Choosing a Pet Cremation Service

The latest statistics indicate there are currently more than 1,300 pet cremation providers throughout the United States. This explosive growth stands in amazing contrast to just a decade ago.   As the demand for pet cremation continues to grow, a steady stream of new providers joins the ranks each year.

This is good news for pet parents who are looking for quality pet cremation services. You now have more access to cremation resources, more local options, and more choices than ever before.

If you are considering cremation, you can become a better informed consumer by knowing what questions to ask and what to expect from a pet cremation provider. Understanding a few important details can go far in preventing misunderstandings and avoiding disappointment in the services you receive.

Using a Veterinarian for Pet Cremation

A lot of people assume that a veterinarian who performs euthanasia also has the facilities to perform on-site cremations. In reality, the vast majority of vets outsource the cremation to an independent crematory which handles the pet cremation and final disposition of the cremated remains. The crematory may be either located nearby, or up to several hundred miles away.

Some pet parents mistakenly assume that they are required to use the company that their vet has contracted with for pet cremation. In reality, you may prefer to research and make your own decision on which pet cremation service you want to use.

Search our National Directory to find a pet cremation service near you.

10 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Pet Cremation Service

  1. Do they offer private cremation as well as communal cremation? This is important to know if you want your pet to be cremated alone, rather than in a group of other animals, as you get only your pet’s ashes back if they are cremated privately. You can learn more about private and group cremation here: Private vs. Group Pet Cremation – Understanding the Different Types of Pet Cremation.
  2. Will you receive your pet’s cremated remains back? In most cases, private cremation is the only way you can get only your pet’s remains back. Because of this, the cost is higher.
  3. If you choose a group or semi-private cremation and do not get your pet’s cremated remains back, ask what they do with the ashes. Do they scatter them or dispose of them in some other way?
  4. Do they have a system in place for tracking your pet’s remains throughout the entire cremation process?   Many providers use a tracking system (typically an indestructible tag with a unique number) to ensure that the ashes of the pet are returned to the rightful owner. If the answer is “No,” be aware that lack of a tracking system creates more potential for mistakes.
  5. What services are included and which services cost extra? For example, there may be additional charges for them to pick up your pet at your house or for weekend or after hours services.
  6. Can you visit their facilities? If the answer to this question is “No,” treat this as a red flag also.
  7. Can you be present at the time your pet is cremated? If this is important for your own peace of mind, ask if they will schedule an appointment for you to view your pet’s cremation in person. A “No” answer indicates that you should proceed with caution and learn as much as you can before committing to this provider.
  8. Are they licensed with the State to perform cremations?
  9. Are they members of any industry organizations, such as Pet Loss Professionals Alliance, the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association, and the Cremation Association of North America? Membership in one or more of these organizations may be a good sign of their commitment to maintaining industry standards in their individual practices.
  10. Are they able to provide references?

In addition to asking direct questions, go online and do some reputation checking on you own. Does the company belong to the Better Business Bureau? Have they had any complaints against them? Internet searches and online business review sites such as Yelp may also contain informative reviews from past customers.

Take the time to ask questions and make sure you understand the answers. This is your key to ensuring that your wishes will be respected and your pet’s remains are treated with the respect and dignity you expect.