Dealing with after-life care is a very difficult part of losing a precious dog since death is something dog owners will never want to think nor talk about. No dog owner is ever ready to be confronted with such a heartbreaking situation, nor want to face the reality of losing their beloved dogs. Unfortunately, death is a natural biological process that all living things will go through, including our precious dogs. We might not be ready for the inevitable but knowing your options on the after-life care for your dog can help you choose what best applies to your dog and your lifestyle.
There are several ways on what to do with a dog’s remains and one of the most popular is dog cremation. This article is a comprehensive guide on the process of dog cremation that will help dog owners to prepare ahead of time or when dog owners are confronted with their dog’s sudden death.
1. What is Dog Cremation
Dog cremation is the process wherein a dog’s body is placed in an enclosed chamber and heated at temperatures as high as 2,000 degrees Farenheight to reduce its body to ashes. This process has been around since 3000 BC. It wasn’t until 1876 that a cremation society built its first crematorium in the United States. Originally, its main purpose is to eliminate the hazardous effects of digging soil for pet burial but as time went by, a lot of dog owners choose cremation because it’s more convenient, affordable, and has a vast number of choices when it comes to memorializing dogs.
2. Dog Cremation Step-by-Step Guide
Whether you want to prepare for your dog’s after-life arrangements or your dog recently passed away, cremation is a very practical choice. It allows dog owners to choose between keeping their dog’s ashes, scatter them or bury them. Moreover, dog cremation can be arranged according to the dog owner’s choice, either by a vet or through a private crematorium. While vets can help dog owners arrange for the cremation, most dog owners would rather contact the crematorium themselves and arrange the cremation especially if they want a more personalized ceremony.
Step 1 – Pick up or Self-Transport
There is no shortage of crematoriums in the cities. In fact, there are crematoriums dedicated to cremating pets alone. However, if you live in a small town, it is most likely that your town’s crematorium has two separate areas for the cremation of humans and animals.
If you haven’t chosen any crematorium and your dog passed away in your vet’s clinic, then you may ask your vet to help you arrange to have your dog’s body transferred to a crematorium where your vet is contracted with. Most vets are contracted by crematoriums so they can help you arrange everything, from your dog’s cremation to having your dog’s ashes to be collected after the cremation, to sending your dog’s ashes back to you.
If in case you arranged for your dog to be euthanized at home, the vet or technician who performed euthanasia to your dog may offer to transport your dog’s body to your chosen crematorium. If again you haven’t chosen a crematorium, most vets and euthanasia technicians offer dog after-death services such as cremation for an additional cost.
In the case of your dog passing away at home, you may contact your vet or the nearest crematorium. It’s important to note that not all crematoriums offer pick-up services so you should keep this in mind when choosing a crematorium.
Step 2 – Choosing a Cremation Service
It is general knowledge that dog cremation is a very convenient approach to taking care of a beloved dog’s body after death and it is usually done in a crematorium. However, oftentimes dog owners aren’t informed how their dogs will be cremated and unfortunately end up receiving their dog’s ashes not knowing that a part of those ashes came from other dogs or animals. So it’s important for dog owners to know that they can choose between the three types of dog cremation services.
A private cremation is a service that allows dog owners to have their dogs cremated individually. Your beloved dog’s body will be placed in a cremation chamber alone. The ashes are then collected and a certificate will be given to you stating that your dog has been cremated alone. This certificate also assures you that the ashes you have received are that of your pets’.
Another advantage of arranging for a private cremation for dogs is that some crematoriums have a chapel or a room where you can rest or spend the last moments with your dogs before cremation.
This service is often chosen by dog owners because it’s less expensive. The catch is that your dog’s remains will be placed in a partitioned cremation chamber along with other dogs’ or animals’ bodies. The ashes are then collected individually. Despite being cremated in a chamber with a partition, it is highly likely that other animals’ ashes will be mixed with your dog’s to some degree.
In a communal cremation, your dog’s remains will be cremated together with other pets. Ashes will still be collected when requested by the dog owner but you should expect that those ashes you’ll be receiving will include other animals’ ashes.
Step 3 – The Cremation Process
After choosing your dog cremation service of choice, your dog’s body will be placed in a cremation chamber. Your dog’s body will then be incinerated at a high heat ranging from 1400 -1800 degrees Farenheight. The amount of time for a dog’s body to completely turn into dust and dry bones will depend on the dog’s size but it will take two hours on average.
Your dog’s cremated remains will then be inspected for the presence of metals or other objects such as tags, microchips, etc. These metals or unwanted objects will be removed before your dog’s remains will undergo the next procedure.
After inspection and removal of metals or unwanted objects, your dog’s ashes and bones will be pulverized to a fine powdery texture. However, there are times that not all remains will turn into ashes during the cremation process such as large pieces of bones. So these large pieces are then ground to fine dust and will then be combined with the rest of the ashes.
Step 4 – After The Cremation Process
After the cremation process, your dog’s ashes will be collected according to the cremation service you chose. If you paid for a private cremation, then your dog’s ashes will be collected and placed in a tin, plastic bag, or cardboard and will be returned to you. Some crematoriums allow dog owners to provide urns or storage containers for their dog’s ashes.
If you chose a communal cremation, you should be aware that your dog’s ashes will not be returned to you since they have been mixed with other pets’ ashes. Instead, your dog’s ashes along with other animals’ ashes will either be buried or scattered in a garden within the crematorium. A plaque is then placed in the garden or at a dedicated wall of remembrance to honor your dog’s and other pet’s death. Of course, there is an additional cost for this kind of pet remembrance.
4. Final Thoughts
Deciding on your dog’s after-life care is heartbreaking yet it’s something you have to face. Although a beloved dog’s death is something no one is ready for, preparing for it in advance is something dog owners can do in order for them to have a sound decision when the inevitable comes.
Dog cremation is the most practical after-life care you can choose for your dogs. Aside from being affordable and quick, it gives you, dog owners a plethora of choices when it comes to memorializing your dogs. You can either scatter your dog’s ashes, keep them in a uniquely designed urn, or even turn them into jewelry. The choice is yours.
If you are having a hard time looking for a reputable crematorium, you may ask your vet for recommendations but most of all it’s very important to note that there are no wrong decisions when it comes to your dogs. Weigh all of your options and if they are applicable on how you want to honor your beloved dog. Always remember that whatever your decision will be, your dog will thank you for giving him unconditional love and care.