can be the only option. This is because some communities do not permit burying of pets on either private or public land due to the risks associated with digging and hitting underground utilities like sewer lines. Depending on the cremation costs and the additional costs one has to spend, cremation can be cheaper or more expensive than other alternatives.
Q: How much will it cost to cremate my dog?
A: The average cost of cremating dogs varies from $50 to $150. The cost is based on the type of cremation you choose, your location, the size of your dog, the additional services, and many more.
Q: How long will the process take?
A: Typically, the entire cremation takes about an hour. However, this also varies according to the weight of your pet.
Q: What should I do with my dog’s ashes?
A: Once your dog has been cremated, you will receive a package containing the remains of your canine friend. You can handle these remains in some ways:
Put them in an urn – this is one of the most popular and affordable ways of storing pet ashes. Urns come in various styles, sizes and costs, so you are sure to get one that suits your needs.
Burry – many pet owners choose to bury their dogs’ ashes. In most cases, this is done in the family’s yard. That way, the family can visit their pet whenever they like, which can help in the grieving process. The remains are buried close to the ground, so, there isn’t a risk of interfering with the underground utilities. If you opt to bury the ashes, you can use a biodegradable urn.
Cremation boxes – You can get a unique wooden box for placing the ashes. Displaying the box in your home will leave a lasting memory of your dog.
Scattering ashes – some dog owners feel that scattering ashes symbolize the final departure of their pets. Where you scatter the remains is a personal choice. You can decide to scatter in a park, across space or at sea. If you decide to scatter in water, it’s advisable to use a water urn.
A headstone – if you scatter the remains in the garden, you can buy a headstone and place it there. This will be a beautiful memorial for your lost pet.
Jewelry and key chains – If you want to keep your dog’s memory close to your heart, there is no better option than a chain with a small amount of the remains places inside.
Keychain keepsakes – another way of keeping the remains close to you is by placing a part of the ashes in a key chain that is made for the specific purpose. Some of the jewelry that can be made with your dog’s ashes includes ankle chains, rings, and bracelets.
Q: What if my pet dies at home?
A: Many crematories offer collection services. Therefore, you can call the provider to pick the remains. You should, however, note that most crematoriums charge more for collection services during the weekend and off business hours.
Q: What if my dog passes off at the vet’s office?
A: Most vets do not perform the cremation, but they have links to people who do. Therefore, you can ask for recommendations for a quality service provider.
Q: Can my dog’s belongings be cremated too?
A: This will depend on the specific crematorium. Some allow for the blanket to be cremated, as long as it is made using natural fibers. Most do not allow toys or plastic materials to be cremated. Whether they permit or not will depend on the environmental regulations in the area and the implications of doing so.
Q: Will I require a casket for getting my dog cremated?
A: No. A casket is not a cremation requirement. Instead, you can wrap your beloved canine friend in their favorite blanket. All the same, you can get a casket if you wish.
Q: How can I tell if I have received the correct remains?
A: As long as you hire a reputable crematorium, this should not be a concern. Qualified staff ensures that they follow the right techniques to ensure that they put the cremation remains of the pets separately. This is done with the aid of identification tags.
Losing your beloved dog can be a stressful time. This guide is purposed to relieve the pressure of making crucial decisions during the time of grief. If you are experiencing loss at this time or have previously, we offer our warm condolences.
- Dr. Patty Khuly VMD, On Private Pet Cremation, Vetstreet