Planning dog cremation is an emotional process, but preparations are key to save on costs and ensure a smooth process. This article will explore how much to cremate a dog costs, where to find dog cremation near you and how to shop for dog cremation urns, box and jewelry, and everything that comes with the process.
Table of Contents
- Dog Cremation Cost Breakdown
- Dog Cremation Step by Step Guide
Don't feel guilty if dog cremation cost is a big factor for you. We all want our dogs to pass The Rainbow Bridge in good health, but pet owners on a budget only have so much money to spend. Figuring out how much is it to cremate a dog in advance is a responsible thing to do.
Dog cremation isn't your only option; you can also legally bury your dog, but it's best to do your research ahead of time. Take into consideration where you live. Do you have enough room in your yard for a burial plot? Does your city have a pet cemetery? Are there certain times of the year when the ground is frozen in your region? We'll discuss these and other important questions below.
Dog Cremation Cost Breakdown
When to Start Planning for Dog Cremation?
If your dog has been diagnosed with a fatal illness, but they still have a good quality of life, this could be the time to start planning because there's no way to get around this. You may have weeks or months left with your dog, but you will never know for sure.
Another time to start planning is when your dog reached their geriatric years or entered into the end of “life expectancy” for their breed (which varies by breed). Sure, there are dogs that exceed their average life expectancy, but this would be a good time to start getting prepared nonetheless.
Because dogs instinctively begin to change their behavior when death is approaching, when you notice signs that your pet's health is failing, and this has been confirmed by a vet, you should start thinking about your options.
Signs of a dying dog may include changes in appetite, changes in thirst, changes in consciousness, lethargy, slowed breathing, and decreased interest in things the dog previously enjoyed. Studies show that signs your dog is dying are very typical, so in most cases, you'll notice them and be able to tell that your Fido is behaving differently.
Before you make any decisions, rule out all other causes. In the last days, it's prudent to visit your veterinarian to ensure that these things are not the result of any treatable illness. In senior dogs at the end of life expectancy, these are often signs of a preparation for death. As your dog begins making these “preparations,” so too should you.
How Much Does It Cost to Cremate a Dog?
Generally, pet owners should expect to pay between $75 and $250 for dog cremation costs depending on several variables. If you're on a tight budget, I recommend you locate nearest crematoriums and send them an email for an accurate price. Simply search for “dog cremation near me” – most cities have these services.
There are a few factors that go into figuring out how much to cremate a dog costs. Primarily, dog cremation cost will depend on your location, the company or service that you choose, the type of dog cremation procedure, and the size of your dog.
While dog cremation prices vary, you can expect to pay along the following price points:
|Private Cremation||Individual (Partitioned) Cremation||Communal Cremation|
Additional Dog Cremation Fees
Depending upon the type of pet cremation you choose as well as the facility you select, you may also be faced with additional dog cremation costs. Note that these numbers are averages, so don't be surprised if the actual price is slightly higher or lower.
$75 Witness Fee – This is for pet owners who wish to be present at their dog's private cremation process. Not all facilities will allow this, however, so check in advance if this is important to you.
$60 Transfer Fee – This is a fee for transferring your dog's remains to the crematorium. It may involve the crematorium picking up the dog’s remains from your home or from a veterinarian’s office. This fee usually only covers a select travel radius, so be sure inquire the place beforehand. The average travel radius is around 20 miles.
The above prices are only for the dog cremation service. Another additional cost you may want to consider if you want to keep your pet's remains at home instead of burying the dog in a pet coffin, is the cost of dog cremation urns or boxes.
Dog Cremation Urns
If you choose a private dog cremation service, or find a facility that offers partitioned individual cremation of pets, and you want to bring your dog’s ashes home, you will need to select a cremains (cremated remains) container for storing your pet's ashes.
Cremains containers are most often urns, decorative boxes or statues.
Prices on dog cremation urns and containers varies drastically since there is so much variety available. You can find containers that cost between $25 and well over $1000. Remember to include this additional expense if your goal is to figure out a full breakdown of how much does it cost to cremate a dog with everything included in the final package.
You can purchase dog cremation urns from the facility that performs the service. This may be more convenient but they're generally more expensive, too. For cheap dog cremation urns, Amazon and other online retailers offer good prices for great looking pet cremation urns for dogs – see some of the best dog cremation urns below.
|Perfect Memorials Large Bronze Dog in Basket...||222 Reviews||Check Price|
|Beautiful Life Urns Pawsitive Reflection Custom...||200 Reviews||Check Price|
|LifeSong Milestones Cremation Urns for Pets Small...||86 Reviews||Check Price|
|AngelStar 5-Inch Pet Urn for Dog (49555)||576 Reviews||Check Price|
|Best Friend Services Pet Urn - Ottillie Paws...||2,247 Reviews||Check Price|
Finally, if you want to commemorate your dying dog and don't mind the costs, the most expensive services do engravings on pet cremains urns and containers. I personally have never ordered from them, but you can take a look at websites like ForeverPets.com and MemorialGalleryPets.com – both of these are respected and trusted brands.
Unlike with human cremains urns, there are no rules for pets. Most dog cremation box options you'll purchase will be good for any dog, so the only consideration is the two or three sizes of the urn, as well as the style and design. Use your best judgement and honor your loyal companion with something special that you can afford.
Dog Cremation Jewelry
The last part of dog cremation cost and budgeting is something that's not essential but may help a pet owner feel better and remember their pup – dog cremation jewelry. These are essentially necklaces with funnel filler which allows you to store a tiny amount of your dog's ashes inside. Most of them can be customized so you can engrave a message, too.
Again, dog cremation necklace is likely sold by the crematorium or whichever dog cremation services you're using but may be slightly more expensive. For affordable options, some of the best dog cremation jewelry options can be found online, like these below:
|WINNICACA Cremation Jewelry Pet Urn Keepsake...||158 Reviews||Check Price|
|Aniu Dog Cremation Jewelry for Ashes, 925 Sterling...||140 Reviews||Check Price|
|Minicremation Cremation Jewelry Urn Necklace for...||679 Reviews||Check Price|
The above information will help you figure out how much to cremate a dog would cost in the end. But other than prices, you'll need to do a few more preparations: write down your points of contact, prices and prepayments. This will help you to stay on top of things when your mental clarity is tested.
Dog Cremation Step by Step Guide
Step 1: Choose a Dog Cremation Option
The first thing that you need to know is that you have three options when it comes to cremating a dog. Here's what available to you:
- Private dog cremation
- Individual dog cremation
- Communal dog cremation
Private cremation of a dog is a similar idea to human cremation. Your dog is cremated individually. If you choose to receive his ashes, then the ashes that you're getting will be those of only your dog.
Individual dog cremation is a process where pets are cremated in a larger cremation unit, but partitions are used to separate the pets from one another. Due to the way that this process works, however, if you choose to receive your dog’s ashes back, you may also get some ashes of other animals cremated at the same time in that unit.
Communal pet cremation is – yes, you guessed it – where multiple pets are cremated at once in one large cremation unit. This process results in all of the pets' ashes being commingled, so when choosing this option, ashes are not returned to you at all.
Step 2: How to Choose Dog Cremation Services
Every city has a selection of cat and dog cremation services and facilities that work with local veterinarians. You can easily Google “dog cremation services near me” to find a facility closest to you, or get a recommendation from your veterinarian.
A consultation with a veterinarian is highly recommended, however, for a few reasons. After discussing the process with your vet, you may have some questions about the facility that they recommend. You may also want to compare them to other places. Begin this process by jumping online and searching for local pet crematoriums.
Most locations have a website that offer basic information about their services. Don't be afraid to call the location to speak with someone directly about their dog cremation service and how much to cremate a dog costs at their place.
For example, I temporarily live in Los Angeles. I simply went online and search for “best pet crematorium near me” and got a bunch of applicable results. There's some known Paws Pet Cremation company, and there's a whole Yelp page dedicated to that. Try this.
You may want to visit the dog crematorium beforehand, and this isn't a bad idea. However, be aware that most places require you to call ahead and get the permission from someone at the facility instead of just showing up.
How do you know whether a crematorium is a right place for your pet to be cremated? A good crematorium will obviously be the one that has not been noted in the news or in any public records for their unethical pet cremation practices or questionable conduct. You'd be surprised how often dog cremation services have been dealing with the law.
Another thing to consider is that your dog's crematorium should be forthcoming with information about their pet cremation process. Look for a facility that has a good reputation in the veterinary community and one that makes you feel comfortable. This is why consulting with a vet (or even a few of them) is best.
Finally, since you're trying to figure out how much to cremate a dog costs so you calculate your expenses, remember to ask about the final prices, and any additional or hidden fees. Put those numbers into your budget; it may just come down to this in the end.
Step 3: Planning with the Pet Crematorium
When you have chosen a pet crematorium that you feel comfortable with, you want to ask them specific questions to find out more about their dog cremation process.
Feel free to bring in a list of the questions that you want to ask, including how much to cremate a dog costs in total. That way you won't forget anything if you begin to feel overwhelmed, which – from personal experience – definitely may happen.
Some questions you may want to ask of dog crematorium employees:
- How much does it cost to cremate a dog at their place in total?
- Are there any additional or hidden fees you should be aware of?
- Do they work directly with veterinarians, and if so, is your vet on the list?
- If they don't, are they willing to pick up your dog from your vet?
- Will the crematorium pick up your dog's remains if he passes away at home?
- If they will, do they have any specific pick up days and hours?
- How long will they hold your dog’s remains before cremating him?
- How long will the whole dog cremation procedure take?
- How long before you can pick up your pet's ashes to take home?
- Do they offer a selection of cremains urns or containers?
- Can you use a pet cremains container that you bought yourself?
- If you are not asking for your pet’s ashes back after your dog has been cremated, where will the ashes be spread? Is this a location that you can visit?
These are just some sample questions that you should inquire about, but make sure to write down anything else that comes to your mind and don't be shy about asking. Be as thorough as you can with these questions, and particularly when it comes to discussing how much is dog cremation at their place and any additional fees or charges.
Asking plenty of right questions will help you to get a better picture of whether the dog cremation facility you have chosen is right for you. This process will also help you to make a more detailed written plan should someone help you with the end of life process.
Step 4: Consult with Your Veterinarian
Once you have figured out how much does it cost to have a dog cremated in total, and have written down a full plan of action for your pet’s cremation process, it is important to talk to your veterinarian about the choices you're making for your canine. This will let your vet know ahead of time what your plan is.
Discussing this with a vet will also help them to collaborate with the dog crematorium you have chosen if your pet undergoes euthanasia. These dog cremation and euthanasia services are often called “End of Life Service” and you can pick them separately, or alongside the whole cremation procedure. Your vet will give you more details on this.
With all the above in mind, it's best to make a full copy of your plan of action – including the pet crematorium of your choice, the specific type of dog cremation services you pick, how much dog cremation is going to cost you and any other details. Show this to your veterinarian so they can keep it in your personal client file, and have it ready.
When consulting your vet about cremating a dog, ask them if there is anything you have neglected in your plan or if there is something else that they would recommend covering.
There are two common questions that tend to come up at this time:
- “How do I know that the ashes I get back will be that of my pet?”
- “What do I do if my dog dies at home of natural causes?”
This is something that's on every pet owners mind, so vets usually have answers to these types of questions. But in case you're wondering, here's what it is.
“How do I know that the ashes I get back will be that of my pet?”
Probably the most frequently asked question of vets when it comes to the dog cremation process is about the integrity of the ashes that are returned. This is a question that people are often afraid to ask of the crematoriums, so they consult their vet instead.
The answer isn't the one you that you wish to hear, unfortunately: there's no way to be sure that the ashes that you get back are those of your pet. The best option is to select well reviewed and reputable dog cremation services that have a great reputation. If your vet and others are using a particular service, it is usually the safest way to go.
“What do I do if my dog dies at home naturally?”
This is a major concern for many pet owners, but it shouldn’t be. Statistics show that only around 10% of dogs pass away naturally at home. However, if this does happen, you'll still want to know what you should do and who you should call.
So if you discover that your dog has passed away during your vet’s business hours, you can choose to take him to the vet’s office where they can follow your arrangement plan to a letter. Your vet will also be able to hold your dog's remains until they can be picked up by the pet crematorium you chose.
If you discover that your canine has passed away outside of your vet’s business hours, you can take him to a local emergency vet clinic. The process is identical, and they can also hold your pet’s remains until those can be picked up by your chosen cremation services.
A third option in this circumstance is to call an in-home pet euthanization service – “End of Life Services” – to pick up your dog’s remains and take them to your chosen crematorium.
And finally, the fourth option you have in this situation is to have the dog crematorium pick up your pet’s remains directly from you, but only if this is a service that they offer.
Step 5: When Dog Cremation Time Comes
You've put together a solid action plan, you know how much to cremate a dog costs and all additional fees, you've consulted with your vet and you're ready. So when the time comes to carry out your dog’s cremation plan, keep a copy of that plan on hand.
Your vet should already have a same copy in your personal file, so if you are taking your pet to the vet’s office for euthanasia or for dropping off their remains, remind them that they have your plan with all the details on dog cremation services and so on.
This will take the pressure off you to remember your plan or think the process through during a very emotional time. If you are having your dog euthanized, remind the vet receptionist of your plan before the procedure and pay ahead of time for their services.
If you have your pet picked up from your home, provide a copy of your requests to the individual picking up your dog. Understanding how much to cremate a dog is important, but it will be the last thing you're thinking about when the time actually comes.
The payment policy for pet crematoriums will vary by location, but it is strongly encouraged that you pay for your dog's cremation services ahead of time. This will avoid any additional stress during this or later tough times. If you do not pay ahead of time for pet cremation, make sure that you are familiar with their payment process.
A Case for Considering Dog Cremation
While some people choose dog burial so that they can keep their pet’s remains in their backyard per tradition, this is not legal everywhere. Local laws can prevent pet burial in specific zoning areas.
When this is the case, you can choose to bury your dog at a pet crematory, but know that the dog burial process is far more expensive than cremation. Not only do you have to pay for a pet casket for your pooch and for the whole burial service, but you must also pay for a plot of land in which to bury your dog.
If you've been blown away by how much to cremate a dog costs, you're probably going to be shocked by some of these prices on how much it costs to bury a dog.
For example, the average cost of a burial plan for a pet in the US is between $1,500 and $2,000 (on the lower end). This compares to a cost of under $700 for an extra large dog’s cremation, a witnessing fee, a transfer fee, and a $300 urn with some change to spare!
Cremating a dog means that you can spread your dog’s ashes in a place that he loved, or you can keep him close by displaying his urn in your home. Obviously (barring taxidermy) this cannot be done with non-cremation situations!
The dog cremation cost may be outweighed by the benefits that it will offer, but it's whatever makes you feel better and remember your loyal canine companion for many years to come.
READ NEXT: Top 8 Best Dog Memorial Stones