If your pet has just died, you may be looking for ways to preserve their memory and to keep them close to you. Having your pet cremated is a wonderful and loving tribute to your lost loved one.
You may be concerned about the price of this service and wondering how much it really costs to cremate a pet.
Pet cremation costs can range anywhere from $30 to $350 depending on the size of the animal as well as the type of cremation. Additional services, such as a personalized urn for keeping your pet’s ashes, may cost more.
Read on for a specific breakdown of pet cremation costs as well as the factors that may affect them. We’ll also take a look at some of the benefits and drawbacks of pet cremation and other alternatives you may consider for your pet’s final resting place.
Pet Cremation Costs
There are no set prices for having your pet cremated. In fact, the cost may vary widely depending on a number of different factors. We’ll discuss these factors later on in this article, but for now, let’s look at the single biggest consideration for how much you can expect to pay: the size of the pet.
As you might expect, smaller pets will cost less to cremate than larger pets. Most often, pets such as dogs, cats, reptiles, hamsters, and birds will be cremated; but some crematories may also be willing to cremate larger pets, such as pigs and horses.
Cremations for smaller animals may take less than an hour, while larger animals may take several hours.
Cost to Cremate Small Pets
For smaller pets such as birds, ferrets, hamsters, frogs, lizards, and possibly kittens and puppies, cremation costs will likely range between $30 and $50, though some may cost as much as $100.
Some crematories will give you a flat rate based on the weight or size dimensions of your pet, while others may quote you a personalized price for your specific pet. In any case, small pets in this category will need a much shorter cremation period, thus the overall process will be less involved.
Also, if you choose to purchase a special urn or box to house your pet’s remains, it will probably cost less for smaller animals because it will not need to be very large.
Cost to Cremate Cats and Small Dogs
Slightly larger animals, up to 50 pounds, will cost a little more to cremate. This is, of course, because the process will take a bit longer and will be a little bit more involved. Animals that fall into this category will include full grown cats and small to medium sized dogs, as well as larger reptiles and possibly small farm animals.
Again, you may receive either a flat rate based on your pet’s size and weight, or it may be a more personalized and specific price. Generally, the cost for cremating animals in this size category will be between $50 and $150, depending on the specific crematory, the type of cremation, and services included.
Cost to Cremate Large Dogs
Larger pets over 50 pounds, including large dogs, pigs, larger monkeys and medium sized farm animals, will likely take 2-3 hours to cremate. The process is much more involved and will require tending the fire throughout cremation.
The bones of larger animals may not be completely burnt to ash during the process and thus will need to be grounded down afterward.
With animals of this size, you are more likely to get a personalized quote based on your specific pet’s size. That said, some crematories may provide a flat rate for pets over 50 pounds but under a maximum size limit.
In any case, you can expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $350 to have your larger pet cremated, and possibly more.
Cost to Cremate Larger Animals
Some crematories will cremate larger pets such as goats, sheep, and even horses. As you might imagine, this process will likely take several hours and require a lot of extra attention from the people performing the cremation. Again, the bones will likely need to be ground into powder after the actual burning has been completed.
Cremation of animals of this size will almost always be priced on a case-by-case basis. You will need to get in contact with specific pet crematories to find out if they would be willing to cremate your large pet and what the price would be.
What Factors Contribute to Pet Cremation Costs?
There is no way of knowing for sure exactly how much you can expect to pay to have your pet cremated. There is no set rate even for animals of the same size and species, as there are many factors which can play a role in determining the final expenses.
What factors, you may ask? Of course, size and species of your pet will be one factor, but other contributing factors may include differences in cremation providers, the type of cremation you want, any additional services provided, and even your location.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these factors.
The Size of the Pet
We already discussed pet size and species above, but it’s worth looking at again because it is one of the most influential factors that affects cremation costs.
It takes much longer and is a much more involved process to cremate larger animals. Whereas a hamster or a kitten may take less than an hour to cremate, a large dog or a horse will probably take several hours.
Because of this wide difference, you can generally expect to pay more for cremation for larger pets.
The Cremation Provider
It probably goes without saying that different crematories will have different prices for similar services.
Some crematories will cremate your pet, collect their ashes in a small box, and return them to you along with a certificate stating the pet’s name and cremation date. Others will provide much more premium services, such as picking up your deceased pet, cremating it privately, and returning it in an engraved wooden box or urn.
So, different providers will charge differently based on the services they provide, how they run their business, and even their location.
Some crematories may offer a flat rate for pets of a certain size and species, while others may prefer to work on a case-by-case basis, offering you a price quote that’s specific to your pet.
The best way to find out exactly what it will cost to cremate your pet is to get in touch with any pet funeral homes or crematories in your area. If you don’t know of any or aren’t sure where to look, your veterinarian may be able to help you.
The Type of Cremation
There are three main types of pet cremation: mass, individual, and private. Each type of cremation will be priced somewhat differently.
- Mass cremations are when multiple animals are cremated together in the same area at the same time. Their ashes are not kept separate. Usually, pets cremated in a mass cremation are not returned to their owners but are spread in a special memorial area at the crematory.
- Individual cremations are when multiple animals are cremated at once but in separate boxes. The ashes of the different animals may commingle somewhat, but they are generally kept separated from each other. These ashes may be returned to the pet owner or dispersed on the grounds of the crematory, depending on the owner’s wishes.
- Private cremations may be requested by the pet owner, but not all crematories offer them. A private cremation is when a pet is cremated alone, at a separate time from other animals. There is no risk of ashes becoming mixed up, and the ashes are almost always returned to the pet owner after the cremation.
As you might imagine, mass cremations are generally the least expensive, while private cremations usually cost the most. Again, though, this will be dependent on the individual crematory and the services they offer. You will want to find out ahead of time which types of cremations they offer and the costs of each.
Any Additional Services
Many crematories offer a lot of additional services besides cremation. Some of these services include:
- Providing a special urn or memorial box for your pet’s ashes
- Engraving your pet’s name, date of birth, and date of death on the box
- Providing special jewelry in which you can keep a small amount of the ashes
- Picking up your deceased pet and delivering its ashes a few days later
- Allowing you to view the cremation process
While these additional services may be beneficial during your time of loss, many of them are unnecessary and can add quite a bit of money to your overall expense.
Even your location can affect how much it will cost to have your pet cremated.
Regions with a higher cost of living will likely have higher cremation costs. Some cities may have only one or two crematories, which will be able to charge more due to a lack of competition. Some smaller cities may have cremation services provided by the local vet at relatively low costs.
If there are no crematories in your area, you may have to pay more for the cremation because of added expenses in getting your pet to the nearest crematory. For example, a crematory in a neighboring town may normally provide pet pickup and ash delivery at no cost in their own city, but they may charge extra for pickup and delivery outside of city limits.
What are the Benefits and Drawbacks of Having Your Pet Cremated?
Losing a pet can be a heart-wrenching experience. Sometimes knowing what to do in such a situation can be difficult. There are so many different options, so many different expenses to factor in.
If you’re not sure what to do or where to turn, you may be wondering, what are the specific benefits and drawbacks of having your pet cremated? How does cremation compare with other end-of-life options for your pet?
Let’s take a closer look at why cremation may be the best choice for your situation, as well as why it may not be.
Benefit: Cremation Allows You to Keep Your Pet Close
Many grieving pet owners will bury their pet in a special place such as the backyard or a favorite field. But there are several complications with this, especially in areas where burials on private property are not allowed.
Even if self-burial is permitted in your city and state, you may not be able to bury your pet at home if you live on a rental property. What’s more, you may feel a new wave of grief if you have to leave your deceased pet behind when you move to a new house.
If your pet is cremated, you can avoid all of these undesirable situations.
Getting your pet cremated allows you to keep them close, usually in a special box or urn or, in some cases, in a piece of jewelry. You can take this box or jewelry with you anytime you move to a new house.
If you would rather scatter the ashes around the backyard or field, this is also more likely to be permitted even in places where self-burial is not an option. The ashes will simply wash down into the ground without going through the decomposition process as a buried body would.
Benefit: Cremation Helps You Avoid Risks Involved with Self-Burial
Self-burial is often forbidden. This is largely because of the possible health risks involved. If the animal isn’t buried deep enough, scavenger animals may come along and dig it up, leading to rather graphic images and leaving the decomposing body open to the environment.
In addition, depending on where the body is buried, it may contaminate the local water supply, which of course may lead to health risks and unexpected expenses, and possibly even legal troubles.
These risks are present even in places without strict self-burial guidelines.
Having your pet cremated is a good way to avoid all of these potential problems. A pet’s ashes don’t need to decompose in the ground. Even if they are dispersed outside, they will not attract the attention of other animals and will not contaminate the soil or the water.
In general, spreading or burying an animal’s ashes is permitted in places where usual burial is not because ashes do not pose the same health and financial risks.
Benefit: Cremation Gives You Options
Perhaps you aren’t yet certain of what you want to do with your pet’s remains. You know that you want to preserve the pet’s memory and honor it in some way. Perhaps you’ve considered self-burial or other end-of-life options, but nothing feels quite “right” for your pet.
Cremation will allow you to keep your pet close to you, and you have a number of different options for the pet’s final resting place. You can keep the ashes in a box or urn, perhaps in a special place of memorial in your house; or you can sprinkle the ashes around a favorite play area that your pet used to love.
If you don’t want the ashes back after your pet is cremated, they will most likely be released in a designated area on the crematory’s property. This is a good option if you don’t want the responsibility of finding a place to bury the pet or if you’re unable to bury it where you live.
Many crematories will handle the entire process, from picking up your pet to returning its ashes, so if the grief is too much and you’re struggling with what to do, having your pet cremated will give you an extra support as the crematory will endeavor to help you through this difficult time.
So, whether you want to keep the ashes or not; whether you want to take them with you when you move or scatter them in nature; whether you want to be highly involved or more distant during the process–cremation gives you many different options to choose from.
Drawback: Cremation Can Get Expensive
There are many different factors that influence the price of getting your pet cremated. There are often a lot of added services you can choose to make your life a little easier during this sad time, but these added services usually cost extra, so you may end up paying a lot more than you intended when you first started the process.
Even without the added service, if you have a very large pet or have to use a more pricey crematory, the cost for the cremation itself may end up being more than you bargained for.
Drawback: Cremation May Allow Commingling of Ashes
Again, this will depend on the type of cremation. If your pet is part of a mass cremation, their ashes will almost certainly be mixed among the ashes of other animals. Even with an individual cremation, some commingling is possible.
If you don’t want your pet’s ashes mixed with the ashes of other animals, you’ll need to find out ahead of time exactly what types of cremation are offered by the crematory in question. While many of them will offer private cremations, these will, of course, be more expensive.
Alternatives to Having Your Pet Cremated
By now we’ve discussed the different cost scenarios of pet cremation, the factors that help determine the cost, and some of the benefits and drawbacks of having your pet cremated. We’ve covered a lot of ground in regards to cremation, but what about the other end-of-life options out there?
Maybe you’re still not sure if you want to have your pet cremation, and you want to know if there are other options when deciding on your pet’s final resting place. Or maybe you simply want to know all of the options before making a decision.
There are actually a number of different ways to memorialize your pet and honor its life after it has passed away. Let’s take a closer look at some of the alternatives to pet cremation.
Have Your Pet Buried at a Pet Cemetery
If you want to have your pet buried, but are unwilling or unable to do it yourself, there are many pet funeral homes that will bury your furry friend in a special pet cemetery.
As with cremation, pet burial services often come with added services, as well as extra fees for those services. Even without any extras, you’ll need to be prepared to pay anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars for a burial plot and a headstone.
In addition to the upfront costs of having your pet entombed, you may also have to pay a monthly rental fee to have your pet’s plot maintained. This will depend on the funeral home and, of course, costs will vary widely between funeral homes and regions.
Consider Cryomation or Resomation
Pet cryomation and resomation are two fairly new processes.
- Cryomation involves freezing a body using liquid nitrogen. The remains become quite brittle and are then easy to break down into small particles–similar to ash, but without the burning. All the water present in the body is removed via freeze drying during this process, and the remains can then be buried or kept as though they were ashes.
- Resomation is basically “water cremation.” The body is immersed in a mixture of lye and water, then heated to a high temperature. Chemical reactions take place that break the body down into fluid and bone particles. The fluid is drained off after the process, and the “bone ash” is returned to you.
Both cryomation and resomation are more environmentally friendly than traditional cremation and burial processes. That said, they are fairly new and are not widely available, especially for pets, so it may be difficult to find an organization that will perform these services. They are also likely to be quite expensive.
Have Your Pet’s Remains Made into a Diamond
Transforming your pet’s remains into a diamond is perhaps one of the most unique and special ways to keep your pet close after its passing. This process technically involves cremating your pet first, and it is often offered as an associated service by pet crematories.
Using a process of intense heat and pressure, your pet’s ashes will transform into something beautiful. The process will take some time and is fairly expensive, but many pet owners will find it absolutely worth whatever they put into it.
Bury Your Pet Yourself
Of course, the least expensive option is to simply bury the pet yourself, perhaps in a favorite part of the backyard or a field on your property. The benefit of self-burial is that you can lay your pet to rest privately, in whatever way seems most appropriate. You can even design a memorial area with a personalized headstone if you want to.
Of course, self-burial is illegal in some regions, and if you live on rental property or are planning to move soon, you may not be able or willing to bury your pet.
If self-burial is allowed where you live, you’ll want to make sure you bury your pet deep enough and away from any underground pipes, wires, or water sources.
Anyone who has ever lost a family pet knows the grief and heartache that it causes. Our pets become members of the family, so losing them can be just as hard as losing any human family member.
When it comes time for your pet to cross the Rainbow Bridge, the feelings of grief and loss are often just as overwhelming as though you had lost a human family member. Knowing how to best preserve your pet’s memory can be difficult during this time.
Having your pet cremated may prove to be the best option for you, and there are many different options and price ranges to meet your specific needs and circumstances.
Though losing a pet is an extremely difficult experience, end-of-life services for your pet can help you keep your pet close to you.