The cost for a typical dog cremation starts at about $75 for smaller dogs in a communal cremation and can be more than $700 for larger dogs in a private cremation. If you decide that other considerations are needed such as an urn, to watch the process, or to have a service for your dog, there are additional fees and costs required.
In this article, I do my best to help provide you with enough information to be prepared and informed ahead of speaking with your veterinarian or any cremation provider. My goal is for your to be able to ask the right questions and limit the number of surprises.
Judith Viorst wrote a wonderful children’s book called The Tenth Good Thing About Barney. The story helps children work through the death of their pet cat, in a natural and loving way. Just as children struggle to make sense of the loss of a pet, so too do adults. For so many dog lovers, their dogs truly are their best friends.
The family dog is an integral part of the family. He or she goes on family trips, is included in the holiday card photos, provides endless hours of entertainment and exercise, plus gives to his or her family unwavering love.
So, when the dog gets terminally ill, or passes away from natural causes, many folks want to have some type of burial process, whether interment or cremation.
Each is an emotional choice; however, if you choose cremation, this article will provide you with information necessary to make a good choice.
What Questions Do I Need To Ask About Cremation?
The following questions need to be asked when considering cremating your beloved pet:
- What exactly is cremation?
- How do I find out about dog cremation?
- How much does it cost to cremate a dog?
- Where can I cremate my dog?
- What is the process of cremation?
- What do I do with my dog’s remains?
What Is Cremation?
The literal definition of cremation is the disposal of a dead body by burning it to ashes. Though it sounds harsh, it really is not. Most of us have heard the words, dust though art and dust though shalt return, so returning to the earth seems to make sense.
Because you will be emotional when you lose your pet, doing research early is a benefit. Though no one wants to think about his or her pet dying, researching burial or cremation ahead of time can provide comfort when the end finally arrives. Rushing to a decision when you are emotional about your loss only makes it harder for you.
When my children’s beloved cat Nobody, Noby for short, became sick, we went to the vet who told us she just could not recover from her illness. The vet told the children she would be cremated, and we could bury her, after cremation, in the pet cemetery behind the building. We brought flowers and a favorite toy for her; we all said our goodbyes.
Every once in a while, we visited her grave. The whole experience was peaceful and calming, making three little people feel okay that their pet was sick and died. Everyone who loses a pet needs emotional comfort and peace when it comes to the final decision about a pet. Your Vet is your best friend during these times.
How Do I Make The Decision To Cremate?
Once you know what the process of cremation is and what types are offered, the next step is talking to your Veterinarian who can be a great resource when it comes to the final decisions concerning your dog. Whether you need a big send off or a quiet one, a private one or a natural one, there is a process that suits all individual needs. You may need to know where your dog is buried or you may need to keep the ashes with you always, in the house on fireplace mantel. Interment is not better than cremation or vice versa. The decision to choose one over the other is just a personal choice, based on information gathered and emotional needs.
What Are The Types of Cremation?
It is best to research the options in your area as well as ask your Vet for information. The following are the three types of cremation:
- Private: choose to receive ashes and the ashes are only your dog’s because he or she is cremated individually.
- Individual: dogs are cremated in a larger cremation unit but partitions are used to separate pets from each other. If you choose to get your dog’s ashes, it is important to know you may get a few ashes from other dogs, based on how the process is set up.
- Communal: the dog is buried with multiple other dogs in a large unit, ashes are mixed together, so you cannot choose to get your dog’s ashes.
Once you decide on the type of cremation, then you need to research prices.
The option you choose as well as the weight of the dog determines the price of the cremation.
What Are The Specific Costs of Dog Cremation?
Just as with everything else, prices will vary based on the cremation service you choose, but the following prices are about average.
- A private cremation of a dog that weighs up to 30 lbs. costs about $175.
- An individual cremation of a dog that weighs up to 30 lbs. costs about $110.
- A communal cremation for a dog that weighs 30 lbs. costs about $75.
The larger the dog, the higher the price for whichever type of cremation you choose.
A dog that weighs between 91-120 lbs. costs about $250 for a private cremation, $145 for an individual cremation and $125 for a communal cremation.
Once you decide what your budget can manage, then you need to decide on the facility. Besides varying prices, each facility may have additional fees so you need to ask the right questions.
What Are Some of the Extra Fees that Facilities Charge for Cremation?
- If you want to be with your dog at his or her cremation, you need to pay a witness fee of about $75.
- If the cremation site has to pick up your pet from your home or wherever the dog is, you will be charged a transfer fee of about $60.
- Check to see what the transportation radius is for pick up. Usually, it is only about 20 miles.
A private cremation with a witness fee and a transfer fee, not including a container for the ashes or a plot in a cemetery, will run about $400.
What Type of Container Do I Need for the Ashes?
The next expense will be the container you need for your pet’s ashes. Depending on what you decide to do with the ashes, the containers can range from a plastic bag, to a container from the Container Store, to a wooden box or an urn.
If you decide to put the ashes in your backyard under a tree, to help make the flowers grow, all you will need is a simple plastic bag. However, if you decide you want to bury the ashes, you need something to put them in.
You can make your own container too. My son lost his dog last year, and after Marley was cremated, her ashes were put in a wooden box he had made, and she was buried under the tree in his backyard.
How Much Does An Urn Cost?
If you choose to purchase a container, an urn is usually what is suggested. They can cost $25 or over $1,000, depending on your needs.
Sometimes, cremation sites have packages to choose from so you do not have to individually itemize what you want. However, it is good to know the individual prices so you will know if the package is a good deal or just a package to make things easier.
Urns for dogs do not have regulations like urns for human beings. Why you can even buy an urn on Amazon.com, and they are much more affordable than the ones that might be purchased from a cremation facility.
Where Do I Cremate My Dog?
Cremation can be done on site at a Veterinary Hospital or at an outside facility.
- Deciding on a cremation facility is best done through your Veterinarian because he or she will know the process, provide you with the right questions to ask and know reputations based on relationships built over time.
- You can, though, research on line. The Better Business Bureau ranks business, Yelp offers reviews and rankings, and Google also offers consumer reviews and comments.
- It is always good to visit the site of cremation, just to be sure it is what you want.
You have decided on the type of cremation, the price you can afford and the container for the ashes of your dog, and where you will put the ashes. Your decisions will be based on your emotional needs.
Whatever you decide, listen only to your heart and do what is best for you and for those involved.