Dealing with the passing of a beloved animal is difficult. Often, pet owners chose cremation to help with the grieving process. Having a plan for your companion’s remains gives you steps to follow as you learn to live with your loss. Understanding the steps of pet cremation will help you navigate the difficult days after the loss of your pet.
The easiest way to find a reputable crematorium is to ask your veterinarian. Your local crematorium should have a cremation chamber just for pet usage. This chamber will be intensely heated, with temperatures reaching between 1400 and 1800 degrees. This evaporation technique leaves behind bone fragments that are reduced to sand-like ashes. Depending on your pet’s size, the cremated remains (also called cremains), which are most often white, will weigh from 1 to 5 pounds. The time this takes also depends on your pet’s size, lasting between 45 minutes and two hours. After the cremains cool, they are placed in a plastic bag and into a temporary urn, or into a urn you have already selected.
Before cremation begins, though, you have a few choices to make. There are a few types of cremation, and various crematoriums call them various names, so ask for details before you make any decisions. Private cremation means only your pet is placed in the cremation chamber. This ensures you receive only the cremated remains of your animal. During individual cremation, other pets are placed in the cremation chamber, but each animal is separated. With this method, your companion’s cremains are returned to you, as well. (There may be some mixing of ashes with this method; ask your crematorium about this.) Some crematoriums have a viewing room so you can watch the process; this is often called a viewing cremation. If you chose a communal, community or mass cremation, your animal and several other pets are cremated together. The ashes of your pet will not be returned to you. Ask your crematorium how they dispose of the cremated remains of these animals. Some dispose of these ashes in landfills, while other crematoriums scatter ashes at local cemeteries or even in areas such as local farms or gardens.
Before you select an urn for your pet, you’ll need to know your animal’s healthy weight. Pick an urn that matches your beloved’s weight in cubic inches: if your pet weighed 25 pounds, you need an urn with an interior of at least 25 cubic inches. You can also choose to scatter most of your pet’s ashes, and chose a small urn for the remaining cremains or place a trace portion of ashes in a keepsake charm necklace. Often the crematorium places the cremated remains in a plastic bag. It may be difficult for you to transfer the remains into your permanent urn or piece of jewelry. Ask the crematorium, your veterinarian or a trusted friend to do this step for you.
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