Anyone who’s experienced the death of a beloved dog knows how heartbreaking it is when you have to say goodbye, and decide what to do with your cherished dog’s remains.
Making end-of-life plans for your dog can be emotional, and while it's tough to think about, the more information you have now will ease the burden when it’s time to make hard decisions.
Learn how to decide between dog cremation or burial, along with important details like dog cremation price and process.
Dog burial and cremation: what you need to know
Can you cremate a dog?
Yes, you can cremate a dog and most pets, even horses.
How much does it cost to cremate a dog?
When it comes to the dog cremation price, it varies depending on the size of the dog, the type of cremation, and location. On average, most dog cremations cost from $30 for small dogs in a communal cremation to around $250 for large dogs in a private cremation. This makes the price of dog cremation significantly more affordable than burial, with options depending on your budget.
How do they cremate dogs?
The dog cremation process is no different than cremating human remains — the body is put in a cremation chamber, and intense heat reduces it to bone fragments and ash. The amount of ashes left afterward depends on the size of the dog, but the ashes will be roughly 3–4% of their body weight.
There are three different dog cremation methods that you can choose from — communal, divided, or private.
- Communal dog cremation: In this type of dog cremation, several animals are cremated together as a group in one crematorium. During a group dog cremation process, the ashes of each animal are co-mingled, meaning you won’t be able to get the ashes of your dog afterward. This is best for people who don’t plan on saving the ashes as a memorial and is usually the most affordable dog cremation option. Cost depends on size of the dog and location, but averages between $30 and $70.
- Divided: The second type of dog cremation is similar to a communal cremation, except dividers keep each animal separate from each other to reduce the chances of co-mingled ashes. Because multiple animals enter the chamber at once, this is not as expensive as a private cremation and is in the mid-range of dog cremation pricing. Cost depends on the size of the dog and location, but averages between $50 and $150.
- Private: The final, and most expensive, dog cremation method is individual cremation. This means that your dog is cremated alone, and you are guaranteed only to receive ashes from your dog. Cost depends on dog size and location, but the approximate starting cost is $175.
Is it better to cremate or bury my dog?
When it comes to tending to the body of your dog, your two main options are burial or cremation. While in the past people would often bury their dogs in their yard, this practice is not as common today. It’s illegal in most urban places and isn’t an option at all for renters or people without yards. There are also negative environmental impacts to consider, such as embalming chemicals contaminating the ground, and using land that could serve other purposes.
Where can I bury my dog?
Dog burials in dog cemeteries are options in some cities. If you choose to bury your dog, you’ll want to find a dog cemetery that’s in a convenient location for you to visit as often as you wish. Check with your veterinarian for recommendations, or browse this list of dog cemeteries in the United States.
Keep in mind that dog burials can get expensive because you need to pay for a dog casket, a burial service, and even the plot of land they are buried in. In fact, the average cost of burial for dogs in the US begins at $400 and goes up from there, depending on the size of the dog and type of casket.
If the high cost or the idea of visiting a dog cemetery to commune with your special pup isn’t appealing, then cremation might be your answer.
Do you get your dog’s ashes back?
Another benefit of cremation over a burial is that you have the option to keep the remains. If you choose a private or divided cremation, the ashes will be returned to you. Memorialize your pup during a dog funeral, then do something special with their ashes. There are many unique things to do with ashes these days — have them mixed into a painting of your beloved dog, press them into jewelry, or if you really want to go big, use the ashes in a commemorative tattoo. If you and your dog often enjoyed nature walks together, you may find comfort in the idea of having your ashes spread together under a tree in a memorial forest.
How much is it to keep your dog’s ashes?
The return of your dog’s cremated ashes is usually included in the price of the cremation, although some crematoriums may charge separate shipping fees. You may choose to keep your dog’s ashes in an urn, box, made into jewelry, or embedded in their favorite toy — each option has a separate cost.
How long does it take to cremate a dog?
The time it takes for dog cremation depends on the size of your dog. Small pups and toy dogs can take 45 minutes or less, while large breed dogs usually take several hours. It may be 1-3 weeks between the time of your dog’s passing to the time you receive their ashes, depending on the crematorium.
Can favorite dog toys also be cremated?
Most crematoriums won’t cremate plastic dog toys or blankets with your dog because it puts their equipment at risk. However, you may be able to get permission to cremate a small scrap of a blanket with your dog, especially if it’s made from natural fibers.
Can dogs and humans share a final resting place?
At Better Place Forests, people choose to have their ashes spread by a tree in one of our memorial forests for a variety of reasons. Some choose ash spreading in a protected forest because of the positive environmental and conservation benefits, while others make the choice due to a deep spiritual connection to nature, and some simply want to leave a beautiful lasting legacy for their families to enjoy. Learn how ash spreading in a memorial forest works, here.
For dog lovers, one of the benefits of choosing a final resting place in our forests is that we allow your dog’s ashes to be spread around your memorial tree, keeping you together forever. We believe that your dogs are part of the family and should be treated as such, even after death.
If you’d like to find out how you can spend eternity with your beloved dog in a protected forest, book a free online forest tour with one of our advisors today.