Pet Cremation

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How can I be sure that I will correctly get my pet’s ashes back?

Reputable and responsible pet cremation providers use a tracking system to prevent identification mistakes from happening during the cremation process. The tracking system typically involves a tag with a unique number. The tag is assigned upon receipt of the body, and is not separated from the body throughout the entire cremation process. Keeping the tag and the remains together throughout the process ensures that the ashes of the right pet are returned to the correct owner.

What questions do I need to ask when looking for a place to help me with my pet’s cremation?

• Do you offer individual cremation as well as communal cremation?
• Will I receive the remains back?
• Do you have a system in place for tracking my pet’s remains throughout the entire cremation process?
• What services are included and what services cost extra?
• May I tour the facility?
• May I be present at the time you cremate my pet?
• Are you licensed with the State to perform cremations?
• Are you 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?
• Can you provide references?
• What other products and services do you carry? Do you sell cremation urns and other products designed for storage or burial of the cremated remains?

What questions do I need to ask when looking for a place to help me with my pet’s cremation?

• Do you offer individual cremation as well as communal cremation?
• Will I receive the remains back?
• Do you have a system in place for tracking my pet’s remains throughout the entire cremation process?
• What services are included and what services cost extra?
• May I tour the facility?
• May I be present at the time you cremate my pet?
• Are you licensed with the State to perform cremations?
• Are you 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?
• Can you provide references?
• What other products and services do you carry? Do you sell cremation urns and other products designed for storage or burial of the cremated remains?

Can a pet and a human be cremated using the same vessel?

No. It is illegal for crematories to mix the use of vessels between human and animal cremation.

Can funeral homes offer pet cremation services as well?

Yes. However, there are strict regulations that prohibit cremating animals and humans using the same equipment.

What size urn do I need?

You will need to choose the urn based on the pre-cremation weight of your pet. Most companies that sell urns will be able to provide some guidelines as to the size you need for a particular style. While not exact, this should give you an approximate idea of the size you will need.

We have always considered our pets as part of the family and included them in many of our family rituals and celebrations. When a pet dies, is it acceptable for us to do some of the same rituals we would observe with other deaths in our family?

Absolutely. Your pet brought love, enjoyment, and companionship into your life. When the time comes to say your final good-bye, you want to honor the relationship you had with your beloved companion in a way that is both meaningful and appropriate to your family. The ritual or observance you choose can be as unique and personally significant as you desire.

What is Alkaline Hydrolysis and how does it differ from the “regular” method of cremation?

Alkaline hydrolysis, also known as “aquamation,” uses a combination of water, lye, high temperature (around 320 °F), and high pressure to reduce the body to its chemical components. After the process is complete, what remains is a liquid and soft, porous bone fragments. The liquids are dispersed in accordance with local environmental regulations, and the solid materials are processed into a whitish dust (“ash”) which is returned to the owner.

Alkaline hydrolysis for pets is legal in every state. It is currently legal for humans in 7 states.

Thermal cremation is the “traditional” method, and is much more widespread. It involves incineration at high temperatures. This process uses a combination of high-temperature burning, vaporization, and oxidation, which reduces the body to its basic chemical compounds. During this process, any organic matter (such as tissue and bone) is converted to gases and mineral fragments that resemble dry bone.

Unlike alkaline hydrolysis, there are no liquids produced as an end product. The dry mineral fragments are processed to the consistency of a granular powder and are known as “cremated remains” or “ashes”, and are then returned to the owner.

Are there other ways that pets can be cremated?

Alkaline hydrolysis is another type of pet cremation that is currently offered by a few pet cremation providers. This method of cremation uses a combination of water, lye, high temperature (around 320 °F), and high pressure to reduce the body to its chemical components. After the process is complete, what remains is a liquid and soft, porous bone fragments. The liquids are dispersed in accordance with local regulations, and the solid materials are processed into a whitish dust (“ash”) which is returned to the owner.

What decisions will need to be made for my pet’s final arrangements?

You will need to first decide whether you want to bury or cremate your pet. If you choose cremation, you will need to decide if you want communal cremation or individual cremation. You will also want to give some thought as to whether you want to keep the ashes permanently in an urn, or scatter them.

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