Frequently Asked Questions About Pet Cremation and Pet Burial

 

If you have a question you would like answered then please send it to us via our contact page. 

What are my options for the cremation of my pet?

There are two forms of cremations.

Individual cremation is carried out in the way you would expect a human cremation to be performed. Your pet is placed alone in the enclosed cremation chamber. You are welcome to attend the cremation if you wish where you will be able to see the chamber has been scrupulously cleaned of any remains from the previous cremation. At the end of the cycle your pet’s remains will be removed with the same meticulous care and prepared and packaged as you wish. See more information on Individual Pet Cremation.

Communal cremation is just as respectful. Several pets are placed side by side for the start of the cremation period. As the cremation finishes their remains are pushed to the back of the chamber and other pets are placed side by side. This goes on during the day and the next morning all the remains are scrupulously collected and taken to a depository in the pet cemetery. This is filled in layers over a number of years and eventually becomes a memorial shrub bed. It is a permanent resting place for your pet’s remains. See more information on Communal Pet Cremation.

You have options on collection of your pet or you may bring your pet to us. You may have an attended individual cremation and take the ashes home with you. We will always try to accommodate any wishes you have for you pet’s cremation. That is what we are here for.

What are my options for the burial of my pet?
We provide two forms of burial in our pet cemetery.

The first is a formal burial in a plot marked by a headstone, plaque or full memorial with surrounds. Your pet will normally be buried in a coffin unless you have another preference. There is an annual maintenance fee for the upkeep of the Cemetery payable each year for as long as you wish to keep the plot. We never remove any remains from the Cemetery and once plots are given up the headstones are removed and the plot reused or the new one moved to one side. Any remains are reburied at a lower depth.

The second is a green burial in a plot marked by a shrub and a small plot marker. The burial is carried out with the plot wrapped in a shroud or your own blanket or bed if you prefer. Again, there is a Cemetery maintenance fee payable each year to allow visiting.

Both burials are normally carried out in an informal manner although you may have your own service if you wish. You will be able to see your pet before the burial if you wish.

The Cemetery is always open for visiting and you may do so whenever you wish. You do not need an appointment to visit your grave.

How do I know I am getting my pet's ashes back?

This is our most asked question. There are two aspects to this. Firstly that your pet is placed alone in the cremation chamber and, secondly, that all the remains are scrupulously collected and nothing is lost after the cremation has finished. Without the second part, the first is meaningless which is why it is so misleading when pet crematoriums state that they can guarantee it is your pet’s ashes because they only do individual cremations. It all comes down to the integrity and thoroughness of the operator.

After the cremation, we rake all the remains (which consist of brittle bone fragments) into a tray and then sweep all the visible remains from the hearth. We carefully check the hearth by shining a bright light over it which will often show bits that cannot be seen under normal lighting. If there is any spillage that is also swept up so nothing is lost. We then process the remains into a fine ash and that machinery is dismantled and brushed out so that no remains are left behind. The processing is one area that many places do not bother cleaning but it can leave a substantial amount of ash unless attended to.

Identification is a crucial aspect. The duplicate part of the form that has your details and that you sign, or is filled in on your behalf by your vet, stays with your pet from the collection, is attached to the cremation unit during cremation and is placed with the ashes after cremation. It never leaves your pet until the ashes have been packed, placed ina labelled box and are ready for collection.

This is all within the letter and spirit of the Trading Standards law and the code of the Association of Private Pet Cemeteries and Crematoria. The independent inspection we have put ourselves through with the APPCC checks all these points which is why we are so passionate about promoting the APPCC standards. There are few places in the country willing to submit themselves to this level of scrutiny.

How much does it cost to have a pet cremated?

This will depend on the type of cremation you want, the size of your pet and what you would like to happen with the ashes.

A communal cremation is the least expensive and will be between £38 and £92. Your pet is carefully handled at all times, placed side by side with other pets in the chamber with the ashes going to the Pet Cemetery. Find out about Communal Pet Cremations.

Individual pet cremations can range from £113 to £211 with our simplest options for the presentation. We have 19 different options at the moment and these all vary in price. It is best to see everything on our Individual Cremation page. All the prices for the different options include the cremation cost and the presentation. VAT is included in all the prices.

You may also have a fur cutting, which is free of charge, or a paper or clay paw print at £26 each. We also have a range of keepsakes for small amounts of ash or fur.

Can I witness the cremation of my pet?

Yes, you can. You need to book a scheduled appointment for the cremation which will need to be in the morning. This is to allow time to have the ashes ready for you to take home but also to ensure the chamber is cool enough so that you do not see any ignition. There is a £52 charge for the scheduled appointment.

On the day you may have some time with your pet in our reception before we take you down to the crematorium. Your pet will be placed onto a trolley and you may say a final goodbye if you wish. The process is very simple. We open the door of the unit, you will be able to see it is completely swept out and we will gently slide or place your pet onto the hearth. The door is then closed and the cremation may begin. The inside of the unit simply looks like a kiln ( or, as many people describe it, a pizza oven!).

Most people are happy with this but you may return to see the remains swept out of the unit and even stay as they are prepared to a fine ash and packed into your casket or urn. The choice is yours. Obviously, precautions have to be taken for protection against heat and dust if you wish to view any more than the start of the cremation.

Our attended cremations are exactly that and might be very different to others services you may have attended at other crematoriums. Some people are surprised to be able to see the inside of the chamber but that is where you get the reassurance that we do everything properly. At other places an attended may be where you wait in one room and they take your pet into another area or you your pet going through a door via a video screen. If the people are not showing you the full clean chamber where your pet is to be cremated then you should question what is going on.

All the details are on our web page about immediate and attended pet cremations.

 

How long does it take before I get my pet's ashes back?
This depends on how you arrange the cremation.

If you have a scheduled or attended cremation then the ashes will be ready for you to take home the same day. It takes about 1 and a half to 2 hours to have everything ready for a cat or miniature dog. About 3 hours for a medium-sized dog and between 4 and 6 hours for a large or giant dog. We only have scheduled appointments in the morning to allow enough time to get everything carried out. there are variable in this such as if you decide on a paw print before the cremation or you choose keepsakes or an option that takes a long time to prepare. We will let you know the approximate time when you contact us with the details.

If you bring your pet to us for the cremation then we will normally have everything ready either the next day or the day after depending on the time you come in.

If we are collecting from your home and returning the ashes to you then it depends on whether you wish to pay for us to make a specific journey or whether we can deliver on one of our scheduled runs. We will normally deliver within 4 days of collection.

If you are arranging a cremation through one of our partner vets and wish to use our free collection and delivery service then the normal times are;
Collection on a Monday or Tuesday – Return of ashes to the surgery on Thursday or Friday
Collection on a Thursday or Friday – Return of ashes to the surgery on Monday or Tuesday.
Changes have to made to accommodate Public holidays but we always try to ensure you have your pet’s ashes home within a week of being given your instructions.
This will depend on payment being made before delivery. Although in the past we have always invoiced after the ashes have been delivered this has led to an enormous debt problem for us. Sadly we now have to ask for payment to be made before the ashes are delivered. We send an invoice to you as soon as we have the instructions but you may wish to contact us as soon as you have made arrangements to ensure everything can be carried out to schedule.

This is a general guide and we will always carry out the cremation and have the ashes ready for you as quickly as we can. If you have any special requests for timings then just let us know.

Can I bury my pet at home?
The simple answer is yes with one exception and that applies to whether or not your pet is considered a hazard to human health after it dies. This will only occur in a very few cases where your pet has died of a notifiable disease that is a threat to others. This is the only time your vet is permitted to retain your pet and not allow you to take him or her home.

Pets come under the Animal By-Products Regulations after they die. The legislation states that all animals must be incinerated or cremated with the exception that pet animals may be buried in accordance with regulations. This means they have to be buried in a site that is approved under the Regulations. Pet cemeteries fall into this category but can still function as proper cemeteries. The exception to this is that a pet may be buried in the property that it lived in. Therefore it is quite alright to bury in your own garden but you are not allowed to bury your pet in, say, a friend’s garden. Of course having more than one home creates a bit of a grey area and in theory it should be the property the pet was living in when it died. However, we feel it is unlikely that any fuss would be made over that distinction. Of course, you should always bury responsibly at a reasonable depth of one metre. The grave should be kept away from any water courses.