Our pets are precious members of our families, filling our lives with so much joy and love. Losing them is devastating, and dealing with the grief is a traumatic experience. When it comes time to deal with your pets body, knowing your options will help you cope with the decisions you need to make.
You will have to face the hard decision of whether to bury your pet or have your pet cremated. If you chose to go with cremation I would like to help you chose the right crematorium for you by explaining what you should be looking for from pet crematorium services.
Preserving Your Pet While You Make A Decision
Firstly if you have lost your pet tragically or unexpectedly you do not need to panic. Placing your pets body in a thick plastic bag, well sealed, and then into the freezer, will help to preserve their body for a short period while you make the decision on which crematorium you would like to use.
If you have had your pet euthanized ask your vet if they will be able to keep your pets body in their refrigeration units until you can contact a pet crematorium.
Finding A Suitable Crematorium
The next thing you will need to do is look up animal crematoriums in your area. You do not want to have to travel too far if you intend going to the crematorium. I would suggest trying to contact at least three different crematoriums to get a feel of which one will better suit you. They can vary in pricing and the service offered. I know this is an emotional time, but if you are able to take the time to do a small amount of research, you should not have any regrets about your decision after your pet has been cremated.
You can search for pet crematoriums online, through your local white pages, or speak to your veterinarian. The majority of veterinarians will have a pet crematorium they have used or recommend.
Once you have a list of pet crematoriums, or even just the name of one, here is my list of questions you should ask to determine the quality of the crematorium and if they feel like a place you will be confident to entrust with your pet.
General Information About The Crematorium
I would suggest starting with some general questions about the crematorium, Ask how long they have been in operation? Is the crematorium for pets only? Do they have a website or Facebook page you can look at, and if so are there any customer reviews? If they do take your time to look through their website and to read the reviews.
Information On Their Service
The next information you want to find out is, if you need it, will they come to your home or the veterinary practice, if your pet is there, to collect your pet? If they offer this service, how will your pet be treated? To give you an idea of what you should expect, when I was in the pet cremation business, this is how I would collect someones precious fur baby. I would arrive in my vehicle, dressed in uniform. I was on 24 hours call out, and would do everything in my power to respond to a call within the hour. Depending on the size of the pet I was collecting I would carry in a basket with me, with a white blanket. I would place the pet in the basket and cover it’s body. If the pet was larger I had a hospital size bed I could wheel in, again with a white blanket to cover the pet. I would spend some time with the family to help them cope with their grief, and to give them a chance to trust me, that I was going to treat their pet with respect.
If you do not require your pet to be collected from your home, ask when your pet will be picked up from the veterinarian. You should also ask if you have the option to bring your pet to the crematorium yourself if you think you may want to do this.
What Does The Actual Cremation Process Entail?
Essentially you should have two options. Firstly the choice to have your pet cremated individually, this way you are guaranteed that it is your pets cremains that will be returned to you. This is the more expensive option at most crematoriums.
The second option is a mass cremation, where a number of pets are cremated together, and while most crematoriums will try to return as much of your pets cremains as possible to you there is no guarantee that there will not be ashes from other pets mixed in with your pet. This is the less expensive option.
Returning Your Pet Home
Once you have decided on the cremation option you will want to ask about the options to receive your pets cremains. Most crematoriums will have a number of different options to choose from. You normally have the choice to have the cremains scattered in their pet garden if they have one, or you can have your pets cremains returned in a simple plain box. From there the options expand to include different urns and memorials that your pet can be returned in.
If you want to have a special urn or memorial for your pet but find this too expensive, or you simply do not like the choice of urns they are offering, you have a flexibility to buy your own urn or memorial when you are ready, and this will probably be at a reduced cost. I have done a number of reviews on unique urns in a range of prices and styles. Another option is to capture the spirit of your pet by having their cremains formed into a diamond, you can find out more details on this incredible service here.
Some crematoriums may offer a range of extra services. These may include a private memorial service at the crematorium, viewing of the cremation. Most crematoriums will offer to do a paw print for you, or take a lock of fur, or a feather. They may also give you a certificate.
If you are having a small pet cremated, say a rat or guinea pig, find out how the crematorium goes about this in order to not lose your pets cremains. Some crematoriums will cremate what is termed ‘pocket pets’ in a tin.
Cost of the Cremation Service
You will obviously need to discuss the cost of the service your require. Please be sure you know what is included. If you have pet insurance you may want to find out if it includes cremation fees.
If finances are tight, simply having your pet cremated is inexpensive and you have the option on how to deal with your pets cremains at a later stage.
Making A Choice
My advice to you would be to take your time and find out as much about the crematorium as you need to. The most important thing to me is to establish that your pet will be treated with love, respect and dignity.
I will leave you with this quote by James Cromwell – “Pets are humanizing, they remind us we have an obligation and responsibility to preserve and nurture and care for all life.”
Sending you pet hugs