The loss of a pet can be one of the most devastating experiences that anyone can go through. The emotional experience covers a gamut of grief, from anger and confusion to depression. During a time of loss, we often feel powerless, and sometimes the last thing that we want to do is to make decisions about the burial of our little loved one.
We can take some control by honoring our beloved one by giving their memory the love and care that they shared with us in life. You will need to know the information so that you can make the burial decision that is right for your pet.
Memorializing your pet is a very personal decision, fraught with sensitivity and tears. We have included the details to help you and your family with this journey, from pet loss gifts to grave markers, pet urns, and burial options.
Pet Burials Overview
Selecting a burial for your pet is a choice that is both painful and necessary. While it may be the last thing that you want to think about, choosing the one that is right for you and your pet requires that you be aware of the pros and cons of each burial option.
Laying your Pet to Rest at Home
- Pros: Some choose to bury their pets on their property and will even plant gardens, trees, or flowers as a remembrance of the love that all shared. This is often an excellent way for family members to get through their grief as it is a place that is both heartfelt and private. You can memorialize your pet with a customized pet grave marker as a reminder, and they act as a kind of comfort for your visit.
- Cons: Times have changed regarding laws allowing pet burials on your land. The legalities are both complicated and state/local specific, and you will need to research whether you can bury your pet at home as well as any rules or guidelines that you must follow. The changes in laws were required for health and cautionary reasons. Care must be noted for your area, weather conditions such as flooding, and that the grave is deep enough to avoid animal intrusion. Making the choice of a location must ensure that it doesn’t infringe on anyone else’s property. You must also remember that if you and your family move, the grave will be left behind.
What you need to know about at Home Pet Burials
While it’s difficult enough to experience the heartache and loss of your pet, if you choose home burial, there are some essential considerations that you need to consider.
- You will need to confirm whether your state/local laws allow you an at-home burial.
- You and your family will want to talk about whether you want to cremate or not.
- The location of the burial site will be critical to ensure that it is on your property and doesn’t infringe on any other land.
- You will need to confirm the depth of the area that you will need to dig to ensure that the gravesite isn’t disturbed by other animals.
- Take into consideration the kind of weather conditions that could cause a gravesite disturbance such as flooding.
- Choose the type of casket or urn, including whether you want to have biodegradable or other eco-friendly options.
- You can talk about whether you opt for a kit that offers participation by the entire family.
- Review the costs of the options and sit down and talk about this with your entire family, especially the children.
- If you have selected at home burial with cremation, you will have to contact your Veterinarian to arrange for the cremation.
- Talk about the costs as well as the period of time that is required for cremation.
- Decide if you want to have a “Celebration of Life” memorial service or have a private moment with you and those closest to your pet.
- Think about other ways to express your love, such as a burial marker, pet memorial plaque, portrait, or pet headstones, or memorializing your pet with a gift of loss with a pet bereavement gift.
- If you are having your own ceremony, consider looking up some pet memorial sayings and words that fit the love of your pet and express how much they were cherished.
Choosing a Pet Cemetery for Burial
Pros: There are now many more pet-specific cemeteries that address the needs of saying the final farewell to our pet family members. The individuals that operate the cemeteries are knowledgeable about state and local locals, as well as offering the family options for memorial services to share in the grief process. Those in charge of the cemetery will assist with the remains and provide dignity for your pet, ensuring that your pet will not be disturbed in perpetuity. These cemeteries are often a sanctuary for the family to visit, sharing beautiful memories of the pet that was so much a part of their lives.
- Cons: While there are pet cemetery locations in many areas, you might not be able to locate one that is close enough to you. A distance that is too far could cause you and your family distress due to travel requirements to visit. All family members may not feel the same way about the burial of your pet, so it’s important to talk to everyone about the option of a cemetery burial. The cost involved in a cemetery burial is dependent upon the choices that you make, and there is something for just about every budget. You must also consider that there is a possibility that you may relocate and then lose the opportunity to go to the cemetery.
What you need to know about at Pet Cemetery Burial
Pet cemeteries have a staff of professionals that can take a lot of the stress and anxiety that is involved in the decision making for saying the last farewell to your pet. A cemetery can be a place of peace to remember your beloved family member and a place of solace to hold a service to say goodbye.
- Research all of the pet cemeteries in your area. The location is a priority so that you can visit as much as possible.
- The cost of a cemetery burial will depend upon the services that you select. A burial plot and digging the grave can be from $400-$600, and a casket can be anywhere from $50-$500.
- Many of the pet cemeteries will make arrangements to come and pick up your pet for an additional fee.
- If your pet cemetery doesn’t arrange for a cremation, you will have to coordinate with your Veterinarian.
- Decide whether you want a cremation, and discuss the cost options for a pet plot.
- Most cemeteries require that your pet be buried in a casket and don’t approve biodegradable selections.
- Understand that cremation may extend the burial calendar time.
- Choose a custom burial marker that befits your family pet member.
- Consider other things that you may want to honor your pet, such as a pet memorial plaque, portrait, or pet headstones, or memorializing your pet with a gift of loss with a pet bereavement gift.
- Your pet cemetery may or may not offer someone to lead in a memorial service. If you are coordinating the service, you will want to look into some pet memorial sayings and words that fit the love of your pet and express how much they were cherished. It is always a good thing to remember to have an alternate person available to do the readings, as this is an emotionally distressing time.
Every pet is unique in its own way, and choosing a pet casket that reflects their personality is one of the most important aspects of honoring your pet. The type of pet casket selected is dependent upon whether you have chosen at-home or cemetery burial.
Most popular pet caskets:
Deluxe Pet Casket: Each casket contains a laced coverlet, pillow, and plush mattress made of elegant satin. The exterior shell is a two-piece, high-impact polystyrene material for sealed protection. Additional double-sided sealing tape guarantees a permanent seal. Available in small, medium, or large and a choice of 4 colors. Made in the USA.
Classic Pet Casket: Choose from 3 different colors and in sizes-small, medium, and large for your beloved pet. This classic casket has a laced pillow and plush mattress made of elegant satin. The exterior shell is a two-piece, high-impact polystyrene material for sealed protection. Additional double-sided sealing tape guarantees a permanent seal. Made in the USA.
Economy Pet Casket: It has been said that we need to consider our choices based on logic rather than then heart, and this is very true when we have a limited budgeted. This is a lovely pet casket that respectfully sends your companion to their final farewell. Made of a two-piece, high-impact polystyrene material and includes double-sided sealing tape for permanent sealing. Available in two colors and sizes-small, medium, and large. Made in the USA.
Farewell Pet Kit: This is an especially sensitive way to say goodbye for families with kids. The kit offers a unique and personal method to share in honoring the pet with an eco and user-friendly easy to put together casket in a size to fit your beloved family member. Taking this moment for everyone to participate in the process is an incredible way to send your pet companion to the rainbow bridge. For use in at-home burials.
Biodegradable Pet Caskets: There are several biodegradable options for pet caskets that include everything from paper and wood products to seagrass. Some offer special shapes to honor your pet and are available in all size types. For use in at-home burials.
Your Ceremony to Honor Your Pet
Whether at home or a pet cemetery, many people are planning a ceremony that celebrates the life and love of the family member that was held so dear.
Each member of your family should be involved, and in allowing them to say goodbye, you are empowering them to understand the cycle of life. You should be sensitive to the ages of children and whether they are ready to participate.
Spending time together to select the most appropriate casket or marker is an important step in sharing the loss. Moments together can help in deciding in a “celebration of life” ceremony that can help everyone in their grief process.
The ceremony can include happy pictures and images of your pet’s life. Some create a small table that has a collection of your pet’s bedding filled with their favorite toys. This small visual is a testimony to how loved your pet was and will always be in your heart.
The moment of goodbye can be just an intimate group of family members or a larger number of people that shared in the joy that your pet brought to everyone. Allowing people to stand up and tell their favorite stories is a way to let them extend the bond of sorrow.
If you have chosen a selection moving words, let someone close to you act as a backup for the reading in case you become emotionally overwhelmed.
One of the more recent trends for pet memorial services is to have a reading from a pet loss book, passing it around to each person to read aloud.
Another significant trend has been to have make note of donations in your pet’s name to a local pet shelter. You can have information available for everyone before or after the service.
“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”
— Anatole France
There are no rules for grieving, and no one should ever be judged on how they grieve. The loss of a pet is losing a companion, a best friend, and a confidante. They are a gift beyond any explanation, and losing them creates a hole in our hearts.
There is a need to take some action to address the powerless feeling that we have when our beloved pet passes. Making plans to honor the unique love is very personal. Whether you choose to remember your pet at your home or want to have the professionals at a pet cemetery help you and your family through this time, there are many ways to show your love.