Pet owner cradling a dog and a cat

Five Common Pet Cremation Questions…

You’ve Been Afraid to Ask

One of the hardest parts of pet ownership is knowing that, more than likely, you will outlive your furry companions. This means that you may need to lay many pets to rest in a lifetime. But that doesn’t make every fur parent an expert in pet cremation process, and it’s natural to have questions about what to expect when the time comes.

You may feel nervous or awkward about asking some things, but rest assured that any question you have is almost certainly something we’ve heard before, and it’s not strange or morbid to wonder about the process.

Here are a few questions people often wonder about when dealing with the loss of a pet, but don’t always know how to ask.

What Happens if I Don’t Get My Pet Cremated?

The state of New Mexico requires that animal remains be disposed of by burial or cremation, or, in some cases, placed in a landfill. As a pet parent, you have the option of burying your companion if you have access to land for that purpose. However, burial is not always an option, especially if you live in an apartment or rent your home.

If your pet passes away at the vet’s office, the veterinarian will ask you whether they should release your pet’s body back to you or if you’d like them to arrange the cremation. Many vets work with Best Friends and will make arrangements with us for you, or you can contact us directly if you’d prefer.

However, you may wonder what happens to pets whose owners don’t pay for cremation at the vet’s office. That answer depends on the veterinarian. Unclaimed remains are often stored until a group cremation can be performed. The cremated remains might then be scattered or stored. But there are no regulations demanding that pet remains be handled this way, and it’s up to the veterinarian’s discretion to decide what to do. In other words, the only way to know for sure what happens to your pet’s body is to arrange for a private or individual cremation with a service like Best Friends.

What if I Can’t Pick Up My Pet’s Ashes Right Away?

Your pet’s ashes will be available for pick-up within a week in most cases. We’ll be able to provide a more specific estimate when you call us for arrangements. Once the cremated remains are ready, we will contact you to let you know.

But you might wonder, what happens if you’re unable to pick up the ashes right away? Perhaps your work schedule makes the timing difficult, or you get sick and must stay home for a while. If that happens, there’s no need to worry about your companion.

We will hold their remains safely for one year at our facility. If a pet parent does not collect their pet’s remains after a year, we will respectfully scatter them in our pet ossuary.

If you’re concerned about your ability to pick up your pet’s ashes due to scheduling conflicts, transportation, or any other reason, let us know, and we can arrange delivery to your home at an additional cost.

How Do I Know the Ashes I Get Back Are My Pet’s?

At Best Friends, we offer two forms of cremation: group cremation, where multiple bodies are present in the cremation chamber and the commingled ashes are scattered, and private cremation, where only one body is present in the cremation chamber at a time and the ashes are returned to you. If you wish, you may be present for a private viewing before your pet’s cremation. This allows you to say goodbye in person at the facility before the cremation takes place. This helps some people feel more secure.

We take the utmost care to ensure every pet’s remains are handled with dignity. We also keep a steel ID tag with the pet’s remains at every stage of the process to ensure that the ashes can always be identified correctly.

Do I Need a Casket for My Pet’s Cremation?

Some people mistakenly believe that cremated remains contain wood ash or that a body must be placed in a casket to be cremated. In reality, cremation occurs at such a high temperature that all organic material, including wood, would be incinerated. What you receive when you get your pet’s ashes is finely ground bone, which is mainly made up of minerals like calcium. It is the remains of your pet’s bones, and only their bones, that make up cremation ashes.

This means that there is no need for your pet to be cremated in a casket or container. Their body will be placed in the cremation chamber directly. If you wish to deliver your pet to us in a box or basket, you may do so, but you can also bring them to us in their pet carrier or whatever other container is most convenient for you.

After cremation, the ashes will be placed in a cremation urn. We offer a variety of styles, from cardboard scattering tubes designed for short-term storage to ceramic urns, wooden urns, and wearable jewelry that can hold a small amount of cremation remains. You may also provide your own urn or container for ashes to be stored in.

Who Do I Talk to if I Still Have Questions?

You should never feel embarrassed or afraid to ask the pet cremation provider for clarification on anything you don’t understand. We are here to serve you, and it’s important to us that you feel comfortable with your decision to have your companion cremated. Best Friends is always happy to answer questions. Call 505-345-5615 or stop by to visit at 1001 Menaul Blvd NE, Suite E.

Pet owner cradling a dog and a cat