Money is the last thing in the world that you want to think about after you’ve lost your best friend, but unfortunately, something has to be done with your dog’s remains.
In most cases, that means having them cremated — and that process isn’t free. It’s just one more thing that you’ll have to deal with at one of the worst moments in your entire life.
That’s why it’s important to have some idea of the costs that you’ll incur before the dreaded moment arrives. This allows you to make all important decisions with a clear head and heart, rather than being vulnerable to getting swindled by disreputable cremation companies.
In the guide below, we’ll walk you through what to expect from this entire process.
How Much Does It Cost to Cremate a Dog?
Before we can answer this, we should make it clear that “cremation” isn’t one single process.
There are other factors that affect the cost of cremation as well. For instance, some private cremations allow you to be present during the ceremony — for an additional fee. Also, many companies price by weight, so it will be less expensive to cremate a Chihuahua than a Great Dane.
You may also be charged a transfer fee for transporting the body from your home or the vet’s office to the crematory.
All told, the costs of cremation can range from $75 to $150 for a communal or individual cremation or as much as $700 for a private one.
Are There Any Other Costs That I Should Know About?
Just like with human funerals, the companies that handle end-of-life services for dogs will take every opportunity to try to upsell you on all sorts of things.
The biggest expenditure is likely to be an urn in which to keep your dog’s remains. They can be sold for as little as $25, but some higher-end ones cost well into the hundreds of dollars. Remember, though, that you can always buy an urn somewhere else, and it will likely be significantly less expensive.
You may also be offered the chance to buy a memorial for your pet. These can be plaster molds of your dog’s paw or elaborate plaques or headstones commemorating their lives. As a result, the cost of these memorials can vary wildly.
Some crematories offer burial plots or mausoleum niches in which to inter your dog’s ashes. These may be preferable options to scattering the ashes, especially if you live in a highly populated area, but they also tend to be quite expensive. Just how expensive will depend on the facility that you use.
Are There Any Alternatives to Pet Cremation?
If you’re not comfortable with the idea of having your beloved pet cremated, there are a few other alternatives that you can consider.
The most traditional, of course, is burying the body. However, burying an animal isn’t legal everywhere, and many big cities forbid the practice.
You should also be careful about where and how you bury the body, as the remains could start to smell after a few weeks. Not only is that a horrific reminder of your loss, but it may also attract scavengers that will try to dig up the body. That’s not something you want to deal with.
A new option that’s gaining in popularity is called “aquamation.” It involves decomposing the body in a gentle but accelerated manner using a combination of specific water temperature and alkalinity. Bodies can decompose in as little as 24 hours using this method, and the remains are completely sterile, making this a very “green” form of disposal.
Cremation is likely to remain the most popular form of disposal for quite some time, but aquamation may quickly gain on it in terms of popularity. We’d urge you to think twice about burial, though, unless you can be certain that your dog’s body will stay securely interred.
What’s the Best Way to Scatter My Dog’s Ashes?
If you choose not to keep your dog’s remains in an urn or other receptacle, then you may want to scatter them instead. However, you shouldn’t do this just anywhere — there are several things to think about when choosing a dispersal spot.
First, do your research. It’s not legal to scatter ashes just anywhere, so check the laws in your area to find out what’s okay and what’s not.
Typically, it’s fine to scatter them over private property with the owner’s permission. Most public lands prohibit scattering them into bodies of water, but it’s usually fine to release them into the wind.
There are different methods of scattering as well. Some examples include burying them in a small hole, placing them in a biodegradable urn, or raking them into the ground. Some well-to-do owners have even launched their dog’s ashes into space.
Ultimately, the best place to release your dog’s ashes is somewhere that was special to both of you. This could be a favorite hiking trail, a secluded beach spot, or simply your backyard. Ask yourself where you think that your dog would be happiest to spend eternity, and do your best to leave them there.
It’s Never Easy to Say Goodbye
The pain of losing a dog can be debilitating, and it’s almost enough to make you swear off pet ownership entirely. However, the good times that you spent with your pup will almost certainly outweigh the pain of having to say goodbye.
If you plan for the end ahead of time, it will make those traumatic final days much easier to navigate. Hopefully, this guide will help you make a decision as to how to store your dog’s remains, so you can focus your attention where it belongs: on your best friend.
Featured image credit: Monika Draaisma, Shutterstock