Wondering whether to cremate your pet and want to know more about it? I am putting together this comprehensive checklist to cover all the details of pet cremation. For the meantime its a work in progress to give really good and thorough details on all the major questions. I am a wood sculptor out of Raleigh, NC making nice turned wooden urns for pets and people.
So why is a wood guy writing this guide? I want to have a good detailed list of resources that I can provide for anyone that is search for answers. In essence, I hope that this will simplify and ease the whole process of pet and animal cremation.
What is the process of pet cremation?
Starts at the vet… either mobile or traditional. Once your pet has passed arrangements are made to transport the pets body to a crematorium. This is either handled by the vet or left to the owner, if preferred, to arrange transportation. Most veterinarians don’t handle cremation and refer this service to another company. There are some services, mobile vets, that do in home euthanization and assist with the transport of the pet to the crematory. For example, Azure Holland is a company in my area that helps with home euthanization and transition to cremation services.
A cremation unit, or furnace operates in the ranges of 1400-1800 degrees Fahrenheit. Pets can be cremated in standard crematories or ones dedicated specifically for pet cremation. Many crematories require a container to house the pet’s body, i.e. casket or cardboard container.
The furnace vaporizes organic matter, reducing the pets body to dust and parts of dried bone. Those cremains are processed to remove surgical pins/rods, tags, chips, or other metal objects, etc. This is done via visual and magnetic inspection. The rest of the remains are pulverized to produce a remains of uniform consistency.
These remains are put into a sealed plastic bag and put into the standard vessel, box, or urn provided by the crematory, then returned to the owner. The remains may be transferred to a nicer vessel to hold the remains of your pet. Usually, the remains are returned the same or next day in a private cremation setting. Communal cremation services may take longer.
How many ashes will you receive from a Cremated Pet?
A general rule of thumb states that 1 cubic centimeter of remains is produced per pound of the animal. So a 100 pound dog would approximate around 100 cubic inches of cremains. The amount of ash produced is actually based on the bone density of the animal. There is variation to one side of that number or another. Depending on the weight, age, and bone structure of your animal there could be less or more cremains. By and large the vast majority of pets will produce 50 cubic inches of remains or less. Larger dogs and horses produce more as they have larger bones. Even for pets its a good idea to think about what size urn you actually need, read this article for some questions to think about before selecting a cremation urn for your pet.
What animals can you Cremate?
Most commonly dogs, cats, and small pets like birds, rabbits, hamster, etc. can be cremated. Large animals, such as horses, are also cremated though there are fewer facilities to chose for these services. Some crematories have varying capabilities for capacity. Note the difference in scale between the standard pet cremation chamber and an equine cremation chamber. The time it takes to cremate an animal depends on its size and small animals typically do not take very long. Larger breeds of dogs and large animals often take several hours. On average, pet cremation takes 45 minutes to two ours.
What do the Cremains look like?
Cremains is the term that describes the remains that are left following the cremation process. The word is literally formed from cremation and remains. It is the bone matter remaining after all other organic matter (hair, tissues, etc.) has been incinerated. Prior to pulverization, the cremains are a collection of bone fragments.
Following pulverization the cremains have a roughly uniform and coarse texture, similar to wood ash in color but a bit more coarse. The color is similar to an antique white or bone white but do range in the color spectrum from a pasty white to gray.
What are the different types of pet cremation?
There are a few types of pet cremation services, and most crematories offer at least two of them. The services are referred as Private, Individual/Partitioned, and Communal/Commingled and differ by the number of pets that are cremated at the same time. Communal is a batch type of cremation where multiple animals are all cremated at once. Individual cremation is also a bulk cremation method but the animals are segregated in order to try and keep the cremains separate. Animals are cremated by themselves in a private cremation service.
Some crematories also offer a witnessed cremation, which is a private viewing of the cremation service for your pet. Most commonly this is a private cremation service but some facilities do allow the viewing of individual or communal cremation. This pictures a really nice viewing room, and while this one is for humans the idea is similar for pets. Certainly not all crematoriums are set up as well as this one is, but the process is similar.
What is the Cost to Cremate a Pet?
Pet cremation costs range from $75-$350 and are based primarily on the weight/size of the pet as well as the local market. Crematories break their cremation pricing out in a few categories around every 30 lbs or so. Prices can exceed this range for very large animal cremation.
Sample Private Cremation Service Costs in Raleigh, NC
|Pet Weight (lbs)||Cost ($)|
|125+ lbs||call for quote|