Dog Cremation: What You Need To Consider

Losing a beloved dog is very difficult, and it can be difficult to know what steps to take during this challenging time. One popular end-of-life option is dog cremation. The cremation process honors your pet and can help provide some closure. 

If your dog is nearing the end of their life, you may be wondering if dog cremation is the right option for you. In this article, we’ll take a look at the pet cremation process and what to expect. 

In this article:

Is it better to bury your dog or cremate? 

One of the biggest decisions that dog owners will need to make at the end of their lives is whether they would like to cremate or bury their pet. Both options can provide closure, so the decision will ultimately depend on your needs and preferences. 

Cremation tends to be a more affordable and efficient option than burial for most pet owners. The process is simple, and you can choose an urn or other memorial that best reflects your relationship with your pet. 

Additionally, some cities don’t allow residents to bury their dogs on their property, instead requiring burials to happen at a dedicated gravesite. Those who live in apartments or townhomes also may not have the outdoor space for a burial. However, some pet owners find more closure from an outdoor gravesite. It all depends on your preferences, but for most pet owners, cremation is the most practical option.

StateDoes it allow burying pets in backyard?
AlabamaYes (minimum 2 feet deep)
ArizonaNo – use a pet cemetery
ArkansasNo (cremate within 12 hours of death by law)
CaliforniaNot in cities
ColoradoYes if not infected with deadly disease
FloridaYes (but recommends cremation if pet is infected with deadly diseases)
HawaiiYes but check with Homeowner’s Association
IdahoYes (minimum 3 feet deep)
IllinoisYes if not infected with deadly disease
IndianaYes (minimum 4 feet deep)
IowaYes but check with Homeowner’s Association
KansasYes, but pet can’t have harmful diseases
KentuckyYes, but not within 100 feet of a water source (minimum 4 feet deep)
LouisianaYes (minimum 6 feet deep and pet can’t have deadly diseases)
MaineYes (but not near water source and pet can’t have deadly diseases)
MarylandYes (minimum 6 feet underground)
MassachusettsVaries by city
MichiganYes (minimum 2 feet deep and 2.5 feet away from other pet graves). Not near water sources
MinnesotaYes (keep away from water sources)
MississippiYes (minimum 2 feet deep)
MissouriYes (but must be at least 50 feet away from personal property and 300 away from water sources/neighboring houses)
MontanaYes (minimum 2 feet underground)
NebraskaYes (minimum 5 feet underground and 500 ft away from water sources)
NevadaYes (minimum 3 feet deep and not near water sources)
New HampshireYes (minimum 2 feet underground and 75 feet away from water sources)
New JerseyYes (minimum 2 feet underground)
New MexicoYes but requires approval from Homeowners’ Association
New YorkNo state law. Talk to your vet
North CarolinaYes (minimum 3 feet underground)
North DakotaYes (minimum 3 feet underground)
OhioVaries by city. Talk to your vet
OklahomaYes (minimum 3 feet underground)
OregonYes (minimum 3 feet underground)
Rhode IslandNo specific laws. Talk to your vet
South CarolinaYes (minimum 1 foot underground and away from water sources)
South DakotaYes (minimum 3 feet underground and within 36 hours of passing)
TennesseeYes (minimum 3 feet underground and away from water sources)
TexasNo specific laws. Talk to your vet
UtahNo specific laws. Talk to your vet
VermontNo specific laws. Talk to your vet
VirginiaYes (within 48 hours of passing)
WashingtonNo specific laws. Talk to your vet
West VirginiaYes (minimum 3 feet underground)
WisconsinSome counties don’t allow it. Talk to your vet
WyomingParts of the state require approval. Talk to your vet
Source: Nursing Pets

How much does it cost to cremate?

The cost of dog cremation can vary depending on your dog’s size and the type of cremation you request. Communal cremation is the most affordable option and typically starts at $30. Individual or private cremations can range anywhere from $50 to $250. 

Costs will vary depending on whether you’d like to view the cremation, whether your dog is cremated with others, and the size of your dog. Cremation costs can also vary depending on your location. Veterinary care of any kind tends to be more expensive in a major city than in a small town. 

You will also need to pay extra if you’d like a special urn or other memorial for your dog. The cost of the urn can vary widely depending on the style and materials. 

3 Things To Consider Before Choosing Dog Cremation

Before finalizing your dog’s cremation, there are a few important things to consider. Here’s what to keep in mind while making this decision. 

1. Type of Cremation

There are a few different types of cremation available for dogs, and you’ll need to determine which one you are most comfortable with. The most affordable option is a communal cremation. With this option, your dog is cremated along with other pets, and you won’t get the ashes back. This may be the best option if you are on a budget and aren’t looking to set up a memorial for your pet. 

An individual cremation is a good alternative for those who would like to keep their dog’s ashes. With this procedure, multiple pets are cremated at one time, but ashes are kept separate. This is slightly more expensive than communal cremation, but more affordable than a private cremation. 

Private cremations are the most expensive option, but they can also be very helpful for closure. With a private cremation, your dog is cremated entirely on their own and you will receive the ashes back for a memorial. Many cremation providers will also allow you to watch the process for an additional fee. 

2. Vet Coordination

Before cremating, it’s important to discuss the entire process with your veterinarian. Ideally, you should have a cremation plan in place before your dog passes away, although this isn’t always possible.

Ask your vet if they have any specific cremation providers they recommend and what to expect from this provider. Many veterinarians will also coordinate pickup services with the cremation company. Ask if your vet provides this option or if you’ll need to handle pickup services yourself. 

3. Type of Memorial

If you plan on receiving your dog’s ashes after the cremation, you’ll need to decide what type of memorial you’d like to have for them. Many people opt for a standard urn or box to store these ashes safely, but you can also look for a more creative memorial option. There are artists that create jewelry and other decorative memorials using your dog’s ashes. Some people also opt to scatter their dog’s ashes outdoors in a place that was special to them. 

There are many different ways to honor the memory of a beloved dog. Ultimately, the right option for you will depend on what gives you the most closure. Having a memorial plan in place ahead of time can help make the cremation process easier. 

In most cases, cremation is the easiest and most affordable end-of-life option for dogs. Having a cremation plan in place can help make things easier during this challenging time.