The Final Goodbye: Arranging for Pet Cremation or Burial


“Burying a pet is very similar to burying a human,” Martin says. Pets are cleaned, placed in a casket and brought to a viewing room, where owners can say a final goodbye before the casket is carried to the burial plot. “We try to provide the best service we can for our clients,” says Martin. “We want them to feel better when they leave Hartsdale than when they arrived.”

Established in 1896 and housed on more than five acres, Hartsdale is the oldest operating pet cemetery in the world. It is the final resting place for about 80,000 animals, including everything from rabbits, ferrets and birds to gerbils, hamsters, snakes and even a lion cub.

Burial costs depend on the size of the pet, the location of the plot, and the type of casket and grave marker selected. Costs usually range from $1,500 to about $2,000.

Some owners may prefer to bury their pet in their backyard or somewhere else close to them, but this isn’t always the best option for legal, environmental and other reasons. Owners who want to pursue a home burial should talk with their veterinarian.

Factors to Consider

There are a number of factors involved in choosing how to memorialize a deceased pet. As when a person dies, deciding how to handle a pet’s remains is an individual decision. “Budget is a factor,” Martin says. “But it’s certainly not the only factor.”

According to Martin, some pet owners choose cremation simply because it’s their preference. “Others choose cremation because it’s the less expensive option,” he says, “especially for pet owners who have already expended a great deal of money in caring for a sick pet.”

Sometimes the decision is influenced by family or religious custom. Some pet owners want to have the funeral experience for their pets. Others find comfort in having their pet’s remains at home with them.

“Whatever decision owners make is the right one for them,” Martin says. “By providing respectful, caring and compassionate aftercare services, we allow pet owners to concentrate on what matters most—grieving for their beloved pet.”

Read more Vetstreet articles about grief and losing a pet.

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