Many pet owners don’t realize that they have choices. The only correct choice is whatever choice is right for you. You should understand your options however in order to make a quality decision.
First a word about Pre-Need Planning. The death of a pet brings with it a very difficult decision, one that you may not be prepared to handle if the loss is unexpected. That is the decision of how to handle your pet’s remains. Many pet owners never even think about this issue until their vet asks, “What do you want to do with the body?” Usually this very emotional time is not the best time to think calmly and rationally about all the options available. Unfortunately, this often leads to a hasty decision made at the height of painful emotion — and a decision that one may later regret.
The alternative is Pre-Need Planning. Planning for this event while that pet is still alive and healthy isn’t morbid. Pre-planning for our own death has become commonplace, planning for our pet makes just as much sense. It’s a responsible way of being prepared when that time comes. There are many factors to consider including financial. All responsible pet funeral homes and cemeteries will have pre-need planning counselors to help guide you in planning and making the right choice for you and your family. We encourage you to consider consulting with an IAOPCC Member to learn about the many options available to you.
Leaving it up to the Vet – If you choose to leave your pet’s body with your veterinarian for disposal, you may not have a choice in how that body is disposed of. If you wish to ensure that your pet is cremated, tell them so. Remember that in many cases however this may mean your pet will be part of a mass cremation process or taken to a landfill. Ask your vet questions about how this is handled. If you do not ask your vet, they may make a choice for you that you would not be happy with. Remember, it is always your decision as to how you would like your pet’s remains taken care of.
Cremation - Cremation can be a very logical choice. It affords you several options including returning the pets remains “home” via an urn or temporary container, or scattering the cremains at home or a favorite place. Cremation can be a very viable option also if your zoning restrictions do not allow you to bury your pet at home or if the animal is large and burial is prohibitive. It also alleviates any health concerns which can accompany buried pets remains being disturbed.
There are questions to ask when considering cremation. Your veternarian may have a service which handles this for you but do they offer individual cremation and if so, how do they provide tracking of your pet to ensure accuracy? It will be important to you as a pet owner to know that some crematories perform mass cremations and this is not acceptable to most. Many pet owners prefer to use a pet crematory who comes to the veterinarian’s office to pickup the pet and provides a careful and thoughtful individual service. If it is important to you to see that your pet’s remains are treated with the same concern and care that you gave your pet during its life, then you should look into service through an IAOPCC Member pet crematory.
Burial - Many pet owners prefer burial. You may want to bury your pet at home but be aware that zoning regulations in your area may prohibit this. This may also not be a good option for you if you rent or if you are likely to move from the property. If home burial is not for you, there are pet cemeteries in almost every state and many states have several choices for you. Burying your pet in an IAOPCC pet cemetery ensures that your pet will be taken care of following a strict code of ethics at the highest standard. A pet cemetery will usually be able to pick up your pet from your home or from a veterinarian’s office. You will also have many choices of markers and other memorial products you may wish to purchase.
Memorial Services - If you wish, you can make arrangements for a complete funeral and memorial service. For many families, having a service provides some healing and closure in a very difficult time. Again, there is no right or wrong answer – it is what is right for you and your situation. Services can be as elaborate or as simple as you want them to be. It is important for you to deal with a provider where the choices are yours, the services are tailored to you. While losing a pet is heart breaking, contacting an IAOPCC member provider can help you make this farewell both meaningful and personal.