Choosing a pet cemetery

Deciding what's best when your pet passes away.

The loss of a pet is a difficult and emotional time for you and your family. Few pet owners make arrangements prior to a pet's passing, which makes choosing a pet cemetery a stressful decision.

You should make yourself aware of several options for final care of your pet's body:

Cemetery burial

  • If you like, you can choose to bury your pet in a cemetery dedicated specifically to pets. In our profiles on, you can find pet cemeteries that will handle the duties of both a funeral home and a cemetery.

  • When you're choosing a pet cemetery, make sure you find one that sits on dedicated land. Check with the pet cemetery's management to verify that its property deed states that it will always remain a pet cemetery, regardless of who owns the property.

  • You can have your pet buried either in a private or communal plot. With a private plot, your pet is prepared separately from any others in the facility and is buried in its own grave site, crypt or mausoleum.

  • Should you choose a communal plot, your pet would be buried in the same plot with other deceased pets. Pet cemeteries that don't provide individual gravestones for pets buried in this way usually will provide a plaque with each pet's name displayed on a memorial wall nearby.
Home burial
  • It's natural to want to keep your pet close to your home and also avoid some of the expense of a cemetery burial. However, burying a pet in your yard is an involved process that may not even be legal where you live.

  • Check with your local government to make sure home burial is permitted where your city or county. If it is, make sure you enclose your pet's remains in an airtight container, preferably a dual casing of a plastic bag inside a metal box. Then, bury the box at least three feet deep.

  • If you do not follow these steps, scavenging animals may be attracted to your yard by the scent. Before you decide to bury your pet in your yard, consider whether you may move from that home in the future.
  • Many pet owners choose to have their pet's body handled by a crematorium. This allows you to either scatter the ashes or keep them in a small urn. Your veterinarian should be able to help you decide on a qualified pet crematorium.
  • Rendering factories recycle animal remains into usable materials like fertilizer or tallow. This is a good option for you if you believe that your pet's spirit and body are separate and that his memory will be best served by helping other living things.

  • Check with your local animal control agency on the availability of rendering facilities in your area. If there is a rendering facility nearby, check and verify how rendered bodies will be used. Some pet food manufacturers use a percentage of rendered materials in their products, which may affect your choice for your pet.

  • You also can memorialize your pet beyond the final arrangements. Planting a tree or flower bed in your pet's favorite spot in the yard is one option. Or, you can choose to make a donation to your local humane society, animal shelter or pet-related charity in your pet's memory.

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