Pet owner carrying beloved pet

Is Pet Cremation the Same as Human Cremation?

Knowing your pet will be treated like family can put your mind at ease.

When a pet dies, it’s natural to feel immense grief. It’s also natural to have questions and anxieties about the loss of a pet and what to expect from the cremation process. What happens when your pet arrives at the crematorium? Will they be treated with the same care as a person? What can you expect when it’s time to pick up the ashes?

Worrying over what will happen to your beloved companion’s body only adds to the pain of grief. Understanding the steps involved in cremation can soothe some of this anxiety. So can knowing that your fur baby’s body will be cared for with the same level of compassion as a human family member.

Pet Cremation is Very Similar to Human Cremation

In many ways, the process of cremating a pet is exactly the same as cremating a human. In both cases, the body will be placed in a cremation chamber, also called a retort, which is heated to a temperature between 1400 to 1800 Fahrenheit. No flames are present in the chamber itself, and your pet’s body will not come into contact with fire. Instead, the intense heat of the furnace will cause the water and organic material to vaporize.

What remains, in the case of both humans and animals, are fragments of bone that are further broken down in a device called a cremulator. The cremulator creates cremated remains (called “ashes” or “cremains”) with a texture similar to sand.

If you’ll be bringing them home, the cremated remains will be first placed in a plastic bag or liner to protect against moisture and spillage. The bag will then be placed in the urn of your choice, or in a temporary container if you haven’t yet decided on an urn.

How Pet Cremation Differs from Human Cremation

Although the pet cremation process is almost identical to human cremation, there are a few significant differences between the two:

  • Pets are generally not embalmed. In humans, it’s customary – although not required – to preserve the body for viewing even when a cremation will follow. Both humans and animals are kept in cold storage to prevent decay until the cremation time.
  • Because most animals are significantly smaller than people, it’s common for multiple pets to be cremated at one time, with dividers in place to keep their remains separated. The law demands that humans be cremated individually. When you get your pet cremated, you can choose whether you wish for them to be alone in the cremation chamber.
  • Depending on the animal’s size and breed, the texture of the ashes may be different. Very small animals like rodents and reptiles have tiny bones that might not break down completely. Larger animals like dogs and cats will have cremains with a more consistent texture.

The volume of cremated remains will vary significantly between species. A good rule of thumb for estimating the amount of ashes to expect is 1 pound of body weight = 1 cubic inch of cremains. A variety of keepsake urn options are available to accommodate pets of any size.

Best Friends Treats Pets Like Family, Always

It’s common for pet parents to worry that their beloved companions will receive second-rate treatment. But at Best Friends, we know that an animal is never “just” an animal. We are a pet funeral home with a responsibility to Albuquerque’s furry residents, and we take that job very seriously.

We offer a choice between individual and group cremation, so you’re empowered to decide which option makes the most sense for you. The remains of group-cremated pets are handled with care and respectfully scattered in our dedicated pet ossuary.

If you choose private cremation, you know that your pet is the only one present in the retort at a time, and their ashes will be returned to you. We also offer private viewings so that you and your family can see your pet one last time and say goodbye.

If you have any questions about our services, you can reach us by phone at 505-345-5615 or stop by our location at 1001 Menaul Blvd NE, Suite E.

Pet owner carrying beloved pet