Final Care of Your Pet's Body
Facing the death of your pet is sad and stressful; having to
decide what to do with the body often adds to the anxiety. For this reason, it's best to explore options available for the final care of your pet's
body before his death. If your pet dies before you can make
arrangements, most veterinary hospitals can keep your pet's body for a
few days while you consider the options. As emotionally draining as
the decision can be, it helps to know that there are several
alternatives depending on practical, legal, financial,
emotional, and spiritual considerations.
Like many caregivers,
you may prefer to leave the decision to your veterinarian or animal
shelter. Or, you may select home burial, burial at a pet cemetery, or
cremation. The following information will help you better understand
what's available so that you can make the decision that's best for you.
Can I Bury My Pet in a Cemetery?
can bury your pet in a cemetery created specifically for beloved pets.
Pet cemeteries offer a wide range of burial and cremation choices to
fit your needs; they perform the duties and services of both a funeral
home and cemetery. To locate one, look in the Yellow Pages under "Pet
Cemeteries & Crematories." Veterinary clinics and humane societies
may also operate pet cemeteries and crematories.
How Do Cemeteries Bury Pets?
can be buried either in a private plot or in a communal plot. In a
private burial, a pet's remains are separately prepared and placed in
an individual grave site, crypt, or mausoleum. In a common or communal
burial, a pet is buried in the same plot with other deceased pets.
Cemeteries that do not provide individual gravestones for pets buried
in a communal plot often provide a memorial wall affixed with plaques
honoring those pets.
What Does Cremation Entail?
has become a popular and practical option for handling the bodies of
deceased pets. Cremated remains, called "cremains," resemble sand-like
particles or small pebbles with larger chips of bone. These may be
placed in a small urn which you can keep close by and take with you if
you move. Cremains can also be buried or scattered in a special section
of land set aside by a cemetery. Depending on local government
regulations, you can also scatter or bury cremains in a meaningful
place, perhaps under a tree planted to memorialize your pet.
selecting an animal crematory, find out the cremation procedures. Many
animal crematories do mass cremations and then divide the ashes. What
this means is that if you don't request an individual cremation, you
may receive the cremains of other pets in addition to those of your own.
Is Home Burial an Option?
with your city or county government to see whether burying pets in
yards is legal in your area. If you choose to bury your pet at home,
put the body in a heavy-duty plastic bag, encase it in a secure
receptacle such as a wood or metal box, and bury it at least three feet
deep. This helps prevent other animals from being attracted by the
scent and digging at the grave site. Home burials allow caregivers to
be near their pet's remains but this option may not be suitable if you
Regardless of which method you ultimately select, your pet will always be close to your heart.