After your pet passes away, you wonder , “What will I do now? My life will never be the same.” And then moments later you realize decisions have to be made and you must deal with the question, “What do I do with my pet’s remains?”
When I lost both my girls Precious and Dusty it was devastating. Dealing with the aftermath of what to do next, left me anxious and overwhelmed. Luckily, I had the support of my family and the second time around, the experience to know what options were available to me.
For anyone that is wondering, how will I deal with my pet’s remains when they are gone? Keep reading. You do have choices. In my experience and research, there are essentially three options.
1) Home Burial
I personally did not choose this option as I lived in an apartment building at the time and also, it was a personal choice to dispose of the remains another way, however many people choose burial as the option that works best for them.
If you have the ability and grounds to bury your pet, you can do so in your back yard at no cost other than the tools to dig and plant a headstone if desired.
Making the choice to bury your pets remains in the backyard gives some pet parents the feeling of closeness and also a way of keeping their memory alive by planting seeds for flowers or a tree in their pet’s memory. In a way their pet lives on forever.
2) Pet Cemetery
Another option for some is to take the remains and have them buried at a local pet cemetery. You can find out where your closest pet cemetery is by doing a google search or checking with your veterinarian for resources.
How much does it cost? According to Angie’s List, here in the U.S. the cost of a grave plot can range from $400-$600. Also the cost of a casket can range from $550 and up. If you also want a tombstone/headstone, the cost can start at $150-$1000. Lastly, maintenance of a cemetery plot can range from $20 month to $500 for life.
This option also provides a chance to hold a funeral service if you wish and a permanent spot for one to visit and memorialize their furry family member.
3) Cremation & My Own Experience
Lastly, you can opt to have your pet’s remains cremated. I personally picked this option when my pets passed away. Cremation, behind home burial, is a more affordable option.
As for my first experience with cremation, the vet I went to happened to be one I never met before. My first cat Precious died the day I moved to NYC many years ago back in 2006. So the very first meeting was to bring my deceased cat to the office. I chose cremation and they returned Precious remains in a green tin box. Very plain & simple. However, I happened to have a red and gold velvet gift box I received from a prior holiday I always kept. I ended up putting Precious remains (box included) into the red velvet box. She remains there tucked away in a nice velvet shimmer box. Just like when she was alive, her favorite thing to do was squeeze in a box. She rests there now.
Now, when I had Dusty cremated the urgent care vet had given two options. Option one was $200 for a GROUP cremation. This means other people’s pet remains would be cremated along with Dusty OR the other option was INDIVIDUAL cremation at a cost of $300. The individual cremation was exactly what it sounds like. Only Dusty’s remains would be cremated and I would receive her ashes back.
I choose the individual cremation. I personally didn’t want my baby’s ashes mixed with other peoples’ pet’s ashes. That’s just how I felt. In the end when the paperwork was said and done, because I had pet insurance on Dusty long before she was sick, I was able to submit my receipt for expenses and the pet insurance company refunded me a check for $200. So my final out of pocket cost for cremation of Dusty’s remains actually only cost $100.
With the cremation, the company my vet used did a nice professional job of returning my Dusty’s ashes with respect. I received a white paper bag (gift bag style) a personalized thank you/condolences note and Dusty’s ashes already pre sealed inside a wooden box. They also included an engraved gold plated name plate. The only thing my husband and I had to do was fasten the name plate on the wooden box. I also received literature about their facility and services.
With cremation in both scenarios, I wasn’t sure what to expect but I felt they handled my pet’s remains with respect and that did bring me some comfort.
So that’s been my experience with disposing of pet’s remains. I’ve also shared two other options you may want to consider as well. Whatever your choice, I hope it is able to bring you a little closure and comfort knowing your furry family member is resting in peace and no longer suffering.
To check out more information about this topic, check out this helpful Pet Loss Support page about how to deal with your pet’s remains. Looking for additional resources to help you in your time of loss? Check out my other blog post 8 Resources for Healing after pet loss.
Comment and share your thoughts below. If you’ve ever experienced pet loss, what option worked best for you?