Eventually every furry friend will cross the rainbow bridge. Before that time comes, it’s helpful to know how to handle end-of-life arrangements so you’re well-prepared ahead of time.

By Sierra Burgos
August 24, 2020
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One of the toughest parts of losing a pet is the aftermath: Not only are you grieving the loss of your best friend, but you also have some time-sensitive decisions to make, including whether to bury your dog or have them cremated. Cremation is a popular choice because it is convenient and can be more affordable than having your dog buried in a pet cemetery. Understanding the costs of cremating a dog can help you make your decision when the time comes.

What is Cremation?

After your dog has passed away, cremation is the final step in disposing of his body by incineration. The body is placed in a small, enclosed chamber and heated to temperatures upwards of 2,000 degrees. Within a few hours, ashes, tiny pieces of bone, and other inorganic materials like microchips is all that remains. Crematory staff then removes these extra pieces and grinds the material into a uniform, fine grey ash.

Cremation Cost by Method

Communal: If you’re looking for the most affordable option, a communal cremation may be your best bet. In this process, multiple animals are cremated at one time. With this method, you can’t request your pet’s remains to be returned to you. The average cost of communal cremation is between $30 and $70.

Individual: The individual (or “partitioned”) method of cremation is semi-private, meaning many pets are still cremated at the same time. However, they’re kept separate in order to identify each pet so that each one’s ashes can be gathered if the owners request it. It is possible that the cremains may still experience some degree of mixing. The cost of individual cremation is between $50 and $150 on average.

Private: If you plan to keep your pet's ashes as a remembrance, you may want to arrange a private cremation where your pet is cremated alone. In this method, your pet is the only animal in the cremation chamber. Because of this, it’s highly unlikely that any other ashes will get intermingled with your pet’s remains. The most private cremation method is also the most expensive—the price tag starts around $175 and can get as high as $250 on average.

Cremation Cost by Size

It’s common to find price variances between dog breeds, because the bigger the dog, the longer they will take to cremate and the more room they’ll need. For a private cremation, a dog under 30 pounds (like a chihuahua, Frenchie, or pomeranian) starts at $175. A mid-size dog (like a collie or a poodle) will cost around $215 for the same method. A very large 120+ pound dog (like a Great Dane or Saint Bernard) can cost more than $250 for their own private cremation service. Many crematories will ask you to share the breed type and dog’s weight before you’re able to receive a quote.

Cremation Cost by Location

Like most pet services, including veterinary care and boarding, the cost of cremating a dog varies depending on the location. A private cremation for a small pet in New York City could start at $300, while a cremation service in a smaller city or town could start at $40. Do your research into local cremation services to figure out which best accommodates your needs.

Additional Cremation Fees

If you’re hoping to have a special urn or memorabilia to remember your pet by, expect to pay a little extra. Many crematories offer unique decorative boxes and urns to hold your pet’s ashes. Some companies even make specialized jewelry or keychains to hold a small portion of their remains close to your heart.

Because crematories and vet’s offices are separate facilities, the crematory may charge an additional fee to pick up the remains from the vet’s office location or to return the ashes back to you. Transfer fees typically range from $50-$75. Discuss these fees up front with a cremation service provider to be well-prepared when the time comes to say goodbye to your four-legged friend.