Pet Cremation: Questions You Should Ask

Determining the Right Provider

We make decisions daily as pet parents. What to feed them? Do I put them in daycare? When to take them for walks?

Unfortunately, when death occurs, one of the first decisions that needs to be made is if your pet should be cremated. Pet cremation is common among pet parents, but you may be one of the many who are unsure of the process or even the questions to ask.

Where to Start

If you have a veterinarian you trust start there. Some clinics actually perform the cremation process themselves. Others have a relationship with a crematory that handles their pet cremations. If they have a crematory do their cremations, feel free to ask them the name of the crematory.

Questions to Ask When it Comes to Pet Cremation

We’ve developed some questions that you can ask when considering pet cremation.

The Pet Cremation Process

How long does the pet cremation process take?
The process varies depending on the size of the pet. The pet cremation process can take anywhere from one hour to several hours for larger pets. Anything longer than this, ask why.

How long will it take for me to get my pet back?
The timeline can vary depending upon where the pet cremation process takes place.  If a veterinarian has a crematory on-site, then the pet cremation process may take place within 24 hours. However, the cremation may be done off-site, which is a common practice known as a third party cremation.  A third party crematory may only deliver on a set schedule. A week is acceptable, beyond should raise questions and you should ask why it takes longer.  A personalized urn may cause extra days for the urn to be delivered.

In what type of receptacle is my pet returned?
Can I buy an urn or other items to remember my pet?
If I buy an urn or other item, can my purchase be personalized?

How do I know I’m getting my pet back?
What checks and balances are offered to ensure that I am receiving my pet after cremation?

There have been instances where cremation is done for several pets at a time. It is important that you ask this question.

Am I allowed to spend some time with my pet before cremation?

Can I watch the procedure of placing my pet into the crematory to ensure that it is a private cremation and no other pets are included?
Is there an additional charge to watch or witness a pet cremation?

Do crematories have to be licensed or certified in the state for pet cremation?
Can I see any certificates earned by the crematory?
Are employees trained as well as the owner?
Are the crematory operators certified?

If I choose to do a communal or group pet cremation instead of private, what happens?
Do they scatter the ashes?

Where are the ashes scattered?
What happens to the ashes if they are not scattered?

The Cremation Facility

Can I inspect the crematory?
Any reputable crematory will have an open door policy. They should encourage their pet parents to visit and ask questions. Transparency is very important and a must! Whether a pet parent has one question or many, the process should be explained until the pet parent is completely satisfied with the answers concerning pet cremation.

If your veterinarian uses an a third party crematory, ask if the veterinarian has inspected the crematory that handles the clinic’s pet cremations. If they have not, feel free to ask them why.

Other Services

Are there other services provided by the crematory when doing pet cremations?
Some of these services include:

  • Private cremation
  • Individual cremation
  • Partitioned cremation
  • Communal cremation
  • Group or community pet cremations

Don’t hesitate to ask for an explanation of each of the services listed above.

Are there pet cremation packages of services offered?
If so, what is included in each package and what is the pricing?

We know that’s a lot to consider.  While we don’t handle pet cremation services, we’re happy to answer questions and point you in the right direct.  Feel free to ask us any questions you may have.

More on Pet Cremation

If you’d like more information on pet cremation, here’s some information you should check out:

Dog Cremation and Memorialization

Cat Cremation and Memorialization

Burying a Pet

Grieving for a Pet