Q. Are more pets cremated or buried today?
A. For several reasons, the majority of pets are cremated today. First, in many urban communities, laws and ordinances make it illegal for owners to bury their pets in the back yard. Now, cremation is an affordable and simple option that often did not exist in the past. Finally, with our society becoming so much more mobile, choosing cremation gives you the ability to take your pet's cremated remains with you if you move to another home.
Q. Is there only one type of pet cremation?
A. Unlike the human cremation profession, there is very little or no regulation when it comes to pet cremations. Thus, different providers might be using the same terminology but for different types of cremation services. Basically, there are 3 types of pet cremations.
- A "Private" cremation is a cremation procedure during which only one animal's body is present in the cremation chamber during the cremation process and the cremated remains of the pet are to be returned to its owner.
- A "Semi-Private" or also referred to as "Individual" or "Partitioned" is a cremation procedure during which more than one animal's body is present in the cremation chamber and the cremated remains of specfic pets are to be returned to the owner. Each pet will have its own private segrated section within the cremation chamber during the cremation process. This type of cremation procedure is what most pet crematories call a Private Cremation. Please note: Due to a number of factors and by virtue of multiple pets being cremated within the same chamber, active commingling of cremated remains can occur.
- A "Communal or Batch" is a cremation procedure where multiple pets are cremated together without any form of separation. These commingled cremated remains are not returned to the owners.
Because of the lack of regulation, it is important for you to ask your pet cremation provider what they mean when they use the terms like "private cremation" or "individual cremation".
Q.What is cremation?
A. This is a process where a pet is placed in a cremation chamber by crematory staff, and using a suitable fuel that will create intense heat and flame (1400 – 1800 degrees Fahrenheit) the body of the pet is reduced to basic compounds (calcium compounds). During the cremation process, it may be necessary to open the cremation chamber and reposition the remains of the animal in order to facilitate a complete and thorough cremation. Upon completion of the cremation, all substances are consumed or driven off, except bone fragments (calcium compounds) and metal other non-combustible materials, as the temperature is not sufficient to consume them. Due to the nature of the cremation process, any possessions or materials, such as collars or tags that are left with the animal and not removed prior to cremation may be destroyed or if not destroyed, will be disposed of by the Crematory in a non-recoverable manner.
Following a cooling period, the cremated remains shall be recovered by manual means, such as brushing, and industry-specific mechanical means, such as vacuuming, in order to retrieve the cremated remains from the cremation chamber. Although the Crematory will make a reasonable and prudent effort to remove all of the cremated remains from the cremation chamber, some dust and other residue from the process will be left behind. Depending on the cremation option, there may or may not be more commingling/mixing of cremated remains. Active commingling can occur between animals during the cremation and/or retrieval process when multiple animals are cremated together in the same chamber. This type of commingling can be minimized with effective partioning but it is impossible to assert that it can be eliminated entirely. Active commingling cannot, by definition, occur with a private cremation. However, while every effort will be made to avoid commingling, inadvertent or incidental commingling of minute particles of cremated remains from the residues of previous cremations is possible no matter what type of cremation option selected.
After the cremated remains are removed from the cremation chamber, the skeletal remains often will contain recognizable bone fragments. Unless otherwise specified, after the bone fragments have been separated from the other non-combustible material, they will be mechanically processed, pulverized. The process of crushing or grinding may cause incidental commingling of the remains with the residue from the processing of previously cremated remains. These granulated particles of unidentifiable dimensions, which are virtually unrecognizable as animal remains, will then be placed into a designated container based on the type of cremation identified above (Private, Semi-Private or Communal).
Q. Can my veterinarian help me with cremation for my pet?
A. Yes. People typically choose their veterinarians for their heroic life-prolonging or sustaining capabilities. Though many veterinarians have some knowledge of the cremation process, this is not their specialty. However, by using your local Pet Passages affiliate to handle your pets cremation, you can rest assured that you are getting a professional who has been highly trained and has extensive experience when it comes to cremation. Though your veterinarian has been a trusted advisor to you when it comes to your pet's health, it only makes sense to seek out the professional assistance of your trusted Licensed Pet Passages Affiliate when it comes to a pet's death care needs.
Q. How do I know I am going to get back my pet's cremated remains?
A. Most pet cremation providers do nothing to answer this often-asked question and in many cases your veterinarian can not answer this question with confidence either. However, a Pet Passages Licensed Affiliate uses the Pet Passages trade marked Secure Passages pet identification, tracking and chain of custody procedure coupled with our state of the art Pet Passages tracking software.
Our Secure Passages is most accurate and effective tracking procedure available anywhere and by using this system, a Pet Passages affiliate can provide you with absolute proof that you are receiving back your pet's cremated remains. Furthermore, if you desire, they can facilitate arrangements for you to be present at your pet's cremation for the ultimate peace of mind. To locate a Pet Passages affilated funeral home, please see the "Our Locations" tab on this web site.
Q. Do I have to purchase a casket for my pet's cremation?
A. No. Often family members will wrap their pet in a favorite blanket or some other personal article of meaning to the pet or family members.
Q. Are all pet crematories alike?
A. No. Most states do not regulate pet crematories. Thus, the quality of their facilities, services and staff can vary widely. What most pet owners don't realize is that the majority of pet cremation providers are not even located in their community.
Q. How long after my pet's death will it take to receive back the urn?
A. By using a Pet Passages Licensed Affiliate, you recieve a much quicker response when your pet dies either at your home or Vet's Clinic. Are affilaites are trained to respond immediately and will transfer your pet into their care right away. This means they can have your pet's cremated remains avaialble for return usually within 72 hours of recieving your pet.
This is not the same timeline for the standard pet cremation providers. Most of these standard providers are located faraway, which means, though not by choice, your Veterinarian professional will have to hold your pet at their facilities for upwards of a week until the standard cremation provider makes its next scheduled visit to your community. Then, it may be another week before the urn is ready for you to pick up.
Q. What if my pet dies at home or when my veterinarian is closed?
A. Our licensed affiliates generally have professional staff "on call" 24 hours a day. They realize that death comes at all hours on any given day. Thus, they are ready to respond immediately to take your pet into their care whenever you may need their services.
Q. Since there is very little regulation in the pet cremation industry, what should I be doing to make sure that my pet is being treated with respect and dignity?
A. We advise that you ask your Veterinarian, or the Cremation Provider directly if possible, three very important questions:
- Where is the crematory located? As mentioned above, most families are shocked to learn that their pet is going to be transported several hundred miles away.
- When will my pet be cremated and returned to me? Many are shocked to learn that their beloved pet is going to be held in a freezer at the Vet's facility for several days if not a week or more before they are picked up by a standard cremation provider. Then, it is going to be another week before their pet's cremated remains are ready for pickup.
- What do you mean when you say Private Cremation?
Q. Do most pet owners choose a "private" or "communal" cremation?
A. Just as cremation has gained in popularity over the last 2 decades, the preference has changed here as well. Fifteen years ago, only about 1 in 4 pet families chose "private cremation" - as most chose not to receive back their pet's cremated remains. Today, that ratio has flipped, as research indicates that today more than 70% of all pet families choosing cremation want their pet's cremated remains back.
Q. How much does cremation cost?
A. Pricing varies depending on your preferred type of cremation and the size of your pet. Please call one of our Licensed Affiliates who can give you specific pricing and answer any other questions you might have.
Q. Is an urn required and where do I get one?
A. Many pet cremation providers return your pet's cremated remains in a temporary container, often a tin can or cardboard box. However, Pet Passages understands the dignity and respect your pet's cremated remains deserve. Accordingly, we provide a very simple, yet dignified wooden urn in all of our cremation offerings. Although, many families choose to upgrade to an urn that speaks of their pet's life. Please visit our on-line Product Gallery on this website for a large assortment of memorial urns, jewelry, garden stones and other merchandise.