Losing a pet is never easy, they are more often than not, a valued and loved member of our family. Often when a pet leaves us we are not quite sure how to deal with their body. Fortunately one option available is Pet Cremation.
While human cremation has been around for over 42 000 years, pet cremation has only become more accepted in modern times, as society starts to understand and accept how much we love them and need treat their earthly remains with dignity.
Before we cover exactly what is pet cremation, let us have a quick stroll through the history of pet cremation.
A Walk Through Pet Cremation History
Surprisingly having your pet cremated is actually not a new business. It is interesting to read that archaeologists have discovered a cemetery in Palestine, that holds the cremated remains of over 1000 dogs, all in urns, and these date back as far as 332BC.
Moving on, modern cremation started closer to today. In 1873, Brunetti, an Italian Professor, produced what was probably the first modern crematorium. This led to the first Cremation Society being established in England in 1874.
Hartsdale Pet Cemetery and Crematorium, which opened in 1896, in the USA, is the oldest recognized pet crematorium, and there are now over 70 000 pets cremated and buried in its grounds.
However, it is only during the last two decades that Pet Cremation has become mainstream and more accepted by society. That said there is still a lot of confusion and misunderstanding surrounding the process and options available. Pet cremation has actually reached a global profit exceeding 100 million pounds in 2016, and it appears to be showing no signs of decreasing. These figures show that pet cremations are no longer a niche industry and have now truly moved into mainstream business.
Now that you have a small background on pet cremation, lets take a look at how pet cremations are actually done, what the process involves, what it means for your pets body, and finally what is your pets ashes consist of. These are things I often found during my time working in the pet cremation business people were actually reluctant to ask, however, curious they were to know.
How Is Pet Cremation Carried Out?
Your pet can me cremated in a regular crematorium, one designed for humans, or in a pet crematorium. A number of pet crematoriums are run and owned by family business that have a love of animals. From my experience in this industry I personally would choose a crematorium dedicated to animals only. To me this is the core business and your pet should get the best attention.
A representative of the pet crematorium will collect your pet, either from home or from the vet, depending on what arrangements you have made. Your pet will have, or should have been kept in refrigeration, if there is a delay in its body being collected. The crematorium will keep your pet in refrigeration until the scheduled time for their cremation, in order to stop their body decaying.
The Cremation Chamber and Process Explained
Cremation chambers operate at exceptionally high temperatures. They are normally around 1400 to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit. The pet will be subjected to these high temperatures in order to vaporize and reduce the bodies organic matter to dust and bones. In other words at the end of the cremation you are left with dust and the skeleton. The time the cremation will take depends on the size of the pet, and if you opted for a private cremation, or a mass cremation.
A manual and/or magnetic inspection will then be carried out to remove any foreign matter from the ashes. This includes items such as pet collars, tags, surgical pins or rods, and any other metal bits that may be in the ashes.
Pet Cremains or Ashes Explained
Your pets cremains will now be pulverized to turn them into sand like substance, this is what is commonly known as ashes. These will be placed in a marked sealed bag and returned to you.
Bearing in mind that the ashes are the ground up bones of your pet, the amount returned to you, will depend on the size of your pet. A large dog will have a far larger skeleton than say a small cat, and therefore, a larger bag of ashes.
The ashes are normally a pale colour, however, these may vary depending on whether your pet had any health conditions.
What is the Difference Between a Private of Mass Cremation
Most crematoriums will give you the option between having your pet privately cremated or placing them in a mass cremation.
Private Cremation – Your pet will be cremated on its own in the chamber. This will guarantee that it is 100% your pets remains that are returned to you. Private cremations are normally more expensive than mass ones.
Mass Cremation – Your pet will be placed in the chamber with other pets. Your pets position in the crematorium will be marked and referenced. This is to try to return as much of your pets ashes to you, however, with this type of cremation, you are not guaranteed getting only your pets cremains back. This is the less expensive options to have your pet cremated.
If you have a small pet, such as a bird, or guinea pig, or even a fish, they can be cremated. The crematorium will normally place what is termed pocket pets in a tin or container before cremating them. This is to ensure their skeleton and ashes are not sucked up into the chimney, and, as these animals have such a small frame, it will help to ensure that you are getting your pets ashes back.
Is Cremation the Choice For You?
To sum up, cremation is a fairly inexpensive and environmentally friendly way to deal with your pets body. You have a number choices when it comes to having the ashes returned to you. Alternatively you may choose to have them scattered in the pet crematoriums pet remembrance garden.
Always do your homework on the crematorium you are considering. While the majority of them are ethical, as with every business, you will get some that do not practice the correct procedures.
Please comment, and share this blog if you feel it may help someone else find out about pet cremation.
I will leave you with this thought:-
“When we adopt a dog or any pet, we know it is going to end with us having to say goodbye, but
we still do it. And we do it for a very good reason: They bring so much joy and optimism and happiness. They attack every moment of every day with that attitude.” – W Bruce Cameron