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When a pet’s aftercare is dealt with properly, with the same respect afforded to other family members, it reduces fears and concerns you may have throughout the time you are grieving, knowing that you ‘did the right thing’ by your pet.
What are your options?
Individual Cremation – your pet will be individually cremated- you will receive your pets ashes back.
You have the option to choose what pet crematorium you wish to use, or you can leave your vet to make the arrangements. Standards in most pet crematoriums are very good, although the level of service offered varies considerably. Most pet crematoriums cover a large area and therefore, can travel to your home or veterinary surgery to collect your pet. If you wish to make the arrangements yourself, you can contact a privately owned pet crematorium directly; you can find details of pet crematoriums on the Association of Private Pet Cemeteries & Crematoria.
Private or independent pet crematoriums usually return your pet's ashes within 24-48 hours. Arranging cremation via the vet usually means you will have a 1-3 week wait for your pet's ashes to be returned.
Communal Cremation – your pet will be cremated with other pets and you do not receive ashes back.
This is a cheaper option available if you do not wish to have your pet's ashes returned to you.
Home Burial – a pet may be buried at home provided you own the property or have permission from the owner to do so. With most home burials, pet carers underestimate how deep they should actually dig their pet’s grave, and many pets are placed in exceptionally shallow graves. If a pet is not buried in a conventional coffin, a paving stone or some other solid object should be placed on top of the grave to prevent the area from being disturbed by wildlife.
Pet Cemetery – there are several pet cemeteries throughout the country where you can have your pet buried. The location and accessibility of a pet cemetery are important if you intend to visit your pet’s grave on a regular basis. You should, where possible, visit the cemetery beforehand before deciding on the cemetery you wish to use, checking that the grounds are well maintained. Pet cemetery burials are more expensive than cremation and you will have to pay annual maintenance for the upkeep of the cemetery.
Woodland Burial - offers an eco-friendly and meaningful alternative to traditional pet cemetery burials. Woodland cemeteries are home to a range of wildlife and woodland plants, reinforcing the concept of the renewal of life. A young tree is planted on the site of the grave and the tree is tagged for identification. With this type of burial, pets and humans are often buried alongside one another.
Donate to science: Just as medical schools accept deceased human bodies for teaching and research, veterinary schools rely on animal bodies to teach animal anatomy and pathology and for further research through the Pet Memorial Programme. If this is something a pet carer wishes to consider, they should speak to their vet or contact their nearest veterinary school, who will provide all the necessary information on their teaching programme.
Taxidermy: There are some taxidermists who will be able to preserve a much loved family pet although we would recommend the pet owner to fully research this option first.
Our accredited members are familiar with the advantages and disadvantages of all aftercare options and can help to guide you before making your final decision.
The Association of Pet Bereavement Counsellors will officially launch in March 2024